Since head coach Brandon Schneider took over as head coach of women’s basketball in the 2015-16 season, the team hasn’t won more than three games in conference or had over a .500 record.
This year, Schneider has secured both. With one game remaining in the regular season, the Jayhawks are 15-13 overall and have four wins in a tough Big 12 conference from top to bottom.
“I think the Big 12 has so many teams in that top 50 RPI, which is good,” TCU head coach Reagan Pebley said after the Horned Frogs 87-74 win at Kansas on Feb. 8. “You can’t put money on who you think is going to win because anyone can win any game.”
The play of the women this year looks like a step in the right direction for the program. Aside from seniors forward Mariane De Carvalho and guard Niccolly Ramalho, the Jayhawks are a rather young team.
Both sophomore guard Aniya Thomas and freshman guard Zakiyah Franklin gained valuable experience this season and bloomed into quality scorers and playmakers throughout the year. Their development from game one to now is rather impressive, as they are the two leading scorers at 13.1 and 12.0 points per game.
Freshman guard Holly Kersgeiter and sophomore guard Brooklyn Mitchell also showed bright spots during the season. Kersgeiter’s ability to shoot the three-pointer at 36.8% this season, is an asset moving forward, and Mitchell scored an impressive 24 points early on against Saint Mary’s. The future of the backcourt is bright and will continue to develop over the coming the seasons.
With the assets moving forward, and what head coach Brandon Schneider claimed as a “culture shift” by de Carvalho and Ramalho, the future looks bright for the Jayhawks.
“I would hope that those who have followed our [team] and come to the games, especially the last two years, can see a significant improvement in our culture,” Schneider said.
The Jayhawks have one game left in the regular season against Kansas State and the conference tournament coming up soon. The strides the program has made this season is evident, and Kansas women’s basketball is certainly moving in the direction to compete for years to come.