The 400-foot climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge didn’t bother Danielle McCray all that much.
Crossing the street? For the Kansas sophomore, that was the real white-knuckle part of an exhibition trip to Australia for the Jayhawk women’s basketball team.
“The cars drive on the opposite sides of the street down there, so we looked the wrong way before we crossed and a few of us actually almost got hit a couple of times,” McCray said.
The Jayhawks went 3-1 on their 10-day trip, winning three straight after opening with an 88-54 loss to the Sydney Flames.
“We had a blast,” said guard Ivana Catic. “Besides losing the first game, that kind of spoiled it, because everyone has fun when we’re winning, and we were able to do that the other three games.”
The playing experience helped, too, coach Bonnie Henrickson said.
“It’s good any time you can get a head start and get some practices and games in like we did,” Henrickson said. “It gives us a better pulse and idea as we put together our fall workouts because we identified some things that we need to work on, both individually and as a team.”
McRae averaged 21 points per game during the trip, and sophomore Sade Morris averaged 13.8.
The team had planned a bungee jumping outing, but canceled that after a last-minute e-mail from concerned athletic department officials back home.
Instead, the Jayhawks went bridge climbing.
“I’m a little bit afraid of heights, and even though you’re cabled in and it’s very safe, it was a little out of my comfort zone,” Henrickson said. “But once you made it to the top, the views were spectacular. It was beautiful.”
Henrickson was without her three incoming freshman who were not allowed to make the trip because of NCAA rules. They will join the 11 returning players for fall pickup games and workouts before opening the season with Late Night at the Phog on Oct. 13.
“This trip is really going to help us because everything will be fresh in our memory when we start practice in October,” Catic said. “We’re going to have an advantage over other teams because we played together and we spent time together and we know what we need to work on.
“It was an amazing trip, something that you get to do only once in a lifetime. I’m very grateful that we got to go.”
– Associated Press
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