Before Wednesday night’s home win over Nebraska at Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas women’s basketball forward Ryan Cobbins was presented with a ball to commemorate her picking up career point 1,000 and career rebound 500 a few days earlier.
KU coach Brandon Schneider delivered the ball to Cobbins near mid-court and her teammates mobbed her when she returned to the bench.
“It was surreal. To do it at home, in my home state, it’s a feeling I’ll never forget.” — Ryan Cobbins
Depending on the sport, the accomplishment and the athlete, these types of mementos have a tendency to get stashed away and not given much more thought until years later.
That’s not the case for Cobbins, though. A few hours after that on-court presentation, Cobbins walked out of the south exit at Allen Fieldhouse carrying nothing more than that ball.
The achievement was big and it clearly meant something to her. But it was made even sweeter by the fact that the 6-foot, super senior from Piper High School in Kansas City did it about 40 miles away from where she grew up.
“It was surreal,” Cobbins said of the 11 points and 3 rebounds she grabbed to help KU knock off Central Arkansas. “To do it at home, in my home state, it’s a feeling I’ll never forget.”
Wednesday's pregame ceremony marked the second time this season that Schneider had honored one of his players for eclipsing the 1,000-point mark. Veteran point guard Wyvette Mayberry reached 1,000 earlier this season. And like Mayberry, who did a lot of her damage at Tulsa before transferring to KU before the 2022-23 season, most of Cobbins’ numbers came elsewhere, too.
She was a three-year starter at North Dakota State and then played the 2022-23 season at Alabama before transferring to KU.
While Cobbins and Schneider both knew she had achieved the mark heading into Wednesday’s game — a physical, 69-52 win over Nebraska to move KU’s winning streak to four in a row — neither was aware of it against Central Arkansas.
“(I) kind of (knew),” Cobbins said after the CAU win. “But not as close as I was, so it was a surprise to me.”
Added Schneider: “I knew she was close. I didn’t know about the 500 rebounds. Both (are) really significant milestones.”
In the same game, KU senior Zakiyah Franklin moved into the top 10 on KU’s all-time scoring list and she has the rest of the season to keep moving up.
That puts Franklin, Cobbins, Mayberry and veteran guard Holly Kersgieter as the 1,000-point scorers on this team, with senior center Taiyanna Jackson, a former juco transfer, also recording her 800th rebound in the win over Nebraska.
While all of those players, and their coaches, would trade stats for wins, Schneider said he was thrilled for Cobbins to achieve something so special with her friends and family nearby.
“I’m really excited for Ryan,” Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider said postgame. “I know the decision for her to come here for her fifth year wasn’t an easy one. She plays a position that was a real need for us and it’s great to see her having such an impact on our team and then also be rewarded with the individual accomplishment. … It’s great for her to be able to be back home and have her family be so close and be able to support her.”
Added Cobbins: “I just wanted to go somewhere I would be happy. It’s not about being the leading scorer every night. I just wanted to end my career on a really high note and I knew coming to Kansas I would be able to do that. That was most important to me.”
Cobbins and the Jayhawks (7-4) are off for the next 9 days and will return to the court on Dec. 30, when they play host to West Virginia in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.
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