Rooney: Legacy grad Kailey Edwards taking charge at DU

Jamie Schwaberow/Rich Clarkson a
Legacy grad Kailey Edwards, seen here in action for the University of Denver earlier this season against Colorado, is putting together a banner freshman season for the Pioneers.

DENVER — In just a few short weeks, Kailey Edwards has made the shift.

Edwards had been going through a solid-but-predictably inconsistent freshman season with the University of Denver women’s basketball team. All of the sudden, Edwards has emerged as the Pioneers’ go-to scorer.

Edwards, who earned the Player of the Year award last season after leading Legacy to the Class 5A state championship, has put together a torrid stretch for first-year DU coach Kerry Cremeans. Edwards has thrived since Cremeans inserted her into the starting lineup, and the Legacy grad has watched her scoring average climb to 9.3 points a game.

“She’s extremely coachable and she wants to be great,” Cremeans said. “The other thing is that I keep telling her she’s a play-maker. I say, ‘I want the ball in your hands, and when you have it I want you to make a play.’ She has really stepped up to that.”

Edwards has appeared in all 26 games for the Pioneers while making nine starts. In the past 10 games Edwards has averaged 13.2 points, about four points above her season average.

Yet it was Edwards’ work during a pair of DU home games last week that showcased how far the former Lightning standout has come. Edwards almost engineered an upset win against Utah State, finishing with 31 points and seven rebounds in a double-overtime loss.

Edwards very nearly won that game twice for the Pioneers, making a go-ahead jumper with 10 seconds remaining in regulation that Utah State was forced to answer at the buzzer. Edwards then watched a potential winner go halfway through the rim before rattling out at the end of overtime. Throughout the chaotic finish, Cremeans also tasked Edwards with defending Utah State’s top scorer at the other end of the floor.

Inconsistency is the bane of existence for any freshman, yet Edwards appears to be turning that corner as well. Two days after torching Utah State, Edwards was limited to 14 minutes against San Jose State due to foul trouble but still led the Pioneers to victory, scoring 16 points while making 7 of 8 shots from the floor.

Edwards has averaged 22.7 points over DU’s past three games.

“As a freshman, you can play scared or you can play free. She’s playing free,” Cremeans said. “You can see she’s really starting to bring it every night.”

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