The year was 1978, and Kansas' women's basketball team sported a highly touted freshman named Lynette Woodard.
Yes, it's been awhile since KU last played in the women's NIT.
The Jayhawks won one game and lost two close ones (one by one point to Drake, another in double overtime to Kentucky) in that postseason tournament. But they gained from the experience and were a national contender the next three seasons, averaging nearly 30 victories per year.
``It was a positive experience,'' KU coach Marian Washington recalled.
Can history repeat itself?
The KU women will face Louisville in a first-round NWIT game on Thursday afternoon in Amarillo, Texas. Tipoff is 1 p.m.
Kansas is guaranteed three games in the NWIT, win or lose.
``I think that's very good,'' Washington said. ``We're working real hard, trying to get some information on Louisville.''
KANSAS, 18-9, and Louisville, 23-9, have never met. The Jayhawks are seeded fifth in the tournament, the Cardinals fourth.
Other first-round matchups Thursday pair third-seeded Northern Illinois (24-8) against sixth-seeded Houston (19-10) at 3 p.m., second-seeded Alabama-Birmingham (22-7) against seventh-seeded Indiana (16-12) at 6 p.m., and top-seeded Notre Dame (23-6) against eighth-seeded Santa Clara (25-3) at 8 p.m.
``This,'' Washington stressed, ``is a very strong field.''
The Jayhawks had held hope for an NCAA bid that didn't materialize. So did Notre Dame.
``That's a surprise,'' the KU coach said about the Irish being left out of the 48-team NCAA field.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw had stronger words.
``We were shocked, disappointed and curious,'' McGraw was quoted as saying, ``how we could drop from 23rd in the country to 49th after winning two games.''
LOUISVILLE fashioned a 9-5 record in the Metro Conference, good for third place. The Cardinals are led by 6-0 freshman forward Gwen Doyle, who averages 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Nell Knox, a 6-0 center, is averaging 12.6 points and 5.6 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Stacy Truitt leads the Jayhawks' balanced scoring attack, averaging 10.6 points per game. Junior guard Kay Kay Hart and junior forward Terrilyn Johnson are next at 9.6 points per contest.
If the Jayhawks win their opener, they'll face Notre Dame or Santa Clara at 8 p.m. Friday. The championship game is set for 8 p.m. Saturday.
Kay Kay Hart could set a KU single-season record for free throw percentage. Hart is shooting 82.3 percent from the line. The record of 80 percent was set by Pat Mason in 1979-80 . . .
Sophomore center Lisa Tate has blocked 71 shots this season, nine fewer that Stretch Richardson's record of 80 in 1987-88 . . .
If the Jayhawks win at least two of three NWIT games, they'll have their eighth 20-or-more-victory season. It would be their second in a row and fourth in five years . . .
KU finished sixth at the 1978 NWIT, with the win coming against Minnesota in the consolation round . . .
F Terrilyn Johnson (5-11)
F Tanya Bonham (5-8)
C Marthea McCloud (5-10)
G Stacy Truitt (5-8)
G Kay Kay Hart (5-7) LOUISVILLE (23-9)
F Angie Johnson (5-11)
F Gwen Doyle (6-0)
C Nell Knox (6-0)
G Tuonisia Turner (5-6)
G Renee Huntsinger (5-8)
Tipoff: 1 p.m. Thursday, Cal Farley Coliseum, Amarillo, Texas.