The Kansas-Wichita State rivalry in women's basketball may be a natural one, but it hasn't been much of one.
At least it's been one-sided.
The Jayhawks own a 29-5 lead in the series, which continues tonight in Wichita. The Jayhawks and Shockers will tip off at 7:30 p.m. in Levitt Arena.
The Jayhawks may have dominated the series, but they haven't been quite as impressive in Wichita. All five of the Shockers' victories have come in Wichita, where they're 5-11 against KU. The Jayhawks are 18-0 against Wichita State in Allen Fieldhouse.
"It's never easy playing away from home, especially early in the season," KU coach Marian Washington said.
Tonight's game is the Shockers' opener. Kansas opened with a 74-68 victory at Creighton on Friday.
Kansas played without two regulars in its first game: junior forward Alana Slatter and senior point guard Michelle Leathers.
Slatter is recovering from a knee injury and is expected back later this month. Leathers is suffering from a bruised disk, and she could return any time.
"We've been working real hard to rest her," Washington said, "She's available, but we're going to try to go without her at Wichita. She would be able to play a few minutes at a time."
Senior Ericka Muncy takes over as the starting point guard. But the absence of Slatter and Leathers drops the Jayhawks to 10 healthy players, only eight of whom are on scholarship.
"I only played eight players against Creighton," Washington noted, "and four of the eight were freshmen."
The Shockers return five starters: 6-0 frontliners Anna Sanders, Ann Hollingsworth and Tasha Barnett, and guards Kim Evans and Karen Lewis. Hollingsworth was the team's leading scorer last year, averaging 18 points per game.
The Jayhawks will be back home to host the Dial Classic on Friday and Saturday nights. They'll play the second game of the tournament against Oral Roberts at approximately 8 p.m. Friday. That game will be preceded by a Central Michigan-Jackson State matchup at 6 p.m.
The third-place game is 4 p.m. Saturday, followed by the title contest at approximately 6 p.m.