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Archive for Monday, March 14, 1994

KU WOMEN

March 14, 1994

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Call it a recurring nightmare, history repeating, or as Yogi Berra once put it, deja vu all over again.

Kansas' women's basketball team has seen it before. For the second time in three years, an invitation to the NCAA tournament was a disappointment.

The Jayhawks, 21-5 and ranked in the Top 25 all season, had expected a home game Wednesday night in the first round of the tournament. Instead, they're leaving for Nacogdoches, Texas, where they will meet Stephen F. Austin in an NCAA opener at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The news surprised KU coach Marian Washington.

"I was disappointed that we didn't have at least one round at home -- that, I was very disappointed about," Washington said. "But it's been very difficult to understand the seeding for a long time, so I don't know why we would expect anything different."

A similar situation occurred in 1992. The Jayhawks were the Big Eight's regular-season champions and had built a 25-5 record, but they were relegated to a first-round game at Southwest Missouri State.

This year, KU was ranked as high as sixth nationally. The Jayhawks reached that peak early last month.

But they were only accorded a No. 9 seed in the Midwest Regional. In other words, the selection committee didn't consider Kansas one of the top 32 teams in the country.

"I'm a competitor, so it makes me want to respond," Washington said. "If they're not going to respect us enough to give us a first-round home game, we want to go out and prove them wrong."

The higher seeds will host first- and second-round NCAA games, and Stephen F. Austin was seeded eighth.

Stephen F. Austin owns a 23-6 record. The Ladyjacks won the Southland Conference tournament with a 73-65 victory over Northeast Louisiana on Saturday.

"Stephen F. Austin, I'm not sure what gave them the edge over us, if it's the power ratings or what it was, but I definitely expected at least the first round at home," Washington said.

The two teams have three common opponents -- Lamar, Colorado and Georgia.

The Ladyjacks defeated Lamar, 73-60, but lost to Colorado, 81-62, and Georgia, 78-63. Kansas lost to Lamar, 78-72 in overtime, defeated Georgia, 92-79, and split with Colorado, winning 59-57 and losing 75-67.

Washington said her players also were disappointed they wouldn't be hosting a first-round game.

"I think that they were initially excited," she said, "but then they started asking some questions about why they had to go away from home. They just don't understand."

"It was sort of a shock," KU junior forward Angela Aycock said, "but life goes on. We knew we wouldn't have a perfect situation. We just have to make the best of it. I think everybody pretty much feels the same way I do."

Last year, the Jayhawks hosted a first-round NCAA game despite owning a less impressive record. They were 21-8 before losing to California in Allen Fieldhouse.

It's possible, although unlikely, the Jayhawks could host a second-round game Saturday or Sunday. The KU-SFA winner will face the Penn State-Fordham winner this weekend at the site of the higher seed. Penn State, 25-2, is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional. Fordham, 21-8, is seeded 16th.

The Midwest semifinals and finals will be held March 24-26 at Austin, Texas. The Final Four is April 2-3 at Richmond, Va.

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