Some years Kansas women's basketball coach Marian Washington would fret and stew over an exhibition loss.
Not this year.
"A year ago, with the experience we had, I'd be very bothered by it," Washington said. "But I'm looking forward to playing against competition that won't count against us."
Such is the case tonight, when the 24th-ranked Jayhawks (1-0) play host to Athletes in Action for KU's second and last exhibition game. Tipoff is 7 tonight at Allen Fieldhouse.
KU lost its exhibition opener, 79-56, to Australia's Victoria's All-Stars last Tuesday.
The Jayhawks opened the real season on Sunday with a 63-59 victory at Creighton.
"I'm pleased to come home with a win against Creighton," Washington said. "They have a program that's been to the NCAA Tournament. The know what it takes."
So does AIA, a traveling team that already has defeated Penn State, Iowa State, Illinois State, Colorado State and Air Force.
On Monday night, AIA upended Kansas State, 70-49.
"They have a different style of play than the Australians," Washington said. "They play more of a U.S. style. They have a great player in Barb Franke. I'm surprised she hasn't gone pro by now. We'll have a big challenge defending her."
They might have a big challenge defending AIA's Stacey Johnson, too, a 1995 Houston graduate who scored 32 points with eight assists and five steals for UH against Kansas on Jan. 2, 1995. KU won that game, 99-98, to hand Washington her 400th career coaching victory.
But Washington's prime concerns are about her team, some of which were allayed a bit at Creighton.
"I saw some good things in the Creighton game," she said. "Particularly on offense, we did flow a lot better. Our offense was much more in synch, and we were able to handle the pressure a lot better. I was encouraged with that."
To handle the Bluejays' pressure defense, Washington split point-guard chores between freshman starter Jennifer Jackson and shooting guard Suzi Raymant. Red-shirt freshman Casey Pruitt did not play.
"I played Suzi in the point guard spot more than I'd like," Washington said. "Until Casey Pruitt can develop the kind of confidence she needs, I don't want to put her in a situation she won't be able to deal with."
Raymant scored a team-high 21 points, and sophomore Lynn Pride recorded her second double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Though junior center Nakia Sanford -- who, like Pride, is one of just two returning starters -- didn't hit a field goal and scored just four points, she contributed 10 rebounds.
"I won't tell her not to shoot," Washington said. "But psychologically I'll do some things to take the emphasis off of it. It really hurts not having scoring from her."
Koya Scott, the only senior on the team, helped pick up the slack, scoring six points on 3-of-5 shooting in just 17 minutes.
"I got a clue," Scott said. "That helped, having a better focus."
Kansas will travel to Penn State next Wednesday.
Recruiting update: Washington on Monday received a signed letter of intent from Kristin Geoffroy of Los Alamitos (Calif.) High. Geoffroy, a 6-foot-6 center, averaged 13.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and more than two blocks for the Griffins last season. She picked KU over Navy. "She's big and very mobile," Washington said. "I think she can become a fine player." Geoffroy is the fourth prep to sign with KU, joining Selena Scott, a 5-6 point guard from Austin, Texas; Dalchon Brown, a 6-4 center from Virginia Beach, Va.; and Katie Hannon, a 6-2 shooting guard from Rochester, N.Y.
Trapp joins staff: Lawrence High graduate Jennifer Trapp, who graduated from KU last season, has joined the Jayhawks' staff as an administrative assistant this season.
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