Kansas' women's basketball team, which dropped out of the top 25 for the first time in 66 weeks Monday, will take on Penn State tonight.
On the road again.
Kansas women's basketball coach Marian Washington absolutely, positively can wait to get on the road again.
"I'm not happy with our schedule," Washington said. "I haven't been happy with it for two years.
"Our first four games are on the road. But we're in a situation where we have to repay some teams that came here. Trying to find a year to go back ... things don't always work out the way you wanted them to."
The Jayhawks (1-0) will play their second of four straight road games tonight at Penn State (2-0). Tipoff is 6:30 p.m. at PSU's Jordan Center.
The trip to University Park, Pa., is the return game of a contract started in 1995, when the then-No. 6 Nittany Lions edged then-No. 21 KU, 75-72, in the Sprint Shootout in Kansas City.
"We played them a couple of years ago," KU junior guard Suzi Raymant recalled, "but I don't think they have too many players back from that team. They should be pretty good. I think it's good for us to get away. We seem to be more focused on the road. We're all there together. We can concentrate more on the game than at home."
Apparently. KU lost two exhibition games at home, sandwiched around a regular-season-opening 63-59 victory at Creighton.
"Those two exhibition games definitely helped us," Washington said. "They helped us get a better feel for where we are at this point."
Where they are is out of the national top 25 for the first time in 66 weeks. In Monday's poll, the Jayhawks received enough votes to be No. 1 among teams not in the top 25. Kansas had been ranked for 65 straight weeks.
"I look at the polls," Raymant said. "But it's no real big deal. All we have to do is win games."
After Penn State, the Jayhawks will travel to Iowa's Prairie Lights-Hawkeye Classic. KU will meet Washington in the tourney's first round on Saturday.
"We want to win all of them," Washington said. "But with our first four on the road, if we get a couple of them, I'd be happy about that."
If the Jayhawks are to beat Penn State, they'll have to find an answer for a strong perimeter team (PSU has hit 41.7 percent of its three-pointers). Center Andrea Garner, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, leads the Nittany Lions with 11.5 points per game, and 5-7 sophomore guard Helen Darling contributes 11 points and eight assists a game.
"They're probably in a rebuilding period, too," Washington said. "They lost a lot. ... We know we'll be facing a team of very strong perimeter shooters, and they have one inside player who will give us trouble. But I see a team that relies a great deal on perimeter shooting."
Washington said the Jayhawks would eat Thanksgiving dinner in Pennsylvania -- Washington's home state, by the way -- before heading to Iowa.
"They're looking forward to this trip," she said. "We'll try to make it as much of a vacation as possible. The tough thing, really, is that we're going to have to deal with things not necessarily going our way -- calls, style of play. Hopefully, our game with Creighton gave them some confidence on the road."
Kansas sophomore Lynn Pride will be acknowledged in pregame ceremonies for her role in the USA Junior World Championships Team. PSU's Rene Portland was head coach of that team, which won the gold medal for the U.S. last summer. Pride averaged 10.4 points and 6.1 rebounds for the U.S.
F -- Jaclyn Johnson, 6-1, Fr.
F -- Lynn Pride, 6-2, Soph.
C -- Nakia Sanford, 6-3, Jr.
G -- Suzi Raymant, 5-11, Jr.
G -- Jennifer Jackson, 5-10, Fr.
PENN STATE (2-0)
F -- Christine Portland, 5-9, Jr.
F -- Em Clements, 6-3, Sr.
C -- Andrea Garner, 6-3, Soph.
G -- Helen Darling, 5-7, Soph.
G -- Jamie Parsons, 5-8, Sr.
Tipoff: 6:30 tonight, Jordan Center.
-- Andrew Hartsock's phone message number is 832-7216. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.