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Archive for Friday, December 4, 1998

KANSAS WILL BE WITHOUT INJURED SENIOR GUARD SUZI RAYMANT TONIGHT WHEN IT PLAYS ITS FIRST HOME GAME THIS SEASON.

December 4, 1998

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Kansas University's women's basketball team is assuming the worst but hoping for the best in the case of Suzi Raymant.

Raymant, KU's senior shooting guard from Melbourne, Australia, suffered a knee injury during the Jayhawks' trip to Hawaii.

She hasn't played since and is scheduled to undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery today, just hours before the 19th-ranked Jayhawks (4-3) play host to Maryland Eastern Shore (3-3) in the first round of the Jayhawk Commerce Bank Classic.

Tipoff is 6:05 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse. Oregon (5-1) will meet Butler (4-1) in tonight's other game at 8:05 p.m.

In KU's worst-case scenario, Raymant -- who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the same left knee last spring -- would be forced to sit out the rest of the season, though she would be eligible for a medical red-shirt and could return next season.

In the best case, she would rehabilitate and be able to play in time for the start of the Big 12 Conference slate.

"It's very possible it's not as major as we thought," KU coach Marian Washington said. "She wasn't as confident in her knee at the very start of the season. We hoped it would get stronger as we went along. We're not interested in wasting a year. If we have to, we'll go without her."

To adjust, Washington plans to experiment with erstwhile point guard Jennifer Jackson at the shooting guard spot and have true freshman Selena Scott and red-shirt sophomore Casey Pruitt handle the point-guard duties. That would leave senior Shandy Robbins, who started in Raymant's place, back on the bench.

"Both Casey and Selena give us added quickness on the perimeter on defense," Washington said. "And by keeping Jennifer on the floor, we'll have two ballhandlers on the floor. That should help us take care of the basketball better.

"Jennifer's shooting as well as Shandy, and that gives us another ballhandler. And Shandy has been very effective coming off the bench. It's a chance for us to figure out a different look and see if we can score more."

Jackson is tickled with the move. She was recruited to play shooting guard but was forced to the point as a true freshman last season.

"I said I'd be happy to play any position I need to play," Jackson said.

Jackson is coming off a 19-point performance Tuesday night in the Jayhawks' surprising 65-61 loss at unranked Arkansas State. She had scored in double figures just one other time this season, and the 19 points -- on 9-of-13 shooting -- fell just a point short of her career best.

"When the year started off, I had a little trouble with my shot," Jackson said. "At Arkansas State, the shots really started to fall."

Tonight's game will be KU's first at home this season. It opened the year with seven road games, including three tournament appearances in Indiana, Hawaii and Los Angeles.

"It was a tough road trip," Washington said. "We didn't have a lot of time off. But that's just another challenge. ... It gave them a chance to be together. We worked through a lot of things. We're lacking some scoring power, but are we an improved team? Yes, we are."

Tonight's winners will play in the championship game at 2:05 p.m. Saturday. The consolation final will follow about 4:05 p.m.

KU recruiting: Kansas signed three high school seniors to national letters of intent during the recent signing period. The three are: Kristen May, from Kansas City (Mo.) Lincoln Prep who was announced on the signing period's first day; Jamie Shelite, a 6-foot-4 forward from Medicine Lodge; and Sharonne Spencer, a 6-1 forward from Compton (Calif.) Dominguez High.

"We are really excited about these players and feel they are going to help the team," Washington said. "I think that Jamie Shelite is the kind of player at 6-3, 6-4 that reminds me of Brooke Reves right now. She just loves the game. She plays it with a lot of enthusiasm. A lot of people will enjoy watching her develop. She's very agile, has good quickness and is able to get up an down the floor.

"(Spencer) is a true player at the three position (small forward), in that's all she ever played. She's a real strong athlete and is able to, at 6-1, compete and give us some good size on the perimeter. Her best years are really ahead of her."

Probable Starters

MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE (3-3)

F -- Kristi Sheldon, 6-0, Sr.

F -- Kiana Lewis, 5-7, Jr.

C -- Marlena Smith, 6-3, Sr.

G -- Nicole Council, 5-8, Jr.

G -- Nykesha Thompson, 5-6, Soph.

KANSAS (4-3)

F -- Lynn Pride, 6-2, Jr.

F -- Jaclyn Johnson, 6-1, Soph.

C -- Nakia Sanford, 6-1, Sr.

G -- Jennifer Jackson, 6-1, Sr.

G -- Selena Scott, 5-4, Fr.

Tipoff: 6:05 tonight, Allen Fieldhouse.

-- Andrew Hartsock's phone number is 832-7216. His e-mail address is ahartsock@ljworld.com.

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