The Jayhawks' women's basketball team plays Loyola Marymount tonight at Allen Fieldhouse in a first-round game of the KU Credit Union Jayhawk Classic. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m.
The Kansas University Credit Union Jayhawk Classic women's basketball tournament features four teams with 11 wins, two losses and two national rankings.
Darned right KU coach Marian Washington thinks this is one of the best fields in the tournament's history.
"We always try to get one team in there that was one of the former NCAA Tournament teams," Washington said. "This year, what makes the tournament so exciting is we have two teams that are nationally ranked, and BYU has done some good things this season.
"For fans looking to see some good basketball, that Santa Barbara-BYU matchup could be a good matchup. This could be one of our stronger tournaments."
It tips off at 5 tonight, when 15th-ranked UCSB (3-1) meets Brigham Young (3-0) at Allen Fieldhouse. No. 18 KU (3-0) will meet Loyola Marymount (2-1) approximately 7:05 tonight.
Because of contractual television obligations, the Jayhawks will play again at 2:37 p.m. Saturday against either UCSB or BYU, with a live telecast available locally on channel 62. Whether that's the championship or the consolation game remains to be seen.
The teams not involved in the early Saturday game will play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Washington isn't tickled with the quick turnaround.
"It's hard in terms of recovery for the athletes," Washington said. "This is where depth can help you. With us playing the last game, then again so early on the second day, the turnaround is short for them. We have to play well enough to beat Loyola Marymount, but we'd like to see a lot of players."
LMU, Washington said, presents a formidable foe. It is led by Bryn Britton, a 5-foot-11 guard who averages 19.7 points per game. Sophomore guard Rosa Bernasconi adds 13 points, while Dana Hunter, a 6-3 senior forward, is averaging 12.3 rebounds per game.
"Loyola Marymount is a very, very disciplined ball club," Washington said. "They've got a couple of players who try to do a lot of things for them. We'll have to play solid defense."
Defense has been a concern for the Jayhawks this season. They led the Big 12 in scoring defense a year ago, but the Jayhawks' emphasis on their new triple-post offense this season has taken a toll on their defense.
"Normally, this time of year most of our emphasis has been on our defense," Washington said. "Normally, we're an outstanding defensive team. Last year, defense was the only reason we were in a lot of games. God, I look at our defense now, and I think, 'You know better than to do this.' We work on it, but not like we normally do.
"But we're at the point now the team is confident with most of the options (on offense). Now it's about perfecting it. Now we're spending much more time on defense."
Washington insists she won't have to spend any time lecturing the Jayhawks on the dangers of looking past LMU to UCSB.
"We're very focused on Loyola Marymount," she said. "As a staff, we do have to look at potential outcomes of the first night. But we don't talk to the team about who we might face."
After the Classic, the Jayhawks will travel to Creighton on Tuesday, then play host to Mississippi Valley State next Saturday.
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT (2-1)
F -- Amber Gravely, 6-0, Jr.
F -- Dana Hunter, 6-3, Sr.
G -- Taryn Reynolds, 5-7, Jr.
G -- Bryn Britton, 5-11, Soph.
G -- Rosa Bernasconi, 5-6, Soph.
F -- Brooke Reves, 6-0, Jr.
F -- Lynn Pride, 6-2, Sr.
F -- Jaclyn Johnson, 6-1, Jr.
G -- Suzi Raymant, 5-11, Sr.
G -- Jennifer Jackson, 5-10, Jr.
Tipoff: Approximately 7:05 tonight, Allen Fieldhouse.
-- Andrew Hartsock's phone number is 832-7216. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.