After losing Suzi Raymant for nearly all of last season, the last thing Kansas University women's basketball coach Marian Washington wanted was to lose Raymant for even a single game this year.
But that's a very real possibility tonight, when the 20th-ranked Jayhawks (7-2) play host to Arkansas State (8-1).
Raymant, KU's senior shooting guard from Melbourne, Australia, sat out last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. She suffered a pulled groin in Tuesday's 71-68 victory over Arizona and is questionable for tonight's 7:05 tipoff at Allen Fieldhouse.
"If we don't have Suzi, that's going to present some challenges," Washington said. "First, she was quite ill, and she hasn't completely gotten over that. Now it appears she might have a groin pull. It's a day-to-day situation."
Raymant, the Jayhawks' best three-point threat, is the team's second-leading scorer at 14.6 points per game and has hit 15 of KU's 20 treys.
"I'm just looking forward to getting through this and getting everyone healthy," Washington said. "You reach a point where you get in some kind of a rhythm. You don't want any key player like her out of the lineup. We're at the point we've been able to adjust, and hopefully we'll adjust well enough to put us in position (tonight)."
They didn't adjust well enough last season. A year ago, Kansas traveled to Jonesboro, Ark., to face the Indians in the fourth game after Raymant blew her ACL. Arkansas State held KU to 33.3 percent three-point shooting and 28.6 percent free-throw shooting in a 65-61 victory over the Jayhawks.
After that loss, the Jayhawks went on an eight-game winning streak.
"I know the players are going to look forward to it because of the loss a year ago," Washington said.
The Kansas-ASU series was set up so Casey Pruitt, a 5-foot-6 junior point guard, could play a game in her hometown. Tonight's game is the return of that home-and-home series.
"This is where it fell," Washington said. "We have several top-notch opponents around this Christmas, and it's a big challenge. This is another good team."
The Indians, whose only loss was to Marquette, are off to the best start in school history.
"They're a great team," Washington said. "They're like Arizona in terms of their athletic ability. They're very athletic, and they've got a very quick backcourt. What they don't do that Arizona did a lot of was, they don't necessarily press in terms of zone pressing, but they will put a player on the ball. They're just a very capable ballclub."
Three Arkansas State starters average in double figures: Julie Hagood, a 5-9 senior guard (16.7 ppg); Tanisha Johnson, a 6-2 senior forward (16.4 ppg); and Keeshia Evans, a 5-8 junior guard (14.6 ppg).
ASU averages 78.7 points per game and 7.2 made three-point field goals per game, while KU averages 71.9 points and 2.2 threes per game.
"They shoot the three from 1-4 (point guard to power forward), so we're going to have to communicate a lot there," Washington said. "We'll have to keep a hand up. But when we look at what's going to happen in the conference, I think it's going to help us for a team like Iowa State."
Kansas will travel to Kansas City to face St. Louis University in a doubleheader with the KU men on Thursday at Kemper Arena. Tipoff for the women's game is 5:30 p.m.
ARKANSAS STATE (8-1)
F -- Natalie Goodall, 5-10, Jr.
F -- Tanisha Johnson, 6-2, Sr.
C -- Kim Davis, 6-5, Sr.
G -- Julie Hagood, 5-9, Sr.
G -- Keeshia Evans, 5-8, Jr.
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, 5-11, Jr.
Tipoff: 7:05 tonight, Allen Fieldhouse.
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