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Archive for Monday, February 22, 1999

S BASKETBALL TEAM WILL PLAY ITS FINAL TWO REGULAR-SEASON GAMES ON THE ROADAT OKLAHOMA STATE AND KANSAS STATE.

February 22, 1999

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In the glowing aftermath of her 500th coaching victory, Marian Washington said:

"What I'm proud of is we have a great tradition for men's basketball here, and I think we now have that for women's basketball."

Clearly, though, while the KU women's program has thrived under Washington, it isn't on the same level with the men ... at least not yet.

KU's women, for example, have never reached the NCAA Final Four while the KU men have made four Final Four trips in the last 12 seasons. Kansas won the national championship in 1988.

Attendance is another indicator. While the KU men are on target for a record-setting average crowd of around 16,200 per game, the women averaged only 2,575 per game in 1998-99.

Washington's team has played in front of more fans -- an average of 3,140 -- on the road.

It's not that the Kansas women play poorly at home, either. They've won 22 of their last 23 games in Allen Fieldhouse.

Both the Kansas men and Kansas women have 10-4 records in Big 12 Conference play going into the final week of the regular season.

The women must play both their remaining games on the road -- at Oklahoma State on Wednesday and at Kansas State on Saturday.

At least the Jayhawks won't have to go to Stillwater or Manhattan with the albatross of achieving that 500th coaching victory hanging over their heads.

"I'm just glad this is over," KU standout Lynn Pride said following Saturday night's 58-54 victory over Oklahoma. "It was our last chance to do it at home."

With Washington's 500th win out of the way, the Jayhawks can now concentrate on building momentum for the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.

"We want to maintain that third spot," said Pride who scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Sooners.

Kansas stands two games behind league leader Texas Tech and one back of Iowa State in conference standings. Fourth-place Texas is one back of the Jayhawks.

-- Chuck Woodling's phone message number is 832-7147. His e-mail address is cwoodling@ljworld.com.

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