Archive for Thursday, March 4, 1999

S MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM.

March 4, 1999

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— Jaclyn Johnson's one-word description of the first-half performance of Kansas University's women's basketball team is not suitable for a family newspaper.

But KU bounced back from an expletive-deleted first 20 minutes and survived pesky Oklahoma State, 59-53, in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday at Municipal Auditorium.

Kansas will meet Iowa State in a semifinal at 7:30 tonight. Texas Tech and Nebraska will meet in the other semi at 5 p.m.

"We came out flat," Johnson said, tempering her language. "But we had to work through that. We hardly had any time in this gym. We didn't have a feel for the place, or the rims. We couldn't do nothing."

They sure couldn't shoot. The third-seeded Jayhawks hit just two of their first 17 shots and trailed by as many as 10 points -- at 14-4, with 9:18 left -- before rallying to lag 24-20 at the half.

"It's always disadvantageous to have to play a game like this," KU coach Marian Washington said. "It's the first round. Everybody's tight. We were tight, especially in the first half. But the important thing is, we found a way to win."

They caught fire after intermission. OSU pulled to a 27-20 lead just 18 seconds in, but the Jayhawks went on an 8-0 run -- six from Brooke Reves and two from Johnson -- to take a 28-27 lead.

The lead seesawed until the end, with both teams leading by as many as five points before the Jayhawks took the lead for good, 50-49, with 5:01 left on Johnson's short jumper.

Neither team hit another field goal the rest of the way, but Kansas hit nine of its last 11 free throws and forced turnovers on four straight Okie State possessions down the stretch.

"It was all just jitters early," KU's Lynn Pride said. "We were all very hyped for this game. If you lose, you're done. That was a lot of pressure on us. But that's over with. This was not our A game."

KU hit 52 percent of its second-half field goals.

"Defensively, that's as well as we're going to play them," OSU coach Dick Halterman said. "We struggled to put points on the board. I think we went the last eight or nine minutes without a basket, and that's not going to beat people at this level."

Johnson, playing with two stress fractures in her right fibula, led the Jayhawks with 15 points. Brooke Reves added 14 and Pride 12.

"Brooke came out in the second half and put down some really important shots," Washington said. "And so did Shandy (Robbins). She hit a couple of big threes for us."

Oklahoma State, trying to become the first 11th seed to win a second-round Big 12 tournament game, was led by Jennifer Crow's 18 points. Megan Gregg added 10.

Now the Jayhawks get a third meeting with ISU, a team that swept Kansas during the regular season.

"I'm looking forward to it," Pride said. "The fact we're 0-2 against them gives us motivation. We're looking forward to it. We can beat them."

"It's hard to lose to somebody twice," Washington added. "They're really one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. But we know what to expect, and we're past the jitters. We're really looking forward to it."

Before the game, a Nike representative gave Washington a Kansas jersey with the number 500 and Washington's name across the back. Earlier this season, Washington won the 500th game of her career.

"That was really nice," Washington said of the gift. "I'm going to have it framed."

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

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