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Archive for Monday, March 15, 1999

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March 15, 1999

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— Kansas University's women's basketball team has been there, done that.

Heading into tonight's second-round NCAA Midwest Region game at top-seeded Purdue (29-1), the ninth-seeded Jayhawks (23-9) are looking to the past in hopes of achieving success in the future.

"A lot of people have asked how we felt about being with Purdue, the No. 1 team in the country," KU senior center Nakia Sanford said. "I just think about all the experience we gained last year when we were playing Iowa. They were picked to at least get to the Final Four. They had five, six All-Americans. We went up there, we focused on our game and we were able to pull that win out.

"I think that's pretty much what we're all focused on right now."

Tipoff for today's game is 6:30 p.m. at Mackey Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN2, cable channel 46.

As a No. 5 seed last season, Kansas defeated Tulane in a first-round game before toppling host Iowa to reach the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years.

In order to repeat that feat the Jayhawks not only will have to contend with the Boilermakers -- who have won 27 games in a row, tops in the nation -- but also a Purdue-partisan crowd of about 9,000.

"Most of the people on our team get up for those types of games where you know there's going to be a large crowd -- whether they're yelling for you or not," said Sanford, who scored 13 points in KU's first-round win over Marquette. "Just the excitement that having a large crowd adds to it. I think we've been in that position before, and it's usually gotten us a lot more hyped. I can't really think of it being a disadvantage.

"We've faced all kinds of hecklers and everything in the Big 12, so I don't think it will be anything we haven't seen."

Purdue, however, might be something Kansas hasn't seen.

Not only did the Boilermakers lose just once this season -- at Stanford, 73-72, on Nov. 22 -- but also they were perfect during the Big 10 regular season (16-0), won the Big 10 tournament and didn't suffer a home defeat (11-0).

Then there's Purdue senior guard Stephanie White-McCarty.

"She's a real heady player and does a great job, I think, in helping to lead this team," KU coach Marian Washington said, "not just in terms of her skill, but also in terms of the way she inspires."

White-McCarty, who has been married for nine months, leads the Boilermakers in scoring (21.0 ppg) and assists (4.6), is second in steals (2.2) and third on the team in rebounds (5.6) and blocked shots (12). The senior guard also has two 30-plus scoring performances and the only triple-double in team history (22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Indiana on Jan. 22).

"We know they're a very good team," White-McCarty said of Kansas. "Obviously, they wouldn't be here if they weren't. We know about Lynn Pride. I think the biggest thing for us is just when we get the scouting report to go over it, be ready for practice and come out and just play our game. You could tell (Sunday night) when things weren't going so well offensively, we tried to create some things off of our defense.

"We've done a good job all year of finding ways to win and (tonight) is no different. We just have to come out ready to play."

While Pride, who scored 12 points for the Jayhawks in Saturday's win, leads the team in scoring (17.5 ppg) and usually is the opposition's main concern, the Boilermakers have another concern on their mind.

"They do a lot of different things defensively," Purdue coach Carolyn Peck said. "Twenty-four hours is not a enough time to prepare for everything that Kansas does. The only thing that we can control is what we do. That's what we're going to try and do -- go out and play 40 minutes of intense, Purdue-style basketball."

Tonight's game marks the last at Mackey Arena for the Purdue coach, who is bolting for the WNBA after two years in West Lafayette. Peck, who has posted a 52-11 record with the Boilermakers, will become the coach and general manager for Orlando's expansion team next year.

-- Robert Sinclair's phone message number is 832-7185. His e-mail address is rsinclair@ljworld.com.

Probable Starters

Kansas (23-9)

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

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

C -- Nakia Sanford, 6-3, Sr.

G -- Brooke Reves, 6-0, Soph.

G -- Jennifer Jackson, 5-10, Soph.

Purdue (29-1)

F -- Stephanie White-McCarty, 5-11, Sr.

F -- Michelle Duhart, 6-0, Jr.

C -- Camille Cooper, 6-4, Soph.

G -- Ukari Figgs, 5-9, Sr.

G -- Katie Douglas, 6-1, Soph.

Tipoff: 6:30 p.m. CST at Purdue's Mackey Arena.

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