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Archive for Saturday, December 1, 2001

Late steal lifts Jayhawks in tourney opener

December 1, 2001

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It wasn't for a championship. It wasn't an elimination tournament game. Heck, it wasn't even a conference matchup.

But there was Selena Scott, riding on the shoulders of teammates Nikki White, Keila Beachem, Brandi McGinest and Leila Mengc off the court Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

Moments earlier, Scott, Kansas' senior point guard, anticipated an Alabama State pass, intercepted it at midcourt and raced to the basket and made a game-winning lay-in with 15 seconds left in KU's 62-61 victory.

Kansas (3-3) will face Oregon (3-3) at 7 tonight in the championship game of the Holiday Inn Jayhawk Classic. Alabama State (1-1) will play St. John's (1-5) at 5 p.m. today in the consolation game.

"I was coming from the corner and just sprinted in as hard as I could to get it," Scott said.

Stealing the ball is one thing, but Scott making the lay-in is a whole other deal, said Kansas coach Marian Washington.

"Selena is so quick that we have to tell her to slow down sometimes so she can finish the shot," she said.

Scott said she didn't think about missing the shot, or making it, for that matter.

"I wasn't thinking at all," she said. "I play better when I don't think. When I think that I can't miss a shot that is when I miss a shot."

That kind of thinking, or lack of it, is exactly what Washington wants her team to do. She said Thursday that Kansas' players weren't relaxed enough and had too much going on in their heads to be productive. That wasn't the case against the Hornets.

"I saw some improvement tonight," Washington said. "They played a little bit more relaxed and I thought they were a lot more aggressive."

Aggressive might be an understatement. Center Kristin Geoffroy totaled six blocks, five in the first half.

Guard KC Hilgenkamp made just two of five shots in the first half, but finished eight of 17 for a game-high 16 points.

"I don't care if she struggles," Washington said. "She's a shooter. She was a money player tonight."

Hilgenkamp scored eight straight points in a four-minute span for Kansas late in the second half and gave the Jayhawks a 58-53 advantage. The Hornets went on a six-point run after that and took a 59-58 lead. With a little more than a minute left, Hilgenkamp drained a jumper that gave the Jayhawks a 60-59 edge.

"Coach has told me all year long to keep shooting if I miss," Hilgenkamp said. "Tonight she did a real good job of having people get the ball to me and I just made my shots at the end."

Less than a minute after Hilgenkamp's last shot, Scott barrelled down the court for her lay-in, which she didn't miss either. But if she had, it wouldn't have mattered.

"I was so alone down there that even if I missed the shot I could have goteen the rebound and put it back up."

Oregon 75, St. John's 52

Jamie Craighead scored 20 points, including six of seven three-point shots, and the Ducks were a combined 11 of 23 from behind the arc in their win.

Oregon led 47-18 at halftime and all 13 of its players played at least four minutes in the first half. The score was deceiving because St. John's left four starters at home because of injury and had only eight players on its bench.

"Oregon is real big," Washington said. "They're very persistent and have an excellent point guard. They have a couple of three-point shooters and I think their first five shots in their game were three-pointers.

"We'll have to bring a different game (today)."

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