Maybe it was the Wizard of Oz. Maybe it was the one hour of sleep.
Whatever it was, Kansas University shortstop Courtney Wright broke out of a season-long slump with two hits one a game-winning home run as the Jayhawks swept a softball twinbill from Southwest Missouri State on Tuesday at Jayhawk Field.
"I told her I was going to stick with her," KU coach Tracy Bunge said of Wright. "When she's good we're a better team."
Wright's fifth-inning solo homer snapped a 2-2 tie in the opener and she singled and scored a run as KU won the nightcap, 3-0, behind Serena Settlemier's three-hit, 10-strikeout pitching performance.
As a junior last season, Wright led the Jayhawks with a .314 batting average. She was voted the team's offensive MVP. This year, though, her average had plunged to .125 before she collected the two hits on Tuesday.
Not bad for someone who burned the midnight oil on Monday night studying for an organic chemistry exam.
"I got an hour of sleep," said Wright, a pre-med major, "but when I got around the other girls I got a lot of energy."
Then there was the talk with a sports psychologist.
"He made an analogy to the Wizard of Oz," Wright said. "He said they were searching for something they didn't think they had, but they already had it. He told me it's there and not to worry about it."
It could be, too, that Wright is just catching up after undergoing off-season shoulder surgery. Rehab prevented her from swinging a bat for a couple of months.
Normally she would go home to Tucson, Ariz., during the semester break and swing, swing, swing at pitches thrown by her father.
"My game is really fine-tuned and I needed to hit during the fall and Christmas break," she said. "But there aren't any excuses anymore."
Another slumping Jayhawk, catcher-DH Katie Campbell, also stroked a two-run homer in the first game.
"I'm pleased with Serena's shutout because offensively we're not firing on all cylinders," Bunge said. "We need Katie and we need Courtney to get back in groove."
In addition to her career-high 10 strikeouts, Settlemier stroked two hits to hike her batting average to .333, second best on the team behind Christi Musser. The Kelso, Wash., freshman also has the second-most mound victories with seven.
Leah Tabb gave Settlemier all the runs she needed when she doubled home Megan Urquhart in the first. KU added insurance runs in the fifth on Lindsey Weinstein's RBI double and a perfect squeeze bunt by Urquhart.
Kara Pierce, who leads the Jayhawks with 11 wins, will pitch the first game of today's twinbill against Wichita State. Kirsten Milhoan, 4-2, will start the second game. The opener is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Jayhawk Field.
Kansas' record is 25-16. Southwest Missouri State leveled at 16-16.