A group of talented newcomers has quickly turned around the Kansas University women's basketball team.
Five freshmen, led by Tamara Ransburg and Crystal Kemp, and sophomore Aquanita Burras have helped lead the Jayhawks to a 3-0 record, just two victories shy of last year's total.
"There's no question every day I look forward to coming to practice because we have some young people who really want to be here," Kansas coach Marian Washington said. "They want to compete."
Kemp leads the Jayhawks in scoring, averaging 15 points per game, and is second in rebounding with 7.7. Ransburg leads Kansas with 9 rebounds per game and averages 10 points, and Burras averages 13 points and seven boards.
The young Jayhawks have shown confidence under pressure early in their college careers.
Kemp scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a come-from-behind victory against the University of Texas-El Paso, and Ransburg had 15 points, 15 boards and six blocks in a close-fought battle with San Diego.
"I'm surprised that we had those two tight games and they kept their heads up and kept fighting," Washington said. "I'm pleasantly surprised. There's no question right now we are winning because of our heart and our determination."
Washington said the close games were good learning experiences and confidence builders for the Jayhawks leading into today's Holiday Inn Jayhawk Classic at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas, which has won 11 of its previous 14 home tournaments, will play Texas Southern (2-1) at 7 tonight. Besides tying last year's victory total, a tournament title would put the Jayhawks at 5-0 " their best start since the 1999-2000 season.
Western Michigan (2-0) and Western Illinois (2-2) will play at 5 p.m. today in the other first-round game.
The winners of today's games will play in the tournament championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday, and the losers will face each other at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Note: Kansas received two votes in the latest USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Top 25 Coaches' poll, and is rated 20th in the WBCA/Summerville RPI rankings through Dec. 1.