For freshman Tamara Ransburg, life on the basketball court is getting a whole lot easier. It's getting a little more painful, too.
The Kansas University women's basketball forward, like several of her freshman teammates, has experienced her share of growing pains this season.
Now, she is experiencing other aches.
The 6-foot-4 Ransburg has been slowed -- though not stopped -- by stress fractures in her left leg. The leg is wrapped and being watched carefully, but it won't keep her out of today's 2 p.m. game against Indiana-Purdue-Indianapolis at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas coach Marian Washington said Ransburg's desire to improve meant the Jayhawks were rebuilding in a positive direction.
"She's coming along," Washington said. "She plays very hard and she's going to really develop into one of our better power forwards with some time."
Ransburg is a power forward with quite a knack for swatting shots.
Of the Jayhawks' 51 total blocked shots -- third in the Big 12 Conference -- 30 belong to Ransburg. Her 3.8 blocks per game rank second in the Big 12 behind Texas Tech's Cisti Greenwalt.
Even more impressive is the way she rejects them. Many times, Ransburg's significant wingspan has allowed her to block shots flat-footed. It may be a high-school habit, or that she doesn't need to jump to deny shots.
Either way, Washington is encouraged by Ransburg's potential.
"She's a tremendous leaper," Washington said. "She certainly could spend more time in the air looking for the shot. With time, she'll learn how to go after the basketball."
|When: 2 p.m. today.Where: Allen Fieldhouse.Records: Kansas 4-4; IUPUI 3-5.Last meeting: Kansas and IUPUI have never played each other.|
IUPUI (3-5) could match up well inside with Ransburg. Three of its five starters tower over 6 feet tall, and Tiffany Kyser, the team's leading scorer at 18.1 points per game, is 5-10.
The Jaguars could be catching Kansas at the right time, as the Jayhawks have lost four straight games and are struggling to regain their early season winning groove.
Still, Ransburg doesn't think that's the case.
"Everyone has been real positive," Ransburg said. "If we stay negative we're not going to get anywhere.
"Once we lose, we learn from mistakes, and I think we're going to be on a winning path this week."