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Archive for Wednesday, December 7, 2005

KU women to face improved ‘Roos

December 7, 2005

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Very little footage from last year's Kansas University-UMKC women's basketball game made highlights reels.

In fact, the Jayhawks' 47-36 victory was as forgettable as last week's newspaper.

"It was ugly," KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "Neither team could score. It was UG-ly."

It goes without saying Henrickson hopes she won't have to utter the U-word again after the Jayhawks and Kangaroos collide tonight.

"Both teams are much better this year," she said.

Tipoff will be 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.

Actually, the jury is still out on how much better the 'Roos are. Second-year coach Bo Overton's team has won only two of its seven starts.

"But they've played only one home game," Henrickson countered. "All the rest have been on the road, or at a neutral site."

Yes, but UMKC's lone home game was a squeaker - a 76-73 victory over Northwest Missouri State, an NCAA Div. II school.

Few would dispute, however, that the Jayhawks are much better in Henrickson's second season, even though the competition hasn't been all that rugged.

Henrickson's first KU team (12-16) lacked scoring punch and depth, but those areas no longer appear to be weaknesses. The Jayhawks (5-0) are averaging an impressive 77.8 points a game and shooting at a torrid clip.

Curiously, KU's overall field-goal percentage is lower (48.4) than the team's three-point FG percentage (49.3). In fact, Henrickson's three best long-range shooters are a combined 53.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Erica Hallman has made 14 of 24 treys, Kaylee Brown 11 of 23 and Ivana Catic six of 11. Yet Catic's main value has been as a distributor. The 5-foot-8 freshman has shown remarkable poise and consistency as a floor leader.

At this stage, Hallman (19.0), Crystal Kemp (15.6) and Brown (12.2), the only seniors on the roster, rank 1-2-3 on the team scoring chart.

"That doesn't surprise me," Henrickson said. "Ivana has played a part in that because she's getting them shots they can make."

When Henrickson recruited Shaquina Mosley, last year's NJCAA player of the year while at Central Arizona CC, it was expected Mosley would become the Jayhawks' starting point guard.

But Catic won the job, and Mosley comes off the bench.

"I'd like her to be more aggressive," Henrickson said of the 5-8 Mosley. "At Central Arizona, they won most of their games by 30 or 40 points, and she could make mistakes. Now she has to learn that every possession is important."

Tonight marks Game No. 6 in the Jayhawks' 12-game season-opening homestand, and the quality of competition will pick up during the second six-pack, starting with Sunday's 1 p.m. clash against Wisconsin.

The Jayhawks also will meet Florida International, Creighton, Pepperdine, LaSalle and Texas before they trot out their road blue uniforms Jan. 7 at Nebraska.

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