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Archive for Sunday, December 18, 2005

KU not feeling pressure to stay perfect

December 18, 2005

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Rare is the Kansas University women's basketball team that hasn't lost a game this late in December.

The Jayhawks (7-0) are off to their fastest start in 14 years, yet they don't appear to be overwhelmed by the pressure of remaining unbeaten, at least not according to coach Bonnie Henrickson.

"I don't think so. I don't get that sense from them," Henrickson said. "We continue to talk about the process, about what we have to do to win the next one."

The next one will be today against Florida International, a team loaded with - you guessed it - international players.

Tipoff will be at 1:05 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be televised live on Sunflower Broadband Channel 6.

Florida International coach Cindy Russo starts two players from Latvia, one from Finland and another from France. The latter is point guard Faeza Bouderra, a 5-foot-5 senior who averages 13.1 points per game and who will be matched against KU freshman point guard Ivana Catic, who hails from Serbia and Montenegro.

"Bouderra plays with poise and with a great pace, like Ivana," Henrickson said.

The Golden Panthers also have three players who stand over 6 feet, posing potential problems underneath because Henrickson prefers a three-guard lineup. KU had trouble rebounding against Wisconsin, another team with a tall front line, in its last outing a week ago today.

"They're not as physical as Wisconsin," Henrickson said of FIU, "but lengthwise, yes. They rank in the top 10 in blocked shots."

At the same time, the Panthers rank near the bottom in assists-to-turnover ratio with just 89 assists and an unsightly 138 giveaways. In contrast, KU has 145 assists and 92 turnovers in the same number of games.

FIU won its first four outings, but since has dropped three in a row to Kentucky, Miami and Bowling Green. The first two were on the road, the last in the Panthers' home gym in Miami.

"Bowling Green was an NCAA team last year," Henrickson said, "so we've warned our kids that Florida International is very good."

Kansas has been very good, too, particularly on offense.

KU has scored at least 70 points in every game and is averaging 78.9 per game. Last year, the Jayhawks reached 70 points only four times. KU has surrendered 70 points just once - in Sunday's 90-87 double-overtime victory over Wisconsin.

Today's game is the eighth in a 12-game season-opening homestand. KU will entertain Creighton on Wednesday, then has home games remaining with Pepperdine, LaSalle and Texas before making its first road trip Jan. 7 to Nebraska.

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