Archive for Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Henrickson: No early Christmas this year

December 21, 2005

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Christmas may precede Creighton alphabetically, but not on the list of Bonnie Henrickson's priorities.

Henrickson wants her Kansas University women's basketball players' minds on the Bluejays, not Santa Claus.

"She told us not to think about Christmas yet," senior guard Kaylee Brown said, "that we need to think about Creighton."

The unbeaten Jayhawks (8-0) will meet the Bluejays (2-5) tonight. Tipoff will be at 7:05 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be telecast live on Sunflower Broadband Channel 6.

Last time the Jayhawks played Creighton - coincidentally, a year ago today - in Omaha, Neb., the Bluejays recorded a 68-63 victory.

Everyone on KU's roster suited that night, but not all of them had their heads in the game, according to Henrickson.

"Some people took off for Christmas a day early," the second-year KU coach said. "We had Christmas early last year."

Crystal Kemp and Erica Hallman, then juniors, basically were the only Jayhawks who showed up. Hallman scored 20 points, then a career-high, while Kemp contributed 16 points and 17 rebounds.

Kemp and Hallman have also been the ringleaders in the Jayhawks' fast start this season. The 6-foot-2 Kemp and the 5-8 Hallman are averaging 17.8 and 15.7 points per game.

Brown, the other senior starter, averages 13.6 points per outing, and freshman point guard Ivana Catic is also in double figures at 11.4.

While a solid senior presence has helped the Jayhawks to their fastest start since the early '90s, Creighton is going in the opposite direction despite having four senior starters.

The Bluejays have dropped three in a row, including a 69-59 decision to Kansas State on Monday night at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, and are off to their worst start in eight years.

"We have to find a way to bounce back," Creighton coach Jim Flanery told the Omaha World-Herald.

To bounce back, the Bluejays must cut down on turnovers. They're averaging more than 19 a game.

Like KU, Creighton boasts a prolific inside-outside duo in forward Angie Janis and guard Kristi Woodard. Janis had 22 points and 11 rebounds against K-State. She is averaging nearly 21 points a game; Woodard about 16 points a game.

Creighton has won its last five meetings with the Jayhawks, meaning no player on the KU roster has experienced a victory over the Bluejays.

"We want to come in and get revenge," KU's Kemp said. "We won't take them lightly."

After tonight, KU won't play again until Wednesday, when Pepperdine comes to town.

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