Unbeaten but unranked, Kansas University's women's basketball team needs to make a statement to attract national attention.
This doesn't loom as the week, however, for that to happen -- not with two teams with losing records on the schedule.
The Jayhawks (9-0) will play host to Pepperdine (3-8) tonight, then entertain La Salle (3-6) Friday night.
Tipoff for tonight's clash with the Waves will be 7:05 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. Sunflower Broadband Channel 6 will have a live telecast.
"They've struggled," KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said of the Waves. "They have a couple of kids who are pretty athletic, but they're young and rebuilding."
Kansas, in contrast, has a solid senior nucleus of Crystal Kemp, Erica Hallman and Kaylee Brown who rank 1-2-3 in team scoring. That veteran trio is complemented by sophomore forward Taylor McIntosh and freshman point guard Ivana Catic.
Lately, Henrickson has been using just two players off the bench -- freshman forward Marija Zinic and junior guard Sharita Smith.
Meanwhile, touted newcomer Shaquina Mosley, last season's NJCAA player of the year, has been spending almost as much time on the bench as Henrickson's assistant coaches.
Why so much pine time for the ballyhooed junior-college guard?
"She hasn't been consistent in practice," Henrickson said. "She doesn't play with enough intensity, like Sharita does."
When the Jayhawks resumed practice Monday evening following a four-day break for the holidays, Mosley showed improvement.
"She was better," Henrickson said. "I was in her ear, telling her, 'We've got to get something out of you.'"
Four KU starters are averaging 31 to 32 minutes per game. McIntosh is the exception at 20.6 minutes per game. Zinic (19.6 minutes) has emerged as a solid backup for Kemp and McIntosh, but Henrickson has just Smith to give breathers to Hallman, Brown and Catic.
If Mosley comes through as a solid backcourt sub, then Henrickson seemingly would have a perfect mix.
"She's tremendously athletic," Henrickson said of the 5-foot-6 Mosley, "and we need six, eight, 10 minutes out of her."
Kansas will begin the Big 12 Conference chase Tuesday at home against Texas. Then, on the following Saturday, the Jayhawks will don road uniforms for the first time when they travel to Nebraska.
- Notes: A victory tonight would match the best start in KU history. The 1991-92 team began 10-0. ... KU is averaging 76.4 points per game and has scored at least 70 points in eight of nine games. Last year, the Jayhawks reached 70 points only four times. ... KU is one of eight remaining undefeated teams and the only one not receive a vote in the coaches' top 25 poll.