Berkeley, Calif. Here comes the litmus test for Kansas University's women's basketball team.
Unranked despite a 9-1 record, the Jayhawks will find out just how good they are tonight when they tangle with No. 12-ranked California.
"Playing a very, very good team on the road," KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said, "we're very excited about it."
Tipoff will be at 8 p.m. (Lawrence time) at Haas Pavilion on the Cal campus.
Last year in Lawrence, the Golden Bears rallied for a 73-65 victory over the Jayhawks despite a 19-point, nine-rebound performance off the bench by then-freshman Danielle McCray.
McCray has been off to a fast start this season, leading the Jayhawks in scoring (16.6) and rebounding (8.0), yet the 5-foot-11 sophomore missed Wednesday's game at San Jose State due to an ankle injury.
McCray's status for tonight's game probably will be a game-time decision. She hasn't done any running or jumping in about a week.
"I'll sit down and talk with her to see if she has any pain," Henrickson said Thursday. "She's been on the (stationary) bicycle, and she's been shooting and has been pain-free. But she hasn't done any pounding on it."
Another question tonight is whether Henrickson will start freshman Krysten Boogaard. In the 59-52 victory at San Jose State, the 6-5 Boogaard came off the bench for career-highs of 24 points and 10 rebounds.
"She's certainly earned every opportunity to start," Henrickson said, "but maybe it will be better for her to sit and evaluate and get the feel for it."
Essentially, Henrickson isn't sure if Boogaard is ready to go against Cal's Ashley Walker, one of the best college players in the country. Walker, a 6-1 junior from Oakland, terrorized the Jayhawks last year with 26 points and 14 rebounds.
"She's so athletic and so explosive," Henrickson said of Walker. "We did a pretty good job on her in the first half last year, but in the second half she did what she wanted."
Cal's only defeats have been to ranked teams on the road - 56-51 at Rutgers and 69-56 at Baylor.
After tonight, the Jayhawks won't play again until Dec. 30, when they'll entertain Boston University.