Manhattan Two games without center Marlies Gipson have resulted in two losses for Kansas State's women's basketball team.
And Gipson, a 6-foot sophomore center who averages 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds a game, isn't likely to play tonight when the Wildcats meet Kansas University.
Nevertheless, KU coach Bonnie Henrickson expects Gipson will be ready.
"We're preparing as if she is," Henrickson said.
Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum on the KSU campus. Fox Sports Midwest (Sunflower Broadband Ch. 36) will carry a live telecast.
With Gipson out with a knee injury, KSU coach Deb Patterson used sophomore Shana Wheeler and freshman Ashley Sweat, both 6-2, in the middle without too much of a dropoff.
"Some of the kids who played in her absence," Henrickson said, "are similar to Marlies, and played pretty well."
Basically, the 'Cats stumbled without Gipson because they had to play Baylor and Nebraska, two of the league's best teams, on the road.
"They gave Baylor all they could handle by making 12 threes," Henrickson said. "Claire Coggins and Shalee Lehning stepped up in Marlies' absence."
Coggins and Lehning are the primary deep threats on a team than ranks second in the league - behind Iowa State - in three-point goals. ISU, however, eschewed long-range shooting in Wednesday's 75-48 thumping of the Jayhawks, scoring half its points in the paint.
"We've got to be good defending on the perimeter against K-State," Henrickson said, "and be a whole lot better inside than we were against Iowa State."
Henrickson also needs Kelly Kohn, the only KU player averaging double-figure scoring (10.7), to come untracked. In the last two games, Kohn has missed 17 of 19 shot attempts.
"She's getting everybody's best defender now," the KU coach said of the 5-9 freshman guard. "She's pressing, but she was working on her shot on our day off."
Kansas (6-12, 0-5 Big 12) hasn't defeated Kansas State (14-4, 2-3) in almost exactly six years. The Jayhawks' last victory was a 65-62 decision in Bramlage on Jan. 27, 2001. KSU has won 11 in a row.
KU will face another rugged road test Saturday when it travels to Lincoln, Neb., to tangle with Nebraska. The next home game will be a week from today against Texas Tech.