Los Angeles — UCLA wasn’t very nice to Rice the other night.
The Bruins’ women’s basketball team went to Houston and scored the first 20 points on the way to an 82-64 romp over the Owls.
“I watched it,” Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “Whew … it was turnover, layup, turnover, layup.”
Thus Henrickson will be doing her best to try to prevent a similar early blitz when the Jayhawks tangle with the Bruins today.
Tipoff will be at 2 p.m. (CST) at Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports Kansas City (Sunflower Broadband channel 36).
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Bruins is the fact they’ve won eight of their nine games — their best start in 28 years — and are not ranked.
“It’s probably because of their strength of schedule,” Henrickson said, “but I think they’re good enough to be ranked. They’re athletic, and they’re big.”
UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell has two 6-foot-4 starters in Chinyere Ibekwe and Christina Nzekwe, as well as a 6-foot guard in Erica Tukianen.
The good news for Henrickson is that Krysten Boogaard, her tallest player at 6-5, is close to full speed. Boogaard started the first two games, then sat out the next four because of a stress reaction in her left leg before returning to limited duty in the last two outings.
Now Boogaard is ready to reclaim her starting job.
“She’s pain-free,” Henrickson said, “and I would expect her to be at 100 percent.”
During Boogaard’s absence, 6-2 soph Nicollette Smith assumed a starting role, and she’ll keep that job, Henrickson said, with Porscha Weddington going to the bench.
Smith is averaging 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds a game despite wearing a mask to protect a broken nose suffered in the season opener.
“She’ll be glad to get that thing off,” Henrickson said. “But she has two weeks to go.”
Danielle McCray continues to lead the Jayhawks in both scoring (20.0) and rebounding (8.5). Sade Morris (13.0) is the only other KU player averaging double-figure scoring.