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Archive for Saturday, January 19, 2008

KU women, too, to tangle with MU

January 19, 2008

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Hey, college basketball fans, there's more than one Border War skirmish today. The women's teams will rumble, too.

"There's never a bad time to play Missouri because of the rivalry and intensity involved," Kansas University coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "Hopefully, we'll get a nice crowd."

Tipoff will be at 2 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. Sunflower Broadband channel 6 will carry a live telecast.

On paper, this is a good time for Kansas to be playing Missouri because the Jayhawks are struggling mightily, and graduation-riddled Missouri has the worst overall record (8-8) in the Big 12 Conference.

After surging to an 11-2 start, Kansas hit a roadblock once conference play began. A close loss at home to nationally ranked Oklahoma State was followed by wallopings at Nebraska and Baylor, and now the Jayhawks are at a crossroads.

Will their swoon continue, or will they stop the bleeding?

"We have an opportunity," Henrickson said, "to right the ship."

One thing is certain: The Jayhawks will continue to pump bilge until they find a way to produce more points. KU has averaged a paltry 46.7 points a game during the three-game tailspin.

It's no secret, either, that Danielle McCray, the Jayhawks' leading scorer (15.2), needs to break out of a slump.

In the 59-35 loss at Baylor, McCray missed 12 of 15 shots and had more turnovers (5) than rebounds (4). In the three league losses, the 5-foot-11 sophomore is shooting 30.5 percent (11 of 36). McCray has also averaged 4.0 fouls in those three games, limiting her court time.

"She's gotten frustrated," Henrickson said. "Sixty to 70 percent of her fouls are frustration fouls. She's a very talented player and has to understand that in a 40-minute game she'll find success if she can handle her emotions."

Missouri's best player is also in a funk. In fact, Alyssa Hollins compiled virtually the same unimpressive numbers as McCray in the Tigers' 76-41 flogging Wednesday at Oklahoma State.

Hollins, a 5-11 junior guard, is averaging 17.0 points a game and, says Henrickson, "She's a fantastic player." Mizzou's other primary offensive weapon is Jessra Johnson, a 6-1 sophomore forward averaging 15.1 points.

For the third straight game, Kansas will be without Kelly Kohn, a sophomore guard who is usually one of the first players off the bench. Kohn still is nursing a sprained ankle.

"She's day-to-day," Henrickson said of Kohn. "I'd say she's doubtful."

Soph LaChelda Jacobs, who was the Jayhawks' leading scorer at Baylor with nine points, has earned most of Kohn's minutes.

"LaChelda was solid. She's been a bright spot," Henrickson said. "She's been playing with more discipline, and we need that with Kelly still out."

Kansas will go to Colorado on Tuesday, then return home next Saturday for a date with Texas A&M.

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