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Archive for Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jayhawks’ Morris to return home tonight

January 30, 2008

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KU women 1-5 in Big 12 play

The Kansas women's basketball team must take on one of the best players in the nation. On Wednesday, Bonnie's bunch travels to Oklahoma to take on Courtney Paris and the Sooners. Enlarge video

— Sade Morris vows she'll try to maintain a normal heartbeat.

For the first time as a collegian, Morris, the second-leading scorer on Kansas University's women's basketball team, will be playing tonight in her hometown.

"I'm trying not to make it any different than any other game," Morris said, "because I don't want to psych myself out."

Tipoff for the Kansas-Oklahoma game will be at 7 p.m. in the Noble Center on the OU campus.

With as many as 25 or 30 family and friends in attendance, Morris figures to have a tough time keeping her adrenaline on an even keel.

"I'm trying not to think about it," Morris said with a smile.

A 5-foot-11 sophomore, Morris was the Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year in 2006. As a senior, she averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds a game for Norman High.

Naturally, Morris was targeted as a potential prospect by the hometown Sooners.

"They recruited me hard," Morris said, "but I felt I needed to get away. I'd lived in Norman all my life, so I decided to try to help turn this program around."

Turning Kansas around remains a work in progress. Morris is averaging 11.5 points a game - almost double her 6.4 average as a part-time starter last year - but the Jayhawks continue to struggle against Big 12 Conference competition.

Last year, the freshman-laden Jayhawks dropped their first nine league games before rallying to finish with a 4-12 conference mark. This year, they've dropped five of their first six. And now the Jayhawks have to face the nation's No. 11-ranked team on its home floor.

Like everyone else, Kansas doesn't have anyone who can match up with Oklahoma's Courtney Paris, a 6-4 junior who has recorded an amazing 78 straight scoring and rebounding double-doubles.

Paris posted 32 points and grabbed 13 boards in Lawrence last season. Meanwhile, her twin sister Ashley had 16 points and 9 boards, yet the Jayhawks hung tough before bowing, 76-70.

Kansas is coming off Saturday's disappointing 58-51 home loss to Texas A&M, a defeat that prompted coach Bonnie Henrickson to question her players' will to win.

"We never matched (A&M's) intensity," Henrickson said. "We've got to be more tough-minded."

Kansas will return home Saturday for a 7 p.m. clash with Iowa State.

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