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Archive for Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cyclones await turnover-prone KU women

Struggling Jayhawks to play host to Iowa State today in breast-cancer-benefit game

KU women's basketball head coach Bonnie Henrickson

KU women's basketball head coach Bonnie Henrickson

February 22, 2009

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Sloppiness has become the story of this disappointing Kansas University women’s basketball season.

Bonnie Henrickson used a form of that word again Wednesday following a 22-turnover performance in a 69-62 loss to woeful Colorado in Boulder, Colo.

“We just can’t be that sloppy,” said Henrickson, now in her fifth season as the Jayhawks’ head coach.

Turnovers have been the integral factor in Kansas dropping eight of its last nine games and nine of its 11 Big 12 Conference outings. The Jayhawks have averaged 18.5 giveaways during that stretch.

With their hopes of earning a postseason berth in the WNIT fading fast, the Jayhawks need to turn it around starting today against Iowa State.

Tipoff will be at noon in Allen Fieldhouse. Fox Sports Kansas City (Sunflower Broadband channel 36) will carry a live telecast.

No. 21-ranked Iowa State is having a banner season. The Cyclones are locked in a four-way tie for third place in the league standings and are hoping for a first-round bye in the Big 12 tournament next month.

Iowa State leads the league in three-point attempts. The Cyclones’ Heather Ezell, Kelsey Bolte and Alison Lacey will play bombs-away from beyond the arc every chance they get.

Kansas, meanwhile, ranks last in the league in three-point attempts. Then again, the Jayhawks are also last in overall shot attempts, a statistic directly attributable to lost possessions through turnovers.

LaChelda Jacobs leads the Jayhawks with 91 assists, but Henrickson doesn’t start the 5-foot-10 junior because she’s also the team leader in turnovers with 85. Starting point guard Ivana Catic has just 43 giveaways, but she’s averaging only 2.3 points a game.

Together, however, the two KU point guards are responsible for about a fourth of the team’s 428 turnovers, leading to speculation about what might have been if touted freshman point guard Angel Goodrich hadn’t suffered an ACL injury before the season started.

Perhaps wearing pink uniforms today will help. The Jayhawks donned pink togs about this time last year and posted a thrilling 62-61 victory over Nebraska.

The pink uniforms are part of a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s initiative to heighten awareness of breast cancer. Kansas Athletics Inc. will donate $1 for every fan on hand, with the money to be divided between Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the KU Cancer Center. Also, Henrickson will donate $1 for every KU student in the stands.

The Jayhawks won’t be the only ones wearing pink. The first 5,000 fans will receive a free pink T-shirt courtesy of LMH.

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