Kurt Budke trotted out everything he had in his arsenal to try to stop Kansas standout Danielle McCray. Nothing worked for the Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach.
“We tried four different defenses on her,” Budke said, “and I don’t have a fifth one. Just give her credit for being a great player.”
McCray has been a great player several times this season, notably in matching her career-high with 30 points in Wednesday’s 67-52 victory over the Cowgirls.
But a big game by McCray doesn’t guarantee a Kansas victory. For example, the 5-foot-11 junior also scored 30 points a month ago at Nebraska, yet the Cornhuskers posted a 67-58 victory.
So its evident KU coach Bonnie Henrickson would prefer more balanced scoring in tonight’s rematch with the Huskers in Allen Fieldhouse.
Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. Fox Sports Kansas City (Sunflower Broadband 36) will carry a live telecast.
On Jan. 21 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb., Kansas bowed primarily because the Huskers were able to launch 14 more shots, a statistic directly attributable to the Jayhawks’ 22 turnovers.
KU’s giveaway woes haven’t completely disappeared since then, but the Jayhawks have averaged a manageable 16.5 turnovers a game in back-to-back wins over Iowa State and O-State.
“I’m a firm believer that in February you don’t stay the same,” Henrickson said. “You’re either going to get better or you’re going to get worse. And I think we’ve gotten a little better.”
A week ago, KU’s outlook was grim. The Jayhawks were 2-9 in Big 12 Conference games and were facing No. 21-ranked Iowa State with a trip to Stillwater, Okla., on the horizon — a daunting prospect because KU had dropped 14 consecutive conference road games.
Now a win over the Huskers would give KU three league victories in a row for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
Kansas will celebrate 40 years of women’s athletics tonight. Also, fans will be admitted for $3 if they bring a nonperishable food item to help support a handful of area relief agencies.
Senior Night will be Wednesday against Baylor. Then the Jayhawks will close the regular season next Saturday at Iowa State.