Ames, Iowa Hilton Coliseum has a history of greeting visitors with closed arms.
“That’s definitely a hard place to play,” Kansas University’s Krysten Boogaard said about Iowa State’s raucous basketball facility. “But we’ve got to put our heads down and keep going.”
KU’s four-game women’s basketball win streak will be in jeopardy tonight when the Jayhawks wrap up the regular season against the Cyclones.
Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. The game will not be televised.
Iowa State leads the Big 12 Conference in women’s basketball attendance (9,701) and ISU officials are expecting around 12,000 fans for Senior Night.
Iowa State is on a win streak, too. The Cyclones have captured three straight and have climbed to No. 16 in the Associated Press poll. Notably, ISU’s sizz started after a 58-47 loss to the Jayhawks a couple of weeks ago in Lawrence.
On that night in Allen Fieldhouse — the start of KU’s four-game streak, incidentally — the Cyclones made only five of 30 shots in the second half and 15 of 55 for the game.
Meanwhile, KU’s Danielle McCray burned the Cyclones for 24 points while posting a career-high 16 rebounds. And she hasn’t cooled down.
McCray is coming off a career points high of 35 in Wednesday night’s stunning 68-45 victory over No. 5-ranked Baylor in the regular season home finale.
“I had the hot hand,” McCray said. “Everything was going in. I just knocked down open baskets.”
Yet McCray scored only six points when the Cyclones posted a 51-42 victory in the Jayhawks’ last visit to Hilton Coliseum on March 1, 2008. McCray wasn’t the only KU player who struggled that night, however. As a team, KU shot just 29.6 percent.
In addition to Senior Night, the Cyclones (22-7 overall) will have the incentive of trying to match the school’s regular-season record for wins. The 1997-98 ISU team also won 23 games.
With a 17-11 record, the Jayhawks seem certain to earn a postseason bid from the WNIT, but they haven’t given up on the NCAA.
“We’re still in the mix,” KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We’re in the driver’s seat as far as creating opportunities for ourselves.”
Even a victory over the Cyclones wouldn’t assure an NCAA selection, however. In fact, KU would probably still have to win next week’s Big 12 Tournament in order to reach the NCAAs.
That supposition is based on the fact six conference schools would still own better records than the Jayhawks, and it isn’t likely the NCAA would tap seven representatives from one conference.