Fate has dealt Kansas University’s women’s basketball players a bad hand.
First the Jayhawks lost starting point guard Angel Goodrich to an anterior cruciate ligament injury in January. And now leading scorer Danielle McCray has been hit with a similar affliction.
“We’re heartbroken,” KU freshman Monica Engelman said, “but we’ve got to keep moving.”
Engelman will replace McCray, who tore the ACL in her left leg during Thursday’s practice session, when the Jayhawks tangle with Kansas State Sunday.
Tipoff will be at 1 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. It’s the annual Pink Zone game, with Metro Sports (Sunflower Broadband channel 37) carrying a live telecast.
No one expects Engelman to reproduce McCray’s all-around game, particularly her 19.8 scoring average. Others will have to step up, notably senior Sade Morris, who began taking more shots when Goodrich went down in January and will probably shoot even more now.
“I HAVE to score,” Morris said, “no ifs, ands or buts.”
Without Goodrich and McCray, the Jayhawks’ chances of earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament — the avowed preseason goal — have dwindled, even though KU is currently No. 25 in the RPI rankings issued by the NCAA.
The problem is the remaining schedule. The Jayhawks have nine games left, and six are against ranked teams, including two contests against unbeaten Nebraska.
Meanwhile, the three unranked teams — Kansas State, Colorado and Texas Tech — won’t be easy because K-State seems to have a whammy on the Jayhawks, and KU has to play Colorado and Texas Tech on the road.
K-State has captured 17 of the last 18 meetings with KU. The Jayhawks’ lone victory was an 82-74 overtime decision three years ago in Allen Fieldhouse. The last meeting in early January in Manhattan was ugly. KSU won, 59-35 …and KU had both Goodrich and McCray in that one.
“That’s in the past,” Morris said. “We didn’t show up over there. We’ll be more prepared and ready this time.”
Kansas Athletics Inc. will donate $1 to Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the KU Cancer Center for each attendee. Henrickson will donate $1 for every KU student on hand, and concessionaire Centerplate will donate $1 for every jumbo popcorn sold.
Sunday’s game begins a stretch of three straight in Allen Fieldhouse, but the Jayhawks will have to play four of their last six on the road.
K-State is coming off a 65-47 loss to Baylor on Wednesday night in Manhattan. KU hasn’t played since edging Missouri, 61-59, eight days ago in Columbia, Mo.
McCray tentatively has been scheduled to undergo surgery on Feb. 18.