On the plus side is a positive RPI. A negative, however, is the brutal remaining schedule.
Kansas University’s women’s basketball team still has a shot at an NCAA Tournament berth, but coach Bonnie Henrickson isn’t counting her chickens.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” Henrickson said, “but it’s a tremendous opportunity as well.”
The challenge lies in the four remaining Big 12 Conference games. They’re all against ranked teams, starting with No. 15 Iowa State today.
Tipoff for the Dollar Day game will be at 6 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. Fox Sports Kansas City (Sunflower Broadband channels 36, 236) will carry a live telecast.
Despite losing two starters to knee injuries — point guard Angel Goodrich in early January and All-America candidate Danielle McCray earlier this month — the Jayhawks have been hanging around the NCAA cutoff line.
KU’s record is a so-so 15-10, but the Jayhawks’ strength of schedule is in the top 20 nationally, and they are No. 33 in one RPI listing.
Obviously, the powerful Big 12 — the country’s highest-rated league — has had a lot to do with KU’s high RPI, but it’s also noteworthy that KU has played only two teams all season (Northern Colorado and Cal-Riverside) with losing records at this point.
One thing is certain: A bunch of Big 12 teams will receive NCAA invitations. How many is the question. Some estimates put the total at nine, which would seem to work in KU’s favor … if the Jayhawks’ don’t swoon during their four-game gantlet.
“But the most important thing,” Henrickson said, “is to go one game at a time.”
Iowa State (20-5) has overachieved this season, thanks mainly to point guard Alison Lacey, who has probably locked a first-team all-conference berth by averaging 17.3 points, 6.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds.
Kansas will travel to No. 17 Baylor on Sunday and to No. 3 Nebraska on Wednesday before closing the regular season at home on March 6 against No. 12 Texas A&M.;
• Tonight’s game is another Dollar Day with tickets and most concessions costing just $1.
• KU freshman Carolyn Davis has reached double figures in eight of her last 10 games and is averaging a team-best 12.9 points and 7.7 rebounds in league play.
• KU freshman guard Monica Engelman is averaging 17.0 points, 4.0 assists and 2.6 rebounds since replacing McCray five games ago.
• KU has won three of the last four meetings with ISU in Allen Fieldhouse, including a 58-47 victory last year.