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KU women counting on Monica Engelman for strong finish

KU guard Monica Engelman, right, puts pressure on Kansas State's Brittany Chambers on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in Manhattan.

KU guard Monica Engelman, right, puts pressure on Kansas State's Brittany Chambers on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in Manhattan.

February 17, 2013

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Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson believes guard Monica Engelman’s career-best 26-point effort against TCU on Wednesday could be exactly what the senior needs to finish the season strong.

“I would think so. That’s as big of a game as she’s had in a long time,” Henrickson said. “Certainly none of us are surprised, because we certainly think that’s what she’s capable of being.”

Engelman will have the chance to show she has become a consistent scoring threat for KU at 1:30 p.m. today, when the Jayhawks play host to No. 22 Oklahoma.

The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Engelman, who averages 7.8 points per game, scored 18 of her 26 points against TCU in the second half while making nine of 16 shots overall.

Before Wednesday’s outburst, the senior had scored in double figures just once in her previous five games.

“I’ve been shooting the ball well from the two, so (Henrickson) was just asking me to be a little bit more aggressive,” Engelman said. “In the TCU game, everything was kind of falling into place a little bit.”

Engelman’s effort came at a perfect time for KU, which overcame a 23-point second-half deficit to take a 76-75 road victory over TCU.

Henrickson was especially pleased with Engelman working to get her own shot against the Horned Frogs’ 2-3 zone. A few times, she gave a shot-fake to get a defender in the air, then took a dribble or two before swishing a pull-up jumper.

“She’s worked hard, and she has practiced really well,” Henrickson said. “She just has to take care of the ball.”

Engelman’s offense is especially crucial following the loss of starting point guard Natalie Knight to a torn anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 30.

After shooting over 37 percent from three-point range in her first two seasons, Engelman is still trying to get her outside touch back. Though she made two of six threes against TCU, the senior is just 6-for-34 from three-point range this year (17.6 percent).

Henrickson has seen Engelman shoot it better than that in practice, making her believe that an uptick is possible.

KU will face a challenge in Oklahoma (18-6 overall, 8-4 Big 12), which has won seven straight games at Allen Fieldhouse.

Five-foot-7 junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg leads the Sooners in scoring, averaging 18.4 points while shooting 44 percent from three-point range (81 of 185).

The Jayhawks (15-8, 6-6) are 11-3 at home this season but only 3-3 in league play.

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