Saturday, December 14, 2002

Women’s Basketball: KU trying to rebound

Jayhawks set to square off against Creighton today


Allen Fieldhouse should look good to Kansas University's "new-look" women's basketball team today.

The freshman- and sophomore-laden Jayhawks, coming off their most embarrassing loss of the season, will try to bounce back against Creighton.


Tipoff will be at 2:05 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.

KU went to Wichita State last Wednesday night and absorbed an 84-58 shellacking. Still, Kansas is off to a 4-2 start and a victory over the Bluejays today would equal the Jayhawks' win total for all of the 2001-2002 season.

Coach Marian Washington has been starting a lineup of two freshmen (Tamara Ransburg and Crystal Kemp), two sophomores (Aquanita Burras and Blair Waltz) and junior point guard Leila Mengüç. Freshman guard Erica Hallman has been the first player off the bench. In fact, Hallman played 30 minutes in a reserve role in Wichita and scored 13 points.

Burras, a sophomore who spent last season at an Arizona junior college, has been a solid addition. The 5-foot-9 guard leads the Jayhawks in scoring (13.5) and in steals (19). She also has been KU's most dependable three-point shooter, making seven of 17 (41.5 percent). As a team, the Jayhawks are shooting under 30 percent from beyond the arc.

The 6-2 Kemp is the only other KU player in double-figure scoring with an 11.2 average. Waltz and the 6-4 Ransburg, who has an impressive 24 blocked shots, both are averaging nine points per game.

Creighton (3-2) operates with a less balanced attack, relying heavily on 5-10 junior Christy Neneman, the reigning Missouri Valley Conference player of the year. Neneman, a hometown product from Omaha, Neb., North High, is averaging 17.8 points and 8.2 rebounds a game.

Neneman had 32 points last Sunday when the Jays stunned Iowa, 89-82. Creighton's only two losses were on the road to Michigan (75-66) and to No. 10-ranked Texas Tech (98-70).

First-year coach Jim Flanery is hoping to have junior Dayna Finch back today. Finch, who scored a career-high 27 points in the Michigan loss, has missed the last three games with a fracture in one of the fingers of her right hand. The cast was removed on Thursday.

Creighton has won three straight from Kansas, including a 72-58 decision last year in Omaha. Neneman scored 18 points in that one. KU and Creighton have met every season since 1984-85. Kansas leads the series, 14-10.


Notes: KU's Alicia Rhymes, a 6-0 freshman, has a knee injury and is being red-shirted. : Hallman is playing with a partially torn ACL suffered in preseason. : Stacey Becker, a transfer from Wichita State, will become eligible the next time the Jayhawks play :quot; a week from today at UMKC.

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