Wednesday, January 21, 2004

KU women hope to regroup at Baylor

Jayhawks encouraged by second half of lopsided loss to Kansas State


Despite its worst loss of the season last Saturday, a 79-50 setback to in-state rival Kansas State, Kansas University's women's basketball players said they saw some things worth remembering.

"We just have to take this game as a positive," said junior guard Aquanita Burras, who led the Jayhawks with 17 points. "Like coach said, the last eight minutes were good."

Problem was, for Kansas the first 20 minutes weren't so great. Then 10th-ranked Kansas State dominated and built an insurmountable 52-26 halftime lead.

"I thought our second half was encouraging," KU coach Marian Washington said. "Now we go home and get ready for Baylor."

Tonight in Waco, Texas, the 19th-ranked Bears won't present an easier foe.

Baylor is 14-3 overall, and while the Bears sport just a 2-2 record in the Big 12 Conference, Baylor lost by just a point -- 64-63 -- Saturday at then second-ranked Texas Tech.

The Bears also knocked off No. 3 Texas, 78-64, last week in Waco.

Baylor is led by sophomore forward Sophia Young, who is averaging 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. Two other Bears are scoring in double figures.

Junior forward Steffanie Blackmon averages 13.8 points, and 6.6 rebounds, while freshman Emily Niemann comes off the bench to score 10.1 ppg.

Much like Kansas did Saturday, Baylor struggled from the field against Tech, shooting just 36.4 percent. However, the Bears held the Red Raiders to an even lower field-goal percentage: 26.2 percent. For the season, Baylor has limited opponents to 32.4-percent shooting.

While the Jayhawks (8-7, 1-3) are 3-3 against Baylor all-time, KU lost its last two games to the Bears by an average of 17.5 points.

KU should get a boost tonight from the return of starters Tamara Ransburg and Larisha Graves and reserve Kandis Bonner. The three were forced to sit out Saturday's game against the Wildcats because they were serving a Big 12-mandated one-game suspension for their involvement in a fight following KU's 55-52 win Jan. 10 in Missouri.

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