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Wednesday, February 1, 2006

KU hoping to rebound against Buffs

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Midseason meltdowns do happen, for better or for worse.

So the question is: How will Kansas University's women's basketball team respond to Saturday's 50-point walloping in Waco, Texas?

KU coach Bonnie Henrickson fully expects her team to bounce back tonight against Colorado.

"I think we'll come out and fight and compete," Henrickson said. "The kids were disappointed, but not devastated."

Tipoff will be at 7:05 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be carried live on the Jayhawk Radio Network, including 1320 KLWN.

Saturday's 90-40 loss at Baylor may have been a wake-up call because Sunday was supposed to have been a day off for the Jayhawks, yet many of them practiced on their own.

"When we got back, they were asking if the gym was open and if they could get in," Henrickson said. "They know they can't hang their heads and pout. They have to work to get better."

When full-scale drills resumed Monday, Henrickson says she noticed a reaffirmation of intent.

"I really liked our energy in practice," the KU coach said.

Since opening the season with 12 straight victories, the Jayhawks have lost five of their last six, including a 74-65 decision to Colorado three weeks ago in Boulder.

"They played really well," Henrickson said, "and we didn't. We didn't match their intensity."

With Crystal Kemp, the Jayhawks' leading scorer and rebounder in early foul trouble in that Jan. 10 contest, KU fell behind early and couldn't catch up despite Kaylee Brown and Erica Hallman drilling five three-point goals apiece.

Jackie McFarland, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Derby, paced CU with 18 points and 15 rebounds. McFarland is among the Big 12 Conference scoring leaders at 17.4 points per game as is Jasmina Ilic, a 6-1 junior who is averaging 16.3 points.

And yet in spite of the impressive 1-2 punch of McFarland and Ilic, the Buffaloes have been stumbling. In fact, their only win in their last nine outings was that victory over the Jayhawks.

CU is 1-7 in league games and 6-14 overall. Moreover, Colorado has dropped a school-record 12 straight road games.

Henrickson said she won't decide until today, but she is expected to put Ivana Catic back into the starting lineup. Catic, a 5-8 freshman, had started the first 17 games, but was replaced by Shaquina Mosley at Baylor.

Catic was benched, the KU coach said, because of a poor defensive performance Wednesday in a 69-63 loss at Kansas State.

"Ivana handled it well, as you would expect her to do," Henrickson said of the benching.

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