Saturday, February 11, 2006

Kemp, KU to face upstart Mizzou


— Ah, for another Crystal Kemp.

Kemp has been, for the most part, the only consistent scorer for Kansas University's women's basketball team this season. Even during the Jayhawks' recent slide, the 6-foot-2 senior has been dependable.

In Wednesday's 86-57 loss at Oklahoma, for example, Kemp contributed 21 points, or 37 percent of the scoring. It was her 11th 20-point plus outing of the season.

"I thought she played strong on both ends of the floor," KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "She was smart. She got good looks. I thought, overall, it was a good performance. She held her own and competed."

Now, KU will need another strong showing from Kemp and more with another road test on tap today against Missouri.

Tipoff will be at 3:05 p.m. in the Mizzou Arena. The Jayhawk Radio Network broadcast will be delayed because of the KU-Iowa State men's game.

Henrickson decided Friday to make a change in Kemp's supporting cast. Jamie Boyd, a 6-0 sophomore, and Sophronia Sallard, a 5-11 freshman, will start in place of Taylor McIntosh and Ivana Catic, primarily to try to counter MU's height advantage.

"This is not a knee-jerk thing," Henrickson said. "We've just go to get better. Ivana and Taylor will be the first ones off the bench."

Kansas (14-7 overall, 3-7 Big 12 Conference) will be facing arguably the most surprising team in the league. The Tigers (16-6, 6-4) were predicted to finish 10th in the standings by league coaches but now are looking at a probable NCAA Tournament bid.

MU coach Cindy Stein is doing it with the same five starters she used on a team that wound up 11-18 overall and 4-12 in the league last year.

Still, the Tigers have dropped three of their last five games, including a 66-60 defeat Wednesday at Iowa State. Missouri skyrocketed to a 15-2 lead against the Cyclones but withered in the second half, and Stein wasn't happy.

"There are some things we've got to change," Stein said.

Even though the Jayhawks have dropped seven of their last nine outings, they still have a shot at a WNIT berth, thanks primarily to their 12-0 start.


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