Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jayhawks, Raiders playing for postseason


— Texas Tech is clinging to hopes of an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Kansas University would love to play in the postseason, too.

Both the Red Raiders and Jayhawks thus have plenty of incentive going into tonight's Big 12 Conference women's basketball clash.

Tipoff will be at 7:05 p.m. in Tech's United Spirit Arena. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network, including KLWN-AM (1320). There is no television.

Tradition-rich Texas Tech is sitting with an unaccustomed 12-12 record and probably needs to win its last three league games to be considered for the NCAA tourney.

"We've got to win some games, that's for sure," Tech coach Marsha Sharp said.

Kansas is 15-9 overall and is assured of having a winning season - its first in six years - but the Jayhawks have to be thinking WNIT because their RPI has been downgraded by a weak nonconference schedule and a 4-9 conference record. Texas Tech is 7-6 in league games.

The Jayhawks and the Red Raiders have had a similar difficulty - winning on the road. Tech is 1-9 outside of Lubbock, with its lone road victory coming against Big 12 doormat Oklahoma State. KU is 1-6 away from home after posting its first road victory Saturday - a 57-56 squeaker over Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.

Reserves Sharita Smith and Marija Zinic were standouts off the bench in the victory over the Cyclones and probably will see plenty of duty again tonight.

Smith, a 5-8 junior guard, scored only two points, but she had seven rebounds and hounded ISU standout Lyndsey Medders into 2-for-12 shooting. Zinic, a 6-1 freshman, scored a career-high 14 points inside when the Cyclones double-teamed Crystal Kemp.

Although weak on the road, the Red Raiders have been tough at home, winning 10 of 12 games, and Kansas hasn't won in Lubbock since 1978, or before Tech became a member of the Big 12. Tech has won the last six games in the series, including a 66-53 triumph in Allen Fieldhouse last season.

After tonight, the Jayhawks won't have to travel again until they go to the Big 12 Tournament in Dallas. KU will play host to Missouri at 11 a.m. Saturday, then entertain Kansas State on March 2 in the regular-season finale.


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