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Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Kansas State defeats Kansas, 72-52

Kansas' losing streak to K-State reaches 11

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— The game might have been played in Dallas, but Tuesday's version of the Sunflower Showdown looked an awful lot like the one played in Lawrence on KU's Senior Night March 2.

Once again Kansas State got the best of Kansas defeating the Jayhawks 72-52 in a Big 12 first round tournament game from Reunion Arena. The Wildcats swept Kansas in three contests this season and have now beaten the Jayhawks 11 straight times.

"I'm certainly disappointed with our performance tonight," said KU coach Bonnie Henrickson, whose squad fell to 16-12 on the season and dropped to 5-12 in Big 12 action. "It wasn't much different from the game at our place."

Indeed Tuesday's game seemed very similiar to K-State's 62-44 win in the Fieldhouse, as K-State jumped out to an early lead, allowed Kansas to comeback, then soundly put the Jayhawks away in the last half of the game.

"I thought it was a really well-executed basketball game by our team defensively," said KSU coach Deb Patterson, whose squad improved to 19-9 and 9-8. "I really appreciate the intensity that we brought to the floor, real high level of accountability on the strengths that KU brings to the basketball floor and I thought that gave us a chance to be competitive.

"And all of that was just I think real big to us getting off to a good aggressive start in the the basketball game, which we knew would be critical because of the emotion that Kansas would be playing with, with (Erica) Hallman and (Crystal) Kemp obviously as seniors in their last Big 12 tournament, and just the fact that this is a great rivalry game."

Whether or not Hallman, Kemp and fellow senior Kaylee Brown played thier last game in a Jayhawk jersey is unknown. Kansas will have to wait until Monday March 13 to see if it made the women's NIT.

"For us, it's an opportunity to play in the postseason and we just hope the committee gives us the nod and we would be thrilled with the opportunity quite honestly," Henrickson said.

Kansas, which shot just 33-percent, was led by Marija Zinic's 14 points, while seniors Crystal Kemp and Erica Hallman scored 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Meanwhile Kansas State had four players score in double figures led by Shalee Lehning's game-high 20 points. Claire Coggins added 13, while JoAnn Hamlin tallied 12 and Kimberly Dietz scored 11.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 12-0 lead with the help of a pair of three-pointers, while Kansas went cold from the floor at the start.

But the Jayhawks got back in the game when K-State went nearly six minutes without a score.

Kansas took a 24-22 lead on a pair of free throws by Marija Zinic with 5:05 left in the half.

But the Wildcats, which hit 5-of-6 three-pointer in the opening 20 minutes, again responded and closed the half with a 15-3 run.

Kansas closed its gap to eight, 48-40, on a jumper by Erica Hallman with 13:12 left.

But the Wildcats didn't even blink, going on an 18-2 run to ensure the victory.

"It kind of felt a little reminiscent at first," said Kemp, comparing the latest loss to the one last week. "I think if we would have continued to fight and try to slow up some of their options and play strong defense and get what we wanted to on offense we could have made it a better game. It's just unfortunate that we came out and play the way we did."

Second Half Action

The Jayhawks misfired on two three-pointers to start the second half and K-State's Shalee Lehning responded with a basket in the lane and was fouled. Her free throws gave KSU a 40-27 advantage.

A basket by Crystal Kemp and three-pointer from Shaquina Mosley cut K-State's lead to 42-34.

A drive by Lehning pushed the Wildcats lead back to 10 with under 16 minutes to go.

Kemp hit a turnaround hook as the shot clock wound down, but K-State followed with a bucket down low.

Kemp hit another baseline jumper to cut KU's lead to 46-38 with 14 minutes to go, but again Kanas State answered.

Hallman scored hit a short shot on a jump stop in the lane, but again K-State responded when Lehning, who has a game-high 19 points, hit a jumper.

Lehning hit a free throw to put K-State up 53-40 with a little under 11 minutes to go.

Twiggy McIntyre lay-in on a fast break feed from Coggins gave KSU a 56-40 lead.

Marlies Gipson hit four straight free throws to put K-State up 60-42 with just under seven minutes left.

Coggins scored on a drive and was fouled hard by Hallman. The KSU junior hit the free throw to give the Wildcats their biggest lead at 63-42.

Dietz added a three with 5:14 on the clock for K-State's 66-42 lead.

Kemp scored easily down low on a nice pass by Mosley. The Jayhawk juco transfer then scored on a fast break.

K-State's Dietz hit a pair of free throws with 1:36 left when Hallman was whistled for an intentional foul for bringing her down from behind.

Zinic hit two pair of free throws for the Jayhawks with under a minute left to cut K-State's advantage to 20.

Halftime

The way things started for Kansas Tuesday night in its third meeting with in-state rival Kansas State at the Big 12 Tournament in Reunion Arena, it looked as if the Jayahwks might just get blown out of its first round game against K-State.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 12-0 lead with the help of a pair of three-pointers, while Kansas went cold from the floor.

But the Jayhawks got back in the game when K-State went nearly six minutes without a score.

Kansas took a 24-22 lead on a pair of free throws by Marija Zinic with 5:05 left in the half.

But the Wildcats again responded closing with a 15-3 run.

KU, which shot just 29-percent in the first half, was led by Erica Hallman's eight points. The Jayhawks did outrebound K-State 17-13.

The Wildcats, which have hit 5-of-6 three-pointers, has three players in double figures at the break with both Shalee Lehning and JoAnn Hamlin scoing 12 points, while Claire Coggins has 10.

First Half Action

Kansas State won the tip and guard Shalee Lehning started the scoring with a three-pointer for the Wildcats.

Kansas turned the ball over on its first possession.

Lehning missed a drive, but so too did Crystal Kemp.

KSU took a 5-0 lead on a turnaround by JoAnn Hamlin.

Kemp had a shot block and Hamlin scored an open layup for the 7-0 K-State advantage.

Claire Coggins scored on a drive that forced KU coach Bonnie Henrickson to call a timeout with 17:02 left and KU down 9-0. The Jayhawks have misfired on their first four shots.

Coggins connected on a three from the left side that put K-State ahead 12-0.

With 16:04 on the clock, Kaylee Brown scored Kansas' first points on a jumper off the dribble.

Marija Zinic hit two free throws and Crystal Kemp hit a charity to cut KSU's lead to 12-5.

Zinic scored in the lane for KU which caused KSU coach Deb Patterson to call a 30-second timeout with 13:05 to go in the half and her Wildcats up 12-7.

Kansas State has missed a couple of open lay-ins down low, and had two traveling calls within the last few moments.

Ivana Catic cut K-State's lead to four with under 12 minutes to play when she hit 1-of-2 free throws. KU came up with a steal on KSU's ensuing possession, but Hallman couldn't hit a baseline jumper.

The Wildcats committed their second turnover in as many trips and Kemp was fouled in the lane on the other end. The Jayhawk senior hit both charities to pull Kansas within two, 12-10.

Coggins broke K-State's scoring drought with another three. Lehning came down on the next trip for K-State and hit a triple from the right side to put KSU back up 18-10.

Zinic hit another pair of free throws and Catic fired in a jumper to help the Jayhawks keep pace.

Marlies Gipson hit a free throw and Lehning hit one to put K-State up 20-14 with under nine minutes to play.

Catic dropped in a three from the left side to cut KU's deficit to 20-17. After a K-State turnover Hallman got an offensive rebound, scored and was fouled with 6:55 to go in the half. Hallman tied the game on the free throw.

But Hamlin answered for K-State with a shot in the lane.

Kansas, which is shooting just 25-percent (5-of-20), tied things back up on a drive by Hallman.

With 5:05 left in the half Kansas took its first lead on a pair of free throws by Zinic, but Hamlin again tied things for K-State with a putback.

Hamlin then put K-State back in front, 26-24, on a lay-in off a nice feed from Gipson.

Kansas committed back-to-back turnovers going into a timeout with 3:32 left.

Lehning then hit a three from the left side. Hallman answered with a trey of her own.

But Coggins and Hamlin scored on consecutive drives to put K-State up 33-27.

Another jumper by Lehning with just over a minute left gave K-State an eight-point lead as the Wildcats are on a 13-3 run after losing the lead for the first time.

Dietz hit a pair of free throws for the double digit lead just before the half ended as K-State leads 37-27.

Kansas started forwards Crystal Kemp and Taylor McIntosh and guards Sharita Smith, Kaylee Brown and Erica Hallman.

Kansas State countered with Marlies Gipson, JoAnn Hamlin, Claire Coggins, Kimberly Dietz and Shalee Lehning.

Pregame

If the third time really is the charm, then Kansas University's women's team should be in good shape tonight when it faces in-state rival Kansas State for the third time this season in a Big 12 Tournament first round game at 6 p.m. tonight in Reunion Arena.

The Jayhawks (16-11 overall, 5-11 Big 12) no doubt have to feel they are due for a win over the Wildcats (18-9, 8-8 Big 12) as Kansas hasn't beaten Kansas State in five years.

"I don't know how many times you get a mulligan," joked KU coach Bonnie Henrickson. "But we get to get back on the tee and hit it again."

KU enters the tournament seeded 10th for the first time in school history, while KSU will play from the seven spot. KSU's seven seed marks the first time since 2001 the Wildcats have not received a first round bye.

The two have not met in postseason since 1998 -- the second year of the tournament -- when third seed KU topped 11 seed KSU by a score of 50-46 in the second round. The two also met in the semifinals of the inaugural tournament when No. 5 K-State defeated No. 1 Kansas 73-58.

The game marks a third opportunity this season for Kansas' seniors to end a losing streak against K-State that has stretched to a total of 10 games after the Wildcats spoiled the Jayhawks' senior night 62-44 on Thursday in Allen Fieldhouse.

All-Big 12 First Team selection Crystal Kemp has been a force in the league this year and leads KU with 19.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. The Topeka, Kan., senior has a chance to reach two statistical milestones against KSU as she enters the game with 1,592 career points and 798 career rebounds. She needs just eight points and two boards to become the sixth player in KU history to accumulate at least 1,600 career points and 800 career boards.

Senior Erica Hallman, an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention pick, has also saved her best for her final season as she checks in with career-bests of 14.4 points and 4.5 rebounds to go with 4.5 assists per game. Senior Kaylee Brown is third on the squad with 11.6 points per game.

Kansas State enters the game looking to build a case for NCAA Tournament consideration. Prior to the Wildcats' win over KU on Thursday, K-State suffered through a four-game losing streak but came away feeling good after solid outings against the Big 12's top two teams in Oklahoma and Baylor.

Two juniors lead the K-State attack in Claire Coggins and Twiggy McIntyre. Coggins, who scored a team-high 15 against KU, averages 12.6 points per game for the season while McIntyre checks in at 10.8.

In the history of the series, the two teams have met three or more times in a season 12 times. In those 12 seasons, only four times has a team swept. KSU swept three meetings in 1975 and 1977, while KU won three contests in both 1981 and 1996. The two teams have not met three times in one year since 1998.

But Henrickson said a win tonight would mean more than just knocking off K-State, it would mean the Jayhawks get another chance to prove their postseason worth against No. 2 seed Baylor on Wednesday.

"It has implications as far as enhancing our resume," Henrickson said of today's game. "To get the opportunity to win against a (K-State) team that's on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, it'd be nice to have."

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