With just one starter standing taller than 6 feet, the Texas Tech women’s basketball team often employs a small lineup and tries to attack its opponents by spreading the floor and using quickness and mismatches on the perimeter.
That figures to be a challenge for the post-oriented Kansas University women’s basketball team at 7 tonight in Lubbock, Texas, where the 23rd-ranked Jayhawks (11-4 overall, 2-2 Big 12) will take on the Red Raiders (13-4, 3-2) in Kansas’ third road contest in the past four games.
Despite facing a guard-oriented team, KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said she liked the make-up of her roster for situations like this.
During last week’s home loss to top-ranked Baylor, Henrickson gave sophomore forward Chelsea Gardner her first start of the season in an attempt to match Baylor’s size. The 6-foot-3 Gardner is expected to start again tonight, but if her pairing with senior forward Carolyn Davis does not go well, the KU coach said she had other options.
“We’ve got good pieces,” Henrickson said. “We can play Chelsea and Carolyn together, or we can put Asia (Boyd) at the four and play four guards. That versatility is just so valuable in this league because it just changes so much from one night to the next.”
Boyd, a sophomore from Detroit, has played in all 15 KU games this season but averages just 9.5 minutes per outing. With the absence of junior forward Tania Jackson, who left the team last week, there appears to be more playing time available for Boyd, Gardner and sophomore forward Bunny Williams.
“The door of opportunity has opened for those three,” Henrickson said. “And they understand that and have taken it to heart.”
KU enters tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak and is looking to hang on to its national ranking while getting back on track. Although the Jayhawks are 1-1 in conference road games, Henrickson said her team struggled early in a victory at West Virginia and a loss at Oklahoma State and added that the first few minutes will be a big emphasis for the Jayhawks tonight at United Spirit Arena.
“We need to get off to a better start, first and foremost,” Henrickson said. “We got off to horrendous starts at both West Virginia and Oklahoma State.”
Senior point guard Angel Goodrich, who has posted eight straight double-digit scoring games, will be leaned on in that department and also will be hunting down a milestone. Goodrich needs just 11 points to become the 26th 1,000-point scorer in Kansas history. Fellow senior Monica Engelman reached the milestone a couple of weeks ago, and Davis also is in the elite club.
Texas Tech leads the all-time series between these two, 14-5, but the Jayhawks topped the Red Raiders in the last two meetings, including a 69-64 road victory last February.