Hovering around the .500 mark most of the season, Kansas University’s women’s basketball team really needed the boost of another Top-25 victory this week.
After the Jayhawks lost by two points at No. 12 Oklahoma State Wednesday night, they knew exactly how much the opposite outcome would have meant. A victory would have given the Jayhawks a winning record, added to their résumé, which includes a victory over Baylor, and helped them gain much needed ground in the Big 12 standings, where they currently reside in eighth place.
“It was just disappointing,” Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “But we’ve got to hold on from a confidence standpoint and use the things we did well.”
Just two games better than KU in the Big 12 loss column, fifth-place Oklahoma (14-9 overall, 5-5 Big 12) visits Allen Fieldhouse at 2 p.m. today to take on the Jayhawks (11-12, 4-7).
KU’s top concern might be guarding Aaryn Ellenberg (18.4 points a game), whom Henrickson called “one of the best guards in America.” But the coach said the Jayhawks also need to remember the things they are doing well right now. She said they have played more assertively, attacked in transition, and teammates have held their own when leading scorer Chelsea Gardner (17.3 points) gets in foul trouble.
The 10th-year KU coach appreciates the way the players have paid attention to opponents’ scouting reports of late. That has helped defensively.
“You’re trying to make people a little more uncomfortable: ‘This is what you like to have, and we’re not gonna let you have that,’” Henrickson explained.
The Jayhawks have lost seven of their last 11 games, and point guard Natalie Knight said they know they can’t dwell on the disappointing outcomes.
“We’ve had some tough ones this year, so I think we’re pretty much ready for anything at this point,” Knight said. “Really, you’ve just got to be able to move on. We know the next few games coming up are really important. We’ve just got to be ready for those.”
The junior point guard said Kansas could do itself a favor by focusing on the positive.
“At this point in the season, I think (the issue) is really just consistency, and we’ve struggled with that a little,” she said. “We need to be able to carry over the good things we did in the last game to this game and fix the mistakes that we did make.”
The Jayhawks have won two of the last four games against the Sooners and are 15-13 against OU when playing inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Today’s game serves as the annual Jayhawks for a Cure game. Anyone who wears pink to the contest will get $3 admission, and a live auction will follow the game, with all proceeds benefiting Lawrence Memorial Hospital.