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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

KU women look for strong end to games, season

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The last time the Kansas University women’s basketball team faced TCU, the Jayhawks let the game slip away, 52-50, despite holding an 11-point lead with 5:23 to play.

As KU coach Bonnie Henrickson and her players prepare for tonight’s 7 p.m. rematch with the Horned Frogs at Allen Fieldhouse, their minds are fixed on holding their focus to the end.

“How we got up 11 was we made a run in transition and then they turned around and did it to us,” Henrickson said of TCU’s victory on Jan. 8 in Fort Worth, Texas. “We were so passive on the offensive end and then we really didn’t get back in transition. From a mentality standpoint, that’s what went down, and we all remember that, how passive we were and how aggressive they were.”

Freshman forward Jada Brown said the Jayhawks (11-13 overall, 4-8 Big 12) all feel a sense of urgency to bring their A-games to the court every night to give Kansas a chance to finish its season strong.

“I think we need to have the mindset to extend that 11-point lead,” Brown said. “I think that’s where we get comfortable sometimes and lose focus, when we get ahead by a lot, so it’s just having the mentality to step on their throats instead of when we get up by 11 we get comfortable.”

Henrickson, who has preached consistency all season, said it’s time for the Jayhawks to step up. Just six games remain in the regular season before the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City.

“We all have to say, ‘OK, but I have to do more. It’s not enough,’” Henrickson said. “Because we haven’t won.”

While the focus this week has been on the rematch with TCU (14-9, 5-6), Henrickson said her team has talked big picture as it gears up for one last run at building a postseason resume.

“It’s a fine line,” Henrickson said. “I said, ‘We’re gonna have this conversation, but as soon as we’re done we gotta zoom focus again and go with the process of how do you beat TCU. Because if we get caught up in, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s six games left,’ and all those things. ... we need to be mature enough to have that conversation.”

TCU has won two games in a row and is averaging 64.5 points per game and shooting 39.4 percent from the field. Freshman Zahna Medley leads the Horned Frogs with 16 points and 3.8 assists per game, while junior Latricia Lovings has recorded a team-best 8.0 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game.

Kansas owns a 3-2 lead in the all-time series between the two schools, which dates back to 2009. KU swept three meetings with TCU in 2013. Asked if getting revenge for January’s loss was on their minds, the Jayhawks said payback played a big part in this week’s preparation.

“Of course,” Brown said. “Nobody wants to get (swept). So we definitely have to win this next game and we’re definitely going into it with a mindset like that.”

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