Saturday, March 1, 2014

Close calls haunt KU women


As the Kansas University women’s basketball season heads toward an end, and losses outnumber wins, the narrow defeats are the most difficult ones for coach Bonnie Henrickson to forget.

The Jayhawks (12-16 overall, 5-11 Big 12) have lost five of their last six games, and some of those losses would qualify as winnable games in Henrickon’s mind.

“It is frustrating,” the 10th-year KU coach said.

One of the most troubling losses for Kansas came at Iowa State two weeks ago. The Jayhawks took a one-point lead in the final minute after junior forward Chelsea Gardner hit a jumper, drew a foul and made her free throw. Following an ISU timeout, junior Cyclones guard Nikki Moody made a layup to re-gain the lead from Kansas, 70-69.

On the ensuing Kansas possession, the Jayhawks turned the ball over, forcing them to foul Hallie Christofferson, who put ISU up three with two free throws.

KU then failed to get a shot off in the final seconds and lost, 72-69.

“We’ve been on both ends — needed a score, needed a stop,” Henrickson said of the team’s résumé-crushing close losses this season.

The Jayhawks hope to fare much better down the stretch against ISU (19-8, 8-8) at 7 tonight at Allen Fieldhouse in their home finale.

Numerous issues have kept KU from adding to its win total of late. But Henrickson said giving up offensive rebounds, foul trouble for Gardner (who leads the team with averages of 16.7 points and 8.5 rebounds) and a failure to make game-winning plays on either end of the floor late in games have hurt the Jayhawks most.

“You plug one hole, and then you go and address another one, and that one opens up again,” the coach said. “Just from a consistency standpoint, we’ve done good things, but we haven’t done enough.”

Probable starters

KANSAS (12-16, 5-11)

G — Markisha Hawkins, 5-9, sr.

G — CeCe Harper, 5-8, sr.

G — Natalie Knight, 5-7, jr.

F — Jada Brown, 6-0, fr.

F — Chelsea Gardner, 6-3, jr.

IOWA STATE (19-8, 8-8)

G — Nikki Moody, 5-8, jr.

G — Jadda Buckley, 5-8, fr.

G — Seanna Johnson, 5-10, fr.

F — Brynn Williamson, 5-11, jr.

F — Hallie Christofferson, 6-3, sr.


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