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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

KU women preparing for ‘track meet’

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As Kansas University’s women’s basketball team prepared for its game tonight against Texas Southern, the Jayhawks did so with another sport in mind.

“Texas Southern is going to feel like a track meet,” Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “… like a 100-yard dash and not a 2-mile. That’s a team that can get out and go from baseline to baseline.”

The Jayhawks had no problems keeping pace the Tigers in their 2013 matchup. Kansas defeated Texas Southern 105-78, its highest point total of the season.

Henrickson is hoping for a repeat performance from the Jayhawks as they take on the Tigers at 7 tonight in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks shot just 33 percent from the field in their season opener against South Dakota on Sunday, a mark which Henrickson said has to improve.

“If you look at our shots, we just have got to be shot-ready, and we were not (on Sunday),” Henrickson said. “If you look at our footwork, we’re just a second off. We were late to go get the ball. The shot starts with your footwork.”

While the Jayhawks struggled from the field Sunday, freshman point guard Lauren Aldridge saw some positives on the offensive end. Aldridge scored all 11 of her points from the free-throw line to help the Jayhawks shoot 28-for-36 as a team.

“They call it a free throw because you literally get a free shot at the basket unguarded, so I think that should be a motivator for everybody to attack the rim and want to get to the line because it’s a free shot,” Aldridge said. “It should be two points. Hopefully we can get to the line a lot more because I think that is an easy way to get points.”

Aldridge indicated that getting to the charity stripe often will be something the Jayhawks will try to build on, as well as feeding Chelsea Gardner in the post. Gardner recorded a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds and also surpassed the 1,000-career-points mark against South Dakota. The Tigers double-teamed Gardner in last year’s matchup, but the senior forward still powered her way to score a team-high 30 points.

TSU will likely be without its leading scorer from last season in Jazzmin Parker. According to Kris Gardner of the Houston Roundball Review Women’s Hoops Blog, the 2013-2014 Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year tore her anterior cruciate ligament this summer. She missed the

Tigers’ season opener against Oklahoma State on Sunday.

Parker scored 34 points on 13-of-24 shooting in last year’s matchup with the Jayhawks.

Although Henrickson did not know anything about Parker’s status prior to the Jayhawks’ practice on Monday, she said the Tigers would still have a strong perimeter presence with Brianna Sidney leading the charge.

“All of those guys have the ability to get to the rim. They get out in transition. They score in transition, put it on the floor and drive it and get to the free-throw line,” Henrickson said.

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