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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Henrickson, Jayhawks still alive and hoping to thrive

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Kansas University's men's basketball season may be over, but the KU women still are alive. In fact, for the first time in eight years, the KU women have outlasted the men in the postseason.

Coach Bonnie Henrickson's team will meet Mississippi today in the WNIT.

Tipoff will be 6:05 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. There is no television, but the Jayhawk Radio Network will broadcast.

With the men eliminated by Bradley on Friday night, Henrickson is hoping KU fans will jump on her team's bandwagon tonight.

"If everyone brings two of their closest friends," Henrickson said, "we should have it rocking in here."

A relatively small but vocal crowd of 1,203 watched the Jayhawks pin Northern Iowa, 59-49, on Thursday night in Allen Fieldhouse to set the stage for today's clash with Ole Miss.

Henrickson compares the Rebels (16-13) to the quick and athletic Texas A&M; team that toppled the Jayhawks, 78-64, in mid-January.

"They're similar to A&M;," Henrickson said, "but they run a defense we haven't seen all year. A&M; played man, but Ole Miss runs a match-up zone with traps."

Mississippi is led by All-SEC first-teamer Armintie Price, a 5-foot-9 junior who leads the Rebels in scoring (16.9) and rebounding (9.9).

Kansas counters with All-Big 12 first-teamer Crystal Kemp, a 6-2 senior who posted her 11th double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the Northern Iowa victory.

Notable, too, were the 13 points and five rebounds contributed by Marija Zinic, a 6-2 freshman who hasn't started a game all season. Zinic, who usually plays about as many minutes as starter Taylor McIntosh, will continue to come off the bench.

"We talked about starting Marija, but we'll keep Taylor in the mix," Henrickson said. "She'll start, but Marija will come in pretty quick."

The 5-10 McIntosh isn't the offensive threat Zinic is, but the sophomore from Wichita is the Jayhawks' best inside defender.

The last time the KU women were playing after the men were done was in 1998, when coach Marian Washington's club bowed to Arkansas in an NCAA Sweet 16 game in Oakland, Calif. That was five days after the KU men had been shocked by Rhode Island in an NCAA second-round contest in Oklahoma City.

Tonight's winner will meet Pittsburgh, a 64-57 winner over Delaware on Saturday, at a site and on a date to be determined.

¢ Notes: KU freshman reserve guard Sophronia Sallard remains sidelined "for medical reasons," Henrickson said. Sallard has played in only 15 games. : Ole Miss is hoping the third time is the charm. The Rebels are 0-2 in WNIT appearances. : The lone previous meeting between the two schools occurred in 1988 when the Rebels popped KU, 61-40, in the championship game of the Aruba Shootout. : Ole Miss head coach Carol Ross was at Florida when the Gators defeated KU, 58-56, in 1994. : UM associate head coach Peggie Gillom-Granderson was head coach at Texas A&M; from 1998-2003.

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