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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

KU women at a glance: Kansas-Oklahoma State

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When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Who: No. 17 Oklahoma State

Series: OSU leads 32-31, 13-13 in Stillwater

Three cracks left: With just three games remaining in the regular season, the KU women are running out of time to crack the win column. KU plays tonight at Oklahoma State, Saturday at home against Texas Tech and Monday at TCU and needs a win in one of those three games to avoid becoming the first KU team to go winless in conference play since Marian Washington’s 2001-02 squad finished 0-16 in Big 12 play and 5-25 overall. KU already is guaranteed to finish Big 12 play with a losing record, marking the 16th consecutive season that the KU women’s basketball program has been below .500 in league play. Eleven of those 16 losing seasons belonged to Bonnie Henrickson, and the first four in the streak belonged to Washington. KU last finished above .500 in conference play during the 1999-2000 season.

She’s back: Sophomore point guard Lauren Aldridge, who started all 32 games as a true freshman last season, and nearly played every minute, has struggled on the offensive end for much of the 2015-16 season. Although she already has surpassed her point total from her freshman season (270-259) Aldridge is shooting just 36 percent from the floor while her assists (5-2.3) are down and turnovers are up. That changed last weekend, however, when Aldridge shot 8-of-12 from the floor for a game-high 20 points in the near-win over the Sooners. The 20 points marked a season high and Aldridge’s 67 percent shooting marked the third time in the past four games that she shot 50 percent or better from the floor.

Streaking: Junior guard Timeka O’Neal has been red hot from behind the three-point line during the past couple of weeks. After torching the nets for six three-pointers in KU’s lost at K-State a couple of weekends ago, O’Neal responded to an off night against TCU mid-week with another strong showing last Saturday against Oklahoma. O’Neal finished 5-of-8 from downtown in KU’s near upset of the Sooners last Saturday and now has made 15 treys in her past five games and is shooting .406 from three-point range for the season.

Slumping: Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich’s 2-of-12 shooting performance in the loss to OU marked the third game in row that she failed to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor and the 10th time the Olathe native missed more than she made in the past 11 games.

Probable starters

Kansas (5-21 overall, 0-15 Big 12)

G — Lauren Aldridge, 5-7, so.

G — Aisia Robertson, 5-7, fr.

G — Kylee Kopatich, 5-10, fr.

G — Chayla Cheadle, 6-0, so.

F — Caelynn Manning-Allen, 6-4, jr.

Oklahoma State (19-7 overall, 9-6 Big 12)

G — Brittney Martin, 6-0, sr.

G — Roddricka Patton, 5-4, sr.

G — Sydney Walton, 5-8, so.

F — Mandy Coleman, 6-3, so.

C — Kaylee Jensen, 6-4, so.

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