Each week, The Star takes a look at five topics in women’s basketball in and around the Kansas City area.
By KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
Though the Kansas State and Kansas women got off to rough starts in conference play, the two teams made up for them in a big way this weekend with major upsets.
But the Wildcats and Jayhawks won’t get much time to celebrate because they face ranked teams Wednesday and then meet in the Sunflower Showdown on Saturday in Manhattan, Kan.
Kansas State took down then-No. 13 Iowa State on Saturday, improving to 2-4 in conference play and ending a 10-game Big 12 road losing streak. Freshman guard Leticia Romero was a big part of that with her second straight 20-point game which earned her Big 12 freshman of the week honors. On Wednesday, the Wildcats travel to Waco, Texas, to play a Baylor team that’s coming off back-to-back losses but still has a 29-game home winning streak against Big 12 opponents.
The loss that stings the most for Baylor was the upset it suffered Sunday against Kansas, which also improved to 2-4 in conference play. The loss dropped Baylor to No. 12 in the AP poll and snapped the Bears’ 44-game regular-season Big 12 winning streak. Kansas junior forward Chelsea Gardner was chosen Big 12 player of the week after scoring 28 points and pulling down 13 rebounds for her fifth double-double. The Jayhawks will try to make it two in a row when they play host to No. 8 Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to be on it like we were for this game and that’s one of the hardest things about this league,” Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “The resiliency when you lose, but also the toughness when you win because you’ve got Oklahoma State coming in here who is crazy good.”
Out of the 10 Big 12 teams, nine have two or more conference victories and three have just one loss.
2. Key matchup
No. 8 Oklahoma State at Kansas, 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Cowgirls are tied for the best start in school history at 16-1, but they’ll have to get past the upset-minded Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse and then face No. 12 Baylor on Saturday.
3. Big 12 watch
Iowa State senior forward Hallie Christofferson is one of 15 players in the nation and one of six in the five power conferences averaging 20 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
4. SEC watch
Arkansas freshman forward Jessica Jackson posted a career-high 24 points against Georgia and improved on it in the next game with 31 against Mississippi, earning conference freshman of the week honors.
5. KC connection
Johnson County Community College, 19-0 and No. 2 in the National Junior College Athletics Association Division II rankings, will put a 46-game home winning streak on the line Wednesday when it plays host to No. 8 Kansas City Kansas Community College. The Cavaliers have four players averaging double figures, led by Sameia Kendall with 14.