Since Bonnie Henrickson took over the Kansas women’s basketball team 10 years ago, one of her biggest frustrations has been the inability to consistently beat Kansas State.
The Jayhawks trail the all-time series 62-45 and have a 5-15 record under Henrickson. But for the first time in more than a dozen years, they have a shot to notch a third straight victory against the Wildcats. Kansas, 12-15 overall and 5-10 in the Big 12, will play host to Kansas State, 10-16 and 4-11, in the 108th installment of the Sunflower Showdown at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“It’s an exciting series to be a part of, and certainly both teams have had success,” Henrickson said. “Like every other rivalry, you can throw out numbers, percentages, win and loss records, points per game, all that stuff. None of that matters. It’s energy, momentum and toughness.”
When the two teams met Jan. 25, Kansas junior Chelsea Gardner scored 17 first-half points while shooting seven for 13 from the field. The Wildcats were able to slow her down and get her into foul trouble early in the second half, but she finished with a game-high 21 points in the Jayhawks’ 71-64 victory.
“Probably guarding her with three people would help,” Kansas State coach Deb Patterson joked. “It’s always nice if you can see her not playing the full 40 minutes. I don’t think it’s different for us than it is for anyone.”
Gardner is leading the Big 12 with 11 double-doubles and has scored in double-digits in each of her last 12 games. Freshman guard Leticia Romero led the Wildcats with 17 points in the first game and is averaging 13.9 points per game.