By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer
As the Baylor Lady Bears and Kansas Jayhawks each come off weekend wins, momentum continues to grow for the two basketball teams as they prepare to play at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Lawrence, Kan.
Starting strong at 10-1, the Jayhawks have lost two of their last three games — rebounding with a win earlier this week against their in-state rival, Kansas State. With a potential boost of confidence going forward, coach Kim Mulkey acknowledges Kansas’ strengths and potential challenges that the Lady Bears may face this week.
“Their guards are really good. They may be the quickest guards in the league,” Mulkey said. “They’re really, really good. [Senior guard Jessica] Washington has been in college a long time and can shoot the 3-ball. They’re coming off a win against their rival, K-State, at K-State. They’ll be excited to play us.”
Washington leads Kansas with 15.3 points per game which is a near mirror of Baylor’s main scorer, Kalani Brown, who leads the Lady Bears with 15.2 points per game.
With Washington as one of the biggest scoring threats, Mulkey said sophomore guard DiDi Richards will mainly be defending the impressive point-guard and that the plan is to attack and keep the defense the same as usual.
“We’re going to guard you tough, keep you out of the paint, get back in transition defense, and don’t give them open looks,” Mulkey said. “We have to stop dribble penetration. She’s not the only great perimeter player they have. They have other guards who can do what she can do.”
Against K-State on Jan. 9, the Lady Bears struggled and faced a second-half deficit, before coming back late in the third quarter. In comparison to the matchup between Kansas and K-State, Kansas had the majority of the momentum throughout the game, especially with a 18-point lead into the third quarter.
Mulkey described how impressive the Jayhawks’ win was and how it caught her attention.
“K-State played us pretty darn good here,” she said. “I was very curious to watch it. When you play well on the road and you go home, you’re usually pretty high […] As you watched it, both teams do what they do. Nothing was any different. K-State was totally different style. K-State and Kansas are two different types of teams. It was an interesting game to watch.”
The matchup statistically puts the Bears on top offensively, scoring an average of 82.1 points per game compared to Kansas at 68.9. Defensively, the Jayhawks have notched 127 steals to Baylor’s 110.
The Lady Bears will be back home Sunday to face West Virginia at 4 p.m. at the Ferrell Center.