"It's an unbelievably strong field. This tournament should be terrific. We are playing a little bit better now so hopefully the timing is right for us to make a strong showing in Dallas."
On possible matchup vs. Missouri:
"I think it will be a difficult assignment. There is a great chance that it could occur and I think it will be an intangible game just like the first two games. The teams were emotionally high the first two games. The game at our place was a one point game with about five minutes left and the game there was a last possession game.
I think it will be a game where both teams still have a lot to play for. Missouri will have a ton of motivation including losing the last game at home -- the way that it occurred. We have to match that motivation and that will be the challenge. Last year, Kansas beat Missouri on the last possession and then the Tigers got them pretty good in the tournament. We have to match their energy and their focus for this game if they match up."
On Jeff Graves:
"He's been pretty focused as of late. We are a different team with him. Here is a guy who had 16 points and 16 rebounds in the National Championship game -- there is potential that is there. That was the monster game of his career but he has it inside of him to put up numbers like that if things fall right and he is focused.
We would be happy if we could get him out there for 20 minutes -- we haven't been getting that. A big body in there knocking and banging for 20 minutes is something that we desperately need. I think he is a huge key to our success. When he has played well we seem to play a lot better."
On zone defense:
"I think those are both advantages. As long as you can get to your shooters, take away your dribble penetration and maybe protect some guys on the back line -- I think those are some advantages. Basketball is cyclical -- teams switch with different fads. It's almost like fashion and right now and it's fashionable to play zone because of the success Syracuse had last year. The zone is great when you have that length and play gaps.
I think it's also showing a lack of respect because players across America, including Kansas -- the skill level is probably not the same as it was 10 years ago. Teams don't shoot the basketball as well in general. We have seen our fair share of zones this season, especially early in the season when we were struggling from the perimeter."
DALLAS - Four Jayhawks scored in double figures as the 12th-seeded Kansas women's basketball team was defeated by No. 5 seed Baylor 86-71 Tuesday afternoon at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament at Reunion Arena. The Jayhawks finish their season 9-19 overall and 2-14 in league play while the No. 14 Bears improved to 23-7 overall and 10-6 in the Big 12.
Tamara Ransburg led KU with 15 points and Aquanita Burras and Crystal Kemp chipped in with 14 apiece. Erica Hallman added 11 points and freshman Sharita Smith had nine in the loss. Kemp led the KU rebounding with 10 boards.
The Kansas defense forced 21 Baylor turnovers and recorded 15 steals on the day. Kansas was without the services of freshman Lauren Irvin, who did not make the trip to Dallas due to a violation of team policy.
Baylor jumped to a 14-6 lead on back-to-back three pointers by freshman Emily Niemann. Hallman knocked a trey of her own to bring the Jayhawks within two, 23-21. Kansas took its first lead of the game as Burras hit a jumper to put KU up by one, 26-25 with 7:47 to play in the first half.
Niemann nailed two more threes and the Bears controlled the boards over the next five minutes to take a commanding 43-32 lead. KU ended the first stanza with a 5-0 run and the teams went to the lockerrooms with Baylor leading 43-37.
The Bears opened the second half with a 12-3 run and ended up with a 55-44 lead in the first five minutes of action. Another Hallman three-pointer sparked an 11-2 Jayhawk run that closed Baylor's lead to six.
Baylor took control and scored on three straight possessions down the stretch. KU's 10 fouls put the Bears in the double bonus and BU took a 74-61 lead with five minutes left to play. The teams traded buckets until KU was forced to foul to stop the clock and the Bears pulled ahead by 15. The 86-71 loss was KU's 10th straight.