Kansas’ 86-72 win over Western Kentucky on Friday night set up a massive second-round matchup in the WNIT. The Kansas Jayhawks will once again face the Missouri Tigers, this time in women’s basketball for the first time since 2012.
How to watch:
The rivalry matchup is set for Monday, Mar. 20, in Allen Fieldhouse. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Setting the stage:
The Kansas and Missouri rivalry is one with a rich history. The men’s side of the rivalry recently got a reunion, including a 95-67 win this season in Columbia, Mo. However, the women’s team has not faced Missouri since the Tigers left for the SEC after the 2011-12 season. In that final matchup, the Tigers got the best of the Jayhawks, winning the final matchup 70-65. Kansas still holds a 44-38 advantage in the series all-time.
Both the players and head coach Brandon Schneider are excited at the opportunity the renewed rivalry presents.
“It’s been a long time since Kansas women’s basketball has played Missouri,” senior guard Holly Kersgieter said. “It’s a really big matchup regardless of what type of game it is. It can be the first game of the season; it can be March Madness… It doesn’t matter.”
“We hope it’s a game that really energizes our fan base,” Schneider said. “These players have never participated in the rivalry. They’ve witnessed their classmates and colleagues compete in it… It’ll be important for us to educate one another on the importance of it and what it means.”
Tigers at a glance:
Missouri comes into the game holding an 18-13 record, fresh off a 61-51 win over Illinois State. The Tigers finished SEC play in ninth place with a 6-10 record. While Missouri does not feature a high-powered offense that scores 65.2 points per game, the Tigers are efficient, shooting 45.3% from the field and 35.6% from three-point range. Where Missouri excels is on defense, only allowing 61.9 points per game this season.
Players to watch:
No. 43 senior forward Haley Frank
Frank was an All-SEC First-Team Selection for Missouri this season. The senior led the Tigers all season with 15.3 points per game along with 4.1 rebounds per game. Frank is also a good shooter from outside, shooting 41.2% from three this season. In Missouri’s win over Illinois State, Frank had 15 points, five rebounds, and six assists.
No. 1 senior guard Lauren Hansen
Another one of the senior leaders for the Tigers is Hansen. Hansen is averaging 13.0 points per game this season and is an elite free throw shooter at 90.6%. Last time out Hansen struggled, dropping four points on 2-for-7 shooting against Illinois State.
No. 15 senior guard Zakiyah Franklin
Franklin leads the Jayhawks in scoring this year, averaging 15.7 points per game. The All-Big 12 First-Team member is an efficient shooter at 47% from the floor and 46% from downtown. Franklin had a complete game against Western Kentucky with 20 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
No. 1 senior center Taiyanna Jackson
Jackson is the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Big 12 First-Team member in 2023 for Kansas. This season Jackson is averaging 15 points per game and 12.6 rebounds per game, along with 19 double-doubles, tied for eighth in Division 1. Jackson led the Jayhawks in scoring against Western Kentucky with 21 points while adding 15 rebounds.