COLUMBIA — When Missouri and Kansas step onto the floor of Mizzou Arena on Saturday for the women's basketball version of the Border War, four Kansas natives will be wearing the home whites. Only one will be wearing blue.
“I wouldn’t say that I went, ‘OK, we want to get players out of Kansas,’" said Missouri coach Cindy Stein. "I think it was more I liked the way they played. There’s qualities in all of them that I really liked. I think they’re all very court smart. I think their work ethic is very good, and then obviously they bring skills that we want.”
Kansas (13-7, 2-5 in the Big 12) at Missouri (10-11, 1-7)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mizzou Arena
TV: Fox Sports Net Midwest
Redshirt freshman Bekah Mills, who is from El Dorado, Kan., is the only Tigers player who grew up in a family of Kansas fans.
“It was all in good fun," said Mills, after admitting she takes some grief for playing for Missouri. "They all support me, but there’s still a lot of people who give me a hard time. Anytime KU plays Missouri in anything it’s, ‘Oh, we’re going to beat you.’ It makes it fun.”
Other Missouri players grew up anti-fans of the Jayhawks.
Marissa Scott lived in Manhattan, Kan., home of Kansas State, until she was 6, surrounded by Wildcats fans.
“I grew up hating Kansas obviously, because we were K-State fans, so it’s always a fun game," said Scott, who was briefly recruited by Kansas State.
"I verbally committed here early, so all my options were gone after I verbaled," Scott said. "I chose early. I wanted to come here, and I haven’t looked back.”
Neither has her family.
"I think they’re all Missouri (fans) now. I think we’ve transferred them all to Mizzou," she said.
Freshman Kendra Frazier's family has held onto its loyalties a little longer.
“Both my parents actually went to (Kansas State), and my older sister went to K-State for two years and then she transferred to Kansas for pharmacy school, so they’ve been everywhere," said Frazier, who is from Altamont, Kan.
While supportive of her career and her team, Frazier's dad is still known to wear a shirt that shows the mascots of all three schools. Kansas State is proclaimed the good. Kansas is the bad, and Missouri is the ugly, Kendra Frazier explained with a big smile.
Bailey Gee's dad went to Wichita State. Gee, who grew up in Andover, Kan., said that was the reason she was never a fan of either Big 12 school in her home state.
Outside of personal conflicts and more than a century of history, there is little drama surrounding the 75th meeting between Kansas and Missouri women's basketball teams.
The Tigers (10-11, 1-7 in the Big 12) have one win in Big 12 play to go along with seven losses. Kansas (13-7, 2-5), who beat Missouri earlier this season on its home court, won just its second conference game on Wednesday.
“I think it’s two teams really trying to make efforts (to) restate our names in what people are talking about in the Big 12," Stein said. "I mean we’re both good teams, but our win-loss record is probably not where we want it."
Never mind, as Mills and her family understands, win-loss records are supposed to be thrown out for this game.
“I’ll be sure to rub it in if we win," she said.