COLUMBIA — As a high school senior, Kendra Frazier was the Kansas Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year. After receiving the honor, Frazier was on her way to play for a Big 12 program. Except, she didn’t go to the program that most would expect. She didn’t choose Kansas or even Kansas State.
Frazier chose to bring her basketball skills across the border to Missouri — the school all Kansans hate.
Missouri (10-5, 0-2)
at Kansas (10-5, 0-2)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.
RADIO: KFRU/1400 AM
Well, not all.
“Even though I lived in Kansas, I was never a KU fan,” Frazier said. “I grew up hating KU, even though I’m not from (Missouri).”
The sophomore from Altamont, Kan., grew up rooting for Kansas State because both of her parents had gone to school there. When teams from her home state began recruiting Frazier late in her high school career, she had already verbally committed to Missouri as a junior.
“Any kid nowadays that sticks to their commitment is huge because you don’t have that very much anymore, which is sad,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said.
Even though Frazier chose to stick with Missouri, some of her family still roots for teams from her home state. Frazier’s older sister Christa Frazier attends Kansas, which hosts Missouri at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“My sister will be at the game but she won’t be in a Mizzou shirt,” Kendra Frazier said. “I give her a hard time.”
Kendra Frazier says she is used to getting grief from family members back home.
“I go home and a get a lot of crap just because I came here, but it’s all in fun, though,” she said.
This season, Kendra Frazier has seen more playing time than she had as a freshman, but it has diminished somewhat recently. With a number of family and friends expected to be in attendance, it might be difficult for Stein to decide how much game action Frazier will see on Sunday.
“You’d like everybody to play, but you can’t. It depends on the situation,” Stein said. “Obviously, I think Bailey (Gee) and Kendra have been playing better and better. Right now, playing time is tough.”
Frazier isn’t the only Tigers player expected to have more fans in attendance on Sunday. Marissa Scott, Gee and the injured Bekah Mills are also from Kansas. Interestingly, Missouri has four players from Kansas, while the Jayhawks roster includes just two from Kansas.
The overwhelming percentage of Kansans on the Tigers roster brings the occasional joke from Stein.
“Coach will be like ‘well the Kansas players are shooting well today’ or she’ll make fun of us with something like that,” Frazier said.
Stein insisted, “It’s all friendly.”
Other Tigers realize the KU game has a special meaning for the Kansans on the team.
“It’s a big game for them. They’ve got a lot of people coming,” senior Amanda Hanneman said. “It’s their game.”
Since she despised Kansas growing up, Frazier had no trouble catching on to the MU-KU rivalry. She fits in with teammates such as Hanneman, who is from Missouri and grew up a hardcore Missouri fan—which means she grew up hating Kansas, too.
The Missouri women’s basketball team has been struggling, dropping three straight games, including its first two in Big 12 play. However, a win against the hated Jayhawks might ease the pain of the recent losses.
“It would do wonders for us (to get a win), especially going into Allen Fieldhouse. That’s a really tough place to play,” Frazier said. “Playing your rival and to get our first Big 12 win on the road versus a rival would give us so much momentum going into the rest of conference.”