Many things have come and gone in Marian Washington’s 31 years as coach of the Kansas Jayhawks.
Washington made her first trip to Hearnes Center in 1978, three years after the building opened. In that game, the Jayhawks escaped with a 70-69 victory.
With Missouri moving into a new arena next season, Washington makes her final trip to Hearnes Center tonight when the Tigers host Kansas at 7.
Missouri holds a 14-11 advantage against Kansas in games played at Hearnes Center. Of those 25 games, 15 were decided by six points or less and Washington hopes people will remember some of the great games between Kansas and Missouri through the years.
“It is always kind of a sad yet happy kind of situation for everyone involved because there is a lot of history there,” Washington said. “I’m sure that with Joann Rutherford and her incredible era there, there are probably a lot of games that people will hopefully keep in mind from time to time.”
Washington, who has roamed the sidelines in each of the 62 games between Kansas and Missouri, could witness a first tonight. With a win, Missouri will extend its winning streak against Kansas to eight, making it the longest win streak in the history of the series.
The Tigers’ seven-game winning streak against Kansas matches Missouri’s seven-game streak from 1983-86.
Kansas’ recent woes against Missouri are evidence of the Jayhawks overall struggles the past three years. After making nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1991-2000, the Jayhawks are 28-60 the past three years while undergoing a rebuilding process that Washington says is a big factor in Missouri’s recent string of success against the Jayhawks.
“Obviously Missouri is very good at home and we have been in a rebuilding process,” Washington said. “I just think it is never easy to play Missouri at their place and we are obviously hopeful that we will perform a lot better than we have.”
Kansas (7-5, 0-1) will look to rebound from a 73-54 loss to No. 3 Texas in the Jayhawks’ Big 12 Conference opener Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Missouri (9-3, 0-1) will try to bounce back from its 95-59 loss at Kansas State on Wednesday. The 36-point margin of defeat was Missouri’s largest since an 84-57 loss at Nebraska in 1997.
Nothing went right for the Tigers against the Wildcats, for Missouri’s offense preformed well below its season average of 77.5 points while shooting 33.3 percent and committing 20 turnovers. Kansas State’s 95 points are also the most the Tigers have allowed since giving up 97 in a loss to Baylor in 2001.
Although Missouri might be able to overcome the loss to Kansas State with relative ease, it will be harder for the Tigers to deal with the loss of point guard LaToya Bond, who will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken left foot.
According to Kevin Fletcher, an MU sports information director, Bond felt discomfort in her foot in the Tigers win against Miami of Ohio on Jan. 2. Against St. Louis on Sunday, Bond said she heard a pop in her foot and the Tigers learned the extent of Bond’s injury Monday but withheld the information until tip-off against Kansas State.
With Bond out of the lineup, freshman Blair Hardiek will assume the starting point guard position.
The loss of Bond, a 5-foot-7 sophomore, could deal a major blow to the Tigers hopes in the early part of the Big 12 schedule. With her athletic play and ball-handling poise, Bond more than filled the void Kerensa Barr, Missouri’s starting point guard from 2000-03, left when she graduated.
In Missouri’s first 11 games, Bond led the Tigers with 5.5 assists per game and 29 steals. Bond is also Missouri’s third-highest scorer, averaging 12. 3 points.