Missouri-KU fight draws big attention

Wednesday, January 14, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:03 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

Given that fights in women’s college basketball are rare, Saturday’s postgame fight between players from Missouri and Kansas is attracting plenty of interest.

Coupled with the fight being between longtime rivals and was the first postgame brawl in the seven-year history of Big 12 Conference women’s basketball, it is no wonder Missouri coach Cindy Stein and Kansas coach Marian Washington are overwhelmed by the attention the fight is getting.

On Tuesday, Stein and Washington expressed a desire to put behind them the fight that marred an otherwise competitive game that saw Kansas snap Missouri’s seven-game win streak against the Jayhawks.

“We’ve got to move on,” Stein said. “We are 0-2 in our conference, we’ve lost a home game and those are things we have to be revved up about and we have to generate our energy in another direction besides maybe some of those that got out of hand on Saturday.”

Washington expressed similar sentiments.

“It’s over as far as I’m concerned,” Washington said. “It is just unfortunate how things got out of whack.

“I’m really not interested in discussing it anymore, and I’m trying to look forward and I want my team to look forward.”

The postgame fight was not the first in Missouri women’s basketball history. After Missouri’s 72-70 win against Oklahoma on Jan. 17, 1987, at Hearnes Center, a fight broke out and players from both teams were suspended.

Kansas and Missouri are waiting for a response from Big 12 officials about disciplinary action. The response is expected today.

Stein announced Monday that two Missouri players will face disciplinary action, but the team will wait to see whether the Big 12 agrees with Missouri’s recommended measure before announcing the nature of the punishment.

Although Missouri has not released any official information, Stein said on her radio show Monday that MyEsha Perkins will face suspension after punching a Kansas player. Perkins, a senior guard, also was suspended Nov. 8 for an undisclosed violation of team rules and Perkins missed Missouri’s first seven games after being declared academically ineligible for the fall semester.

Stein also continued to avoid placing blame on either team Tuesday by saying that it does not matter who started the fight.

“I guess the way I look at is we’ve got to take blame for what we did,” Stein said. “Yes I had a player strike somebody and that should never happen and as I said I had another player that was tossed to the ground and she went after somebody.

“Those are things that are inappropriate and you’ve got to be able to walk away. At this point it does not matter who started it, and what happens is we have to act appropriately and our kids have a full understanding of that and unfortunately we had to learn it the wrong way.”

During Tuesday’s Big 12 teleconference, several coaches said they reacted with surprise that the fight occurred. Colorado coach Ceal

Barry, who is in her 20th year coaching the Buffaloes and remembers the 1987 Missouri fight, said that despite the existence of bitter rivalries such as Missouri-Kansas, a fight should not take place on the basketball court.

“I think that it is something you need to guard against and be prepared that if it is moving in that direction you understand how to react,” Barry said. “It is kind of like if someone puts a press on you, what do you do?

CREAM OF THE CROP: After one week of Big 12 play, it might seem hard to begin separating teams within the conference, but Texas, Kansas State and Texas Tech seem to be a cut above everyone else.

The Longhorns, Wildcats and Red Raiders were the only teams to remain undefeated in the conference.

Aside from not losing a game, the impressive nature of each team’s victories is proof that they will be tough to beat.

No. 3 Texas (14-1, 2-0 Big 12 Conference) beat Kansas 73-54 in its first Big 12 game on Jan. 7 and outlasted co-No. 15 Oklahoma 63-58 on Saturday.

After Kansas State’s 95-59 win against Missouri on Jan. 7, the Wildcats (12-2, 3-0) earned an impressive road win by beating co-No. 15 Colorado 76-69 in Boulder, Colo.

Texas Tech (15-0, 1-0) remained No. 2 in the Associated Press rankings and No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches’ poll after its 106-43 win against Oklahoma State on Saturday in front of 15,050 fans at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Kansas State’s Nicole Ohlde earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors after torching Missouri for 31 points on 14-of-16 shooting on January 7. Ohlde also contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds in Kansas State’s win against Colorado on Saturday.

Oklahoma’s Leah Rush was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week after scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Texas on Saturday. Rush, a 6-foot-1 freshman, leads Oklahoma with seven blocks.

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