The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 03, 1997, Page 11, Image 11

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    LaFrentz grows
ByMikeKluck
Senior Reporter
Besides being ranked No. 1, which
means getting every opponent’s best
shot, the Kansas basketball team has
had many other
obstacles to over
come this season.
The
Jayhawks played
the first 10 games
of the season with
out point guard
Jacque Vaughn,
who suffered a
broken right wrist
over the summer.
Kansas did not
miss a beat without its senior leader
and picked up wins against No. 9 Cin
cinnati and at No. 10 UCLA.
Then nine games after Vaughn’s
return senior center Scott Pollard
broke his foot and missed eight games.
Despite losing in double overtime
to Missouri without Pollard, the
Jayhawks still kept their No. 1 rank-',
ing.
Now with the team healthy, Kan
sas is prepared to make a run at its
season-long goal of winning the
NCAA Tournament.
But if the Jayhawks make it to the
Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis — the
sight of this year’s Final Four — KU
may look back at those injuries as a
key ingredient to its run.
For it was Pollard’s injury that
awakened the real ability of Raef
LaFrentz. In LaFrentz’s first game
against Nebraska this year the junior
forward sewed 20 points — 11 in the
overtime period to lead Kansas to £
82-77 win.
“Raef has always had the skills,’
Pollard said, “When I was out there ]
probably distracted him. He has de
veloped a confidence in the last few
games now that he has played with
out me. He’s had to step up, and the
numbers just came up because 1 wasn't
taking away his numbers.”
In the first 19 games with Pollard
and LaFrentz both in the KU lineup
LaFrentz, a native of Monona, Iowa
averaged 17.2 points per game. Since
Pollard’s injury LaFrentz averages
22.1 points and nine rebounds pei
game.
Sunday in the Jayhawks’ 85-65
victory at the Bob Devaney Sports
Center, LaFrentz scored 16 points and
grabbed six boards by halflime as KU
built a 13-point lead. LaFrentz fin
ished the game with 23 points and 1C
rebounds, picking up his 17th double
double of the season and fourth in the
last five games '
Vaughn said the Jayhawks wanted
to get the ball fo the 6-foot-ll, 235
pound LaFrentz in the first half. Or
the game’s very first play LaFrenta
scored on an alley-oop jam to stan
KU’s momentum.
“That was a definite concentrated
effort on our part,” Vaughn said. “We
definitely wanted to get the ball in
side. We watched the tape from the
last game and saw we did better in
side. We’re a fairly intelligent ball
club, so we said why not try and gel
the ball to a 60-percent shooter in
side.”
KU Coach Roy Williams said the
Jayhawks goal going into the NL
game was to control the rebounds. Ir
«
We definitely
wanted to get the
ball inside
Jacque Vaughn
_Kansas guard
the first game, the Huskers out-re
bounded Kansas 46-33. On Sunday,
Kansas dominated the boards 52-24,
including 20 offensive rebounds.
“We spent most of the time this
week in practice emphasizing re
bounding and emphasizing boxing out
because we kind of got away from
that,” LaFrentz said.
Pollard, who played seven minutes
and didn’t score in Kansas’s 70-68 win
at Oklahoma on Monday night, led the
Jayhawks grabbing 12 rebounds. He
also sewed 14 points.
NU Coach Danny Nee said the
cwnbination of Pollard and LaFrentz
down low makes the Jayhawks a team
that has a chance to go far in the
NCAA Tournament.
“Both Pollard and LaFrentz in the
middle, they are really a great force,”
Nee said. “He’s (Pollard) a space
heater. He does really make a positive
difference. Raef LaFrentz improved
tremendously with Pollard out.
“I really hope they do well in the
tournament. They have that type of
team. They have a really dam good
chance.”
NU’s DeForge makes
first-team All-Big 12
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) —
Kansas guard Tamecka Dixon was
named the Big 12 Conference
women’s basket
ball player of the
year, and
Nebraska’s Anna
DeForge made the
first-ever All-Big
12 team that was
announced on
Sunday.
Also,
_Jayhawk Coach
Define Marian Washing
** ton was honored
as the conference’s coach of the year
Dixon was player ofthe year in the
Big Eight last year when KU won the
league’s final crown.
DeForge, who started every game
for NU this season, averaged 17 points
and six rebounds per game for the 18
8 Comhuskers.
DeForge said she was surprised by
the honor after only receiving all-Big
Eight honorable mention her fresh
man and sophomore seasons.
“With four extra teams in the con
ference I didn’t think about it,”
DeForge said. “It means a lot. It’s a
big honor and it’s a reflection of the
season we have had. We’ve had a great
season and the team is getting a lot of
respect.”
AP Women's
All-Big 12 A
Team
Pos Name School Yr.
F Anna DeForge Nebraska Jr.
F Andria Jones Kansas St Sr.
She said this year’s honor was
earned because of the stability she has
shown for the Huskers throughout the
season.
“I’ve been much more consistent
in my play this season,” DeForge said.
“I also understand the mental part of
the game more and I know what has
to be done.”
The 5-11 junior from Niagara,
Wis., is joined on the first team by
Dixon, Alicia Thompson of Texas
Tech, Kansas State’s Andria Jones and
Jayme Olson of Iowa State.
NU’s LaToya Doage was a third
team selection
Senior reporter Mike Khick con
tributed to this report.
Tg
\foss tosses
no-hitter
inNUwin
From Staff Reports
Jenny Voss tossed a no-hitter on
Sunday to lead the Nebraska soft
ball team to an 8-0 win over No.
25 Nicholls State.
It was the first no-hitter by a
Comhusker pitcher since Stacie
Stafford tossed a gem against Texas
Tech April 26, 1996.
In the nightcap of the silver
medal finals at the NFCA Lead Off
Classic at Columbus, Ga., the
right-handed freshman from
Ankeny, Iowa, was the loser in
NU’s 4-0 loss to fifth-ranked
Michigan. Voss, who pitched five
of Nebraska’s six tournament
games, suffered her fifth loss of the
season in losing to the Wolverines.
The Huskers were 3-3 in the
tournament, which featured teams
that made the NCAA Regionals
last season. All of NU’s (4-8) wins
have come against Top 25 teams.
Nebraska has two weeks off be
fore competing in the Cowgirl
Spring Classic on March 14-15 in
Stillwater, Okla.
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From Staff Reports
The final weekend of Big 12
Conference play has set up the pair
ings for this week’s men’s and
women’s Big 12 basketball tourna
ments.
The first-ever men’s tourna
ment starts on Thursday at Kemper
Arena, and the women’s inaugural
tournament begins Tuesday at
Municipal Auditorium in Kansas
'City, Mo.
Both the Comhusker men’s and
women’s teams are seeded seventh
in the tournaments and will have
to follow similar paths to advance
to the later rounds.
The NU men (16-13 overall and
7r9 in the Big 12 Conference) face
Missouri (13-16 and 5-11), the No.
10 seed, at 6 p.m. on Thursday at
Kemper. With a win, NU Will ad
vance to the second round to take
on second-seeded Texas on Friday,
March 7. Nebraska has split both
games with the Longhorns this sea
son.
The Husker women (18-8 and
8-8) will also meet No. 10 Mis
souri (10-19 and 3-13) on Tuesday
at 6 p.m. A victory leads to a
Wednesday night contest with
Texas. The Longhorns beat NU 71 -
70 on Feb. 8.
On the men’s side, top-ranked <
and top-seeded Kansas, Texas,
Colorado, and Iowa State receive
first-round byes. The champion
ship game — which will be tele
vised by CBS — is at noon Sun
day.
Other men’s games Thursday:
Texas Tech vs. Kansas State, Okla
homa vs. Texas A&M and Baylor
vs. Oklahoma State.
The Jayhawk women are seeded
No. 1, followed by Texas, Texas
Tech and Colorado. Those four
teams earned first-round byes.
Other women’s games pit Okla
homa State vs. Baylor, Oklahoma
vs. Kansas State and Texas A&M
against Iowa State. *
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1997
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