As Indiana (4-4) travels to Kansas this afternoon mired in a three-game losing streak, surely the return of one of its starters is a main focal point of the proverbial bright side. Kim Roberson is back and ready to roll after a two-game hiatus for “personal reasons.” Sorry, no scoop here on what the leave of absence was for, but coach Felisha Legette-Jack assured me in practice that “Kim will be with us and will be starting for us when we go down to Kansas.”
What concerns Coach Jack is the team’s recent inability to sustain momentum, resulting in some blown leads in the last three contests. Granted, two of them were against then-Top 25 teams, but the first five minutes of the second halves in particular have drawn the ire of the second-year coach. She relishes the chance to visit a hot-shooting Big 12 team (Kansas is 6-1 on a three-game winning streak) that hasn’t lost at home. “This is what the gameâ€™s all about,” she said. “It gives us almost an impossibility in front of (our players).” But that impossibility is what Coach Jack’s purpose has always been about, savoring each and every chance to further develop her student-athletes and give them every possible opportunity to spread a message about Indiana basketball.
Nikki Smith, the only Hoosier senior, agrees that the losses were not in any way to “rollover teams.” She says the streak is not miserable and that through eight games, the play in the post has steadily shown improvements, specifically boxing out and rebounding.
“Itâ€™s not fun and definitely the coaches don’t like doing it and they get upset,” Smith said of losing multiple games in a row. “But for us, you canâ€™t focus on losses in the past.”
True, and Smith is looking for a boost in her own output as well, having been held scoreless in three of the team’s four losses. Last season, when she led the team in scoring (and drained 67 3s), there were two games all year she put up zero points. But she said she gets nothing but support from her teammates and coaches, who encourage her to work through the drought. “For me, being the last year, I canâ€™t take those luxuries of feeling sorry for myself.â€
Strangely, the 3-point leader on the Jayhawks is Nicollette Smith…but hey, what’s in a name?
OTHER NOTES: IU’s Andrea McGuirt (Marist School) and KU’s Chakeitha Weldon (Mays H.S.) are both freshmen guards from Atlanta…This game today can be seen live and with no charge on ESPN360.com, but some broadband providers refuse to carry it, so if you have an Internet connection through Insight, you’ll have to tune in to 105.1 FM on the radio.