The men's season might be done, but for the Jayhawk women's basketball team, the postseason play has brought the ladies a chance to compete for the WNIT Final. After a 73-64 win over well-known thorn in the side to KU Athletics (as of recent) Arkansas Razorbacks, the ladies slotted their ticket to the Fabulous Four. They will compete against the Washington Huskies in Allen Fieldhouse March 29th at 6:30pm CST for a chance to go even further, to the championship game in fact. The Jayhawks are led by sharpshooting senior Holly Kersgieter (40.5% from three and averaging 14.1 PPG) and defensive post menace (and fellow senior) Taiyanna Jackson (12.5 average rebounds/game and 3 blocks/game). This team has proven time and again that the committee messed up not giving them a spot in the NCAA Tournament and will have the chance to once again show that they belong and are here to stay.
As a Jayhawk alum and fan, I for one am incredibly excited for these Lady Hawks. They've shown they're a force to be reckoned with and that the men's program is not the only basketball program in town worth watching, something that Jayhawk faithful really couldn't say (until last year) since a historic run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013. Yes, it's not the NCAA tournament, but winning a WNIT championship in a commanding fashion would show just how poor the committee selected the teams that did end up making the tournament. For the KU Athletics program, that is something they know far too well on both the men's and women's sides. Not only that, but it would also cement women's basketball as a marquee event in Lawrence, Kansas, something that is not only developing in Lawrence right now, but across the nation.
TV viewership for the NCAA women's tournament jumped 73% from this year to last, and last night's Elite 8 matchups garnered more viewership than ANY regular season NBA game this year. People are finally starting to take notice at the amount of certified elite athletes that are women, and people are finally giving them the attention they deserve. For the Lady Hawks, getting out from under the shadow of the men's program has long been a struggle, but it may happen sooner than you think. They're making a name for themselves and soon may find themselves fitting into a winning tradition, much like the men have. If you can, go to Allen tomorrow and support the Jayhawks as they compete for that WNIT Final spot. They're more than worth your viewership, they're worth your respect. Same goes for all women's sports, but now though, they're commanding it and finally getting what they've long since deserved.
Burn Notice: 10/10 Holly Kersgieter's three-point game