SYDNEY, Australia - On their second day in the land down under, the University of Kansas women's basketball team suffered an 88-54 loss at the hands of the Sydney Flames. The Jayhawks were originally scheduled to take on the Sutherland Sharks, but wound up playing the semi-professional club instead, due to a scheduling conflict.
Kansas raced out to a quick 6-0 lead over the Flames' experienced starting five, with sophomore guard Danielle McCray scoring all six points for the Jayhawks. Sydney got two free throws to get on the board, before sophomore guard Kelly Kohn made a lay-up to put the Jayhawks up 8-2.
The lead would not last long as the Flames took control of the game with a 13-0 run, charging to a 15-8 lead midway through the first quarter of action. Behind the stellar play of Michelle Musselwhite and Kristen Veal, Sydney was able to capitalize on transition baskets off of Kansas turnovers to forge a 44-22 half time lead. Both Musselwhite and Veal are members of the WNBL, Australia's highest ranking women's basketball professional league.
"Our transition defense and defensive pressure overall has to improve," said Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson. "I am disappointed with our turnovers, and the fact that a lot of them were unforced. On offense we have to be more aggressive. I am expecting to see a lot of improvement in our next game."
The Jayhawks were not able to cut into the Sydney lead in the second half, but played hard in the loss. McCray led KU with 20 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore guard Sade Morris netted 11 points, while also collecting four rebounds and two steals. Sophomore forward Porscha Weddington tallied seven points, seven boards and three blocks.
Musselwhite led the Flames with 22 points, while Veal finished with 10 points, nine assists and five steals.
Kansas will have Wednesday off, before traveling north to Brisbane on Thursday. The Jayhawks will play two games in Brisbane before moving on to Cairns, where they will complete their tour with a fourth and final game.