Kansas women's basketball selected to second NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 seasons

Kansas coach Brandon Schneider talks with players during a timeout in the second half of the game
Kansas coach Brandon Schneider talks with players during a timeout in the second half of the game / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

After years of underwhelming seasons, the Kansas women's basketball team was selected to its second NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 11 years during Selection Sunday yesterday.

Brandon Schneider's group was chosen as a No. 8 seed in the Portland 3 region, the same they received two years ago when they were eliminated in the Round of 32. They open the tournament against No. 9 Michigan on Saturday and would play the winner of No. 1 USC vs. No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the following game.

The 19-12 Jayhawks won nine of their final 11 games to close out the season, including upset victories over Kansas State and Big 12 regular season title recipients Oklahoma. Texas eliminated KU from the conference tournament in the quarterfinals after they opened the tourney with a win over BYU.

Kansas' top performers include freshman phenom S'Mya Nichols, who led the team with 15.2 points per game, and National Defensive Player of the Year semifinalist Taiyanna Jackson. Other vital contributors include senior guards Zakiyah Franklin and Holly Kersgieter along with fellow starter Wyvette Mayberry.

While they started the season off slow, the Jayhawks picked up their pace in the latter stages of league play. They have a strong resume under their belt with the aforementioned wins and close losses to elite teams like UConn and Virginia Tech.

On the other hand, Michigan finished the year at 20-13 with a 9-9 conference record. The Wolverines strengthened their resume with a pair of wins in the Big Ten Tournament and sneaked into the Big Dance for the fourth straight year as a nine-seed.

Kansas women's basketball has a chance to do something special in March Madness with its senior-ridden and well-rounded squad. The Jayhawks have not enjoyed much success in recent years, so now is the time for Coach Schneider to prove why he deserves to keep his position.

The Jayhawks' first-round game will be played this Saturday.