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Monday Morning Wheaties

5 min read

Both Kansas basketball teams were in action in the NCAA Tournament toward the end of the week, and the 20th-ranked KU softball team picked up its second consecutive Big 12 Conference sweep by winning three in a row at Houston over the weekend.

All of that, and more, will be celebrated in this week’s Monday Morning Wheaties.

You’ve seen the tomahawks on the back of the Florida State helmets, the buckeye tree leaves on the Ohio State helmets and the paw prints on the back of the Clemson helmets.

Each Monday, we take one last look back at the week that was and hand out different amounts of the iconic breakfast cereal to the Jayhawks’ top performers.

So, be sure to come get your Monday Morning Wheaties and feel free to hit up the comments section — subscribers only for now — with any players you feel we might’ve missed.

Zakiyah Franklin during a KU home game at Allen Fieldhouse. [Chance Parker photo]

Picture on the box

• Senior guard Zakiyah Franklin – The 8th-seeded KU women are still playing in this year’s NCAA Tournament and veteran guard Zakiyah Franklin is a huge part of the reason why. Not only did the smooth lefty from Florida score a team-high 22 points in their Round 1 win over Michigan, it was also her 3-pointer inside the final 10 seconds of regulation that tied the game and sent the teams to overtime. KU led from start to finish in OT and used the momentum of Franklin’s big shot to advance. In the game, Franklin moved past the 1,900-point mark and 500-assist mark for her career. Those milestones and the clutch gene have moved KU to a showdown with top-seeded USC at 9 p.m. tonight on ESPN in Round 2.

A full bowl

• All-American honors for freshman diver Shiyun Lai –Lai capped off a stellar freshman season for the Jayhawks by receiving honorable mention All-American honors in both the 1- and 3-meter diving events at the 2024 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Athens, Georgia over the weekend. Lai scored 6 points to single-handedly bring KU into a 32nd-place finish at the event. She scored 280.25 points and finished 14th in the 1-meter event and 281.95 to take 14th in the 3-meter event.

KU diver Shiyun Lai at a KU home meet this season. [Chance Parker photo]

• Softball power hitters Savanna DesRochers & Jaeden Murphy – During the second of three consecutive wins over Houston on the softball diamond over the weekend, the Jayhawks got not one but two grand slams from their lineup. That proved to be more than enough to lead the Jayhawks to an 11-4 victory over the Cougars. “I love that we got some timely hits today and that our bats came alive,” KU coach Jennifer McFalls said after the win. “It was really good to see Savanna get a big hit and then later in the game Jaeden Murphy. She’s a young kid that swings it every day in practice, and I was really proud to get her the opportunity to play today. She’s got some pop in her barrel, so that doesn’t really surprise me, but I’m so happy for her. Really just proud of this team and our fight.” With the wins, KU moved to 22-8-1 overall. Next up, the Jayhawks will play at Kansas City on Tuesday night.

• Shortstop Collier Cranford – Cranford became the first Jayhawk to hit for the first cycle since Connor McKay vs. Kansas State on May 10, 2013. He finished the game 4-for-5 with a career-high seven RBIs. Cranford singled in the first, doubled in the third, tripled in the sixth and hit his grand slam in the seventh to give him 7 RBIs on the night. “The guys were way into that, and I think everyone that was watching the game kind of saw it building, where it was single, double, triple,” KU coach Dan Fitzgerald said after the 13-3 KU win over UCF on Friday night. “He comes up there and gets to two strikes and we thought if he could pound one to right here and then sure enough he did. Happy for Collier. He’s a heck of a player and a heck of a teammate. It’s fun when those guys have those awesome accomplishments.”

Nighttime snack

• Senior guard Nicolas Timberlake – Playing without KU senior Kevin McCullar Jr., the Jayhawks got a monster effort from Timberlake in Round 1 to move past Samford in a game that went down to the wire. Timberlake scored a KU-career-high 19 points and the Jayhawks, as a team, scored 93 to take home the 4-point win and move on to Round 2, where they lost to 5th-seeded Gonzaga two days later. It was a rough season for Timberlake, but the big outing in his first ever NCAA Tournament game certainly added a little sizzle to it on his way out the door.

• Senior big man Hunter Dickinson – Dickinson returned from a shoulder injury to drop 19 points and 20 rebounds in the Jayhawks’ Round 1 win over Samford last Thursday in Salt Lake City. Dickinson’s 20 boards tied for the third-most by a Jayhawk in an NCAA Tournament game (Cole Aldrich, 2009 and Drew Gooden, 2002) and marked the fourth time he had topped 20 rebounds in a game this season. He also became the first NCAA player since at least the 1996-97 season to have 20 rebounds, 5 assists and multiple blocks in an NCAA Tournament game.

• Senior guard Wyvette Mayberry – The talented and sometimes overlooked KU guard came up huge in the women’s team’s Round 1 overtime win over Michigan, scoring 15 points in 40+ minutes, including a 3-of-6 shooting clip from 3-point range. She also added 5 assists and a steal and was perfect at the free throw line on a day when there was very little margin for error.

Drink the milk

• KU soccer goalkeeper Melania Pasar – Pasar, a super-senior from Slovenia, recently signed a contract to play professionally with Budapest Honvéd FC. Pasar is the 22nd player in KU soccer history to play soccer professionally. She started 38 games during her five seasons at KU, including all 18 matches during the 2023 season. For her career, Pasar recorded a 1.13 goals against average and a 78% save percentage while playing more than 3,300 minutes in goal for the Jayhawks.

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