🏀 Jayhawks to Meet Michigan in NCAA Tournament Opener

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawks will make their 15th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, beginning on Saturday, March 23, with a first round matchup against Michigan.

Tipoff from the Galen Center in Los Angeles is set for 1 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on ESPNEWS with Elise Woodward (play-by-play) and Mary Murphy (analyst) on the call. Fans can also listen to the game on the Jayhawk Radio Network from Learfield, with Steven Davis calling the action.

"We are excited to be back in the tournament. Michigan is an exceptional program that has been a very consistent tournament participant and facing them will be a great challenge. I think it’s really beneficial for us to have three starters who have participated in the NCAA Tournament, along with playing six postseason games a year ago. Our team will be ready for the challenge that’s ahead of us."

Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider

Kansas earned the No. 8 seed in the Portland 3 Region and the Jayhawks enter the tournament with a 19-12 record. KU is one win away from a third-consecutive 20-win season and the 24th in program history.

The Jayhawks are in the postseason for the third-straight season under the direction of head coach Brandon Schneider. KU returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine years in 2022, earning a No. 8 seed and going 1-1 with a victory over No. 9 Georgia Tech before falling to eventual Final Four participant Stanford in the second round.

Last season, Kansas was among the First Four Out of the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks then went on an inspired run to the 2023 WNIT Championship, winning six-straight games at Allen Fieldhouse, including a 66-59 win over Columbia in the championship game in front of a crowd of 11,701 fans.

Kansas is 14-14 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 10-4 record in first round games. The Jayhawks have won three-straight tournament openers, including a 77-58 victory over Georgia Tech on March 18, 2022, which is the program’s largest margin of victory in a tournament game.

Kansas Jayhawks

Saturday’s first round matchup will be the third all-time meeting between Kansas and Michigan in women’s basketball, and first in the postseason. The two teams previously played a home-and-home series, with Kansas winning 77-66 in Lawrence on Nov. 22, 2009, before Michigan claimed a 75-67 victory on Dec. 9, 2010, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Franklin, who received All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, has since become KU’s all-time leader in games played (152) and minutes played (5,023). She is sixth on KU’s all-time scoring list with 1,899 career points, while also ranking No. 4 in assists, No. 5 in free throws made and No. 8 in 3FG made.

Jackson, a three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection, is KU’s all-time leader in blocked shots with 298, which ranks No. 5 among active players in NCAA Division I women’s basketball. Jackson is No. 3 nationally with 3.1 blocks per game, and she’s third in school history with 40 career double-doubles. This season, Jackson is second on the team with 12.6 points per game and second in the Big 12 with an average of 9.8 rebounds per game.

Kansas returns five players who appeared in both NCAA Tournament games in 2022, including three starters in super-seniors Zakiyah Franklin, Taiyanna Jackson and Holly Kersgieter.

Kersgieter is a four-time All-Big 12 honoree after receiving honorable mention this season. KU’s all-time leader in three-pointers made with 269, she is third on the team in scoring at 11.7 points per game after scoring 17 points vs. Texas in the Big 12 Quarterfinals. Kersgieter is No. 5 on KU’s all-time scoring list with 1,911 career points, needing 25 to surpass Danielle McCray (2006-10) for No. 4.

Making her NCAA Tournament debut will be Kansas’ freshman standout S’Mya Nichols. An All-Big 12 First Team selection, Nichols is leading the Jayhawks with 15.2 points per game. Her scoring average ranks third in school history for a freshman and her 471 points is the most by a Jayhawk freshman since 1979. A two-time Big 12 Freshman of the Week, Nichols was also a unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.

Up Next
With a win, Kansas would advance to face the winner of (1) USC and (16) Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 25.

Kansas Jayhawks