🏀 Kansas Rolls in Exhibition Opener, 99-58
ROME, Italy – Freshman S’Mya Nichols scored a team-high 22 points and super-senior Taiyanna Jackson added 21 as the Kansas women’s basketball team cruised to a 99-58 victory over the Italian Select Team on Wednesday night in Rome.
“We had two vets play really well in Wyvette Mayberry and Taiyanna Jackson. It’s great to see Twin (Jackson) go 7-for-8 from the free throw line.,” said Head Coach Brandon Schneider. “I was really excited about the play from three of the newcomers. Our two freshmen I thought were outstanding, in Laia Conesa and S’Mya Nichols. Ryan Cobbins has been with us for about three practices and comes in and scores 12. I was really encouraged by our new additions in how quickly they have acclimated themselves to a group of veterans.”
The Jayhawks were hot out of the gate, as Jackson converted on each of her first four baskets to finish with eight points in the first quarter. Nichols, playing her first exhibition game as a Jayhawk, also had eight points in the quarter as Kansas built an early 26-12 lead after 10 minutes of play.
The second quarter was a tale of free throws. Kansas attempted 17 in the second quarter alone, converting 12, as Jackson went 5-for-6 from the stripe to have 13 points at halftime. Ryan Cobbins scored her first basket in crimson and blue, hitting a three-pointer early in the quarter. On the next possession, Wyvette Mayberry added to her total, banking in a long three ball to give her nine points in the first half as KU led 48-33 at the break.
Holding a 15-point lead at the start of the third quarter, Kansas’ offense and defense both started to heat up. After scoring two points in the first half, freshman Laia Conesa got into a groove, scoring six-straight points and capping off her third quarter by feeding Franklin a flashy no-look pass under the hoop. KU outscored its opponent 26-8 in the third quarter, taking a commanding 74-41 lead into the fourth.
The Jayhawks did not slow down in the fourth. Cobbins hit two three-pointers and had eight points in the fourth, as she was one of seven different players to score a basket in the period. Nichols and Mayberry had four points apiece in the final 10 minutes, while Jackson added three points to her total.
Nichols led the team with 22 points, while Jackson added 21. Mayberry (19) and Cobbins (12) joined them in double figures as nine different players scored in the contest. Zakiyah Franklin and Conesa added eight points apiece, Nadira Eltayeb had six, Holly Kersgieter had three and Danai Papadopoulou added two.
The next game action for Kansas will be on Sunday, August 13 as the Jayhawks take on the Greek Select Team. Tipoff of that game is set for 12 p.m. CT from the Eurohoops Dome in Athens, Greece.