Kansas Hosts Mountaineers in Big 12 Home Opener
Freshman Aisia Robertson
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball returns to Allen Fieldhouse to host West Virginia in its Big 12 Conference home opener on Sunday, Jan. 3. In their first game of the new year, the Jayhawks tipoff at 2 p.m., against the Mountaineers on the Jayhawk Television Network and the Jayhawk IMG Sports Radio Network.
AROUND THE GYM
Sunday is Jay Days inside Allen Fieldhouse with special prices at the concession stand. Hot dogs and popcorn are $2 each, while fudge bars are a $1.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
- The all-time series against West Virginia is knotted up at four games each. KU owns a 2-2 mark against the Mountaineers in Allen Fieldhouse.
- The Jayhawks own a 119-194 all-time record against Big 12 Conference foes.
- Kansas has a record of 410-169 (.709) in Allen Fieldhouse. Over the last five seasons, Kansas has posted a 65-32 mark on its home court. This season, Kansas owns a 4-3 mark at home.
- When Brandon Schneider-coached teams are leading with less than five minutes to play, his overall record is 351-12, and 5-0 at Kansas.
- The Jayhawks have recorded 30 or more points in the paint on seven different occasions, including a season-high 48 against Oral Roberts (12/22).
- KU’s bench outscored Oklahoma’s bench, 23-15, on Dec. 30. The Jayhawks’ bench has combined for 20 or more points in a game five times in 2015-16.
- Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge has recorded double-figure scoring performances in nine of 12 games so far this season, while freshman Kylee Kopatich has logged double-digits in 10 of 12 games this year, including the last nine contests. Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen has posted double-digit scoring efforts on seven occasions, including her second double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) of the 2015-16 season against Navy (12/13).
- Freshman guard Jayde Christopher has dished out three or more assists on six occasions, including a career-high mark of six against Northern Illinois (11/27). She leads the team with 31 assists.
- Manning-Allen has swatted away a team-high 22 blocks this season, averaging 2.0 per game. She is on pace to rank among the top-5 blocks for juniors and KU’s top-10 season records. She needs 31 more to crack Kansas’ top-10 season list and 20 to etch her name into the junior record.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks (5-7, 0-1 Big 12) look to snap a three-game losing streak at home against West Virginia after falling to No. 18 Oklahoma, 67-44, on Wednesday, Dec. 30, in their Big 12 conference opener. Kansas tied a season-low with 44 points, shooting 32 percent from the field. Early foul trouble for the Jayhawk front court led to the Sooners finding a rhythm inside, outscoring Kansas 36-22 in the paint and collecting 15 offensive rebounds. The Mountaineers will be the first conference opponent of the 2015-16 season to face the Jayhawks inside Allen Fieldhouse. Over the last 10 seasons, Kansas is 3-7 in Big 12 home openers.
Freshman Kylee Kopatich led the squad in scoring for the fourth time this season with 10 points against the Sooners. Kopatich has recorded double figures in 10 of 12 games this season and averages 11.4 points per game, third in the Big 12 among freshmen. She also converted on 2-of-2 free throws against Oklahoma, and now leads the Jayhawks in free throw percentage (.775) as well as free throws made (31).
Kansas saw consistent production from its bench against Oklahoma, which outscored the Sooners 23-15. It also marked the fifth time this season that the bench players for the Jayhawks have netted 20 or more points. Sophomore Chayla Cheadle tallied nine points on 4-of-8 shooting, her second 50 percent shooting performance of the season. Freshman Tyler Johnson shot efficiently, connecting on 4-of-5 attempts for eight points and paired the scoring with four rebounds. Redshirt junior Timeka O’Neal found the bottom of the net on two of the team’s four three-pointers on Wednesday, and is shooting a team-high 42.5 percent from long range.
Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen logged five points against the Sooners, and tied Kopatich and Cheadle for a team-high five boards to bring her season total to 83. Manning-Allen’s rebounds per game (6.9) and blocks per game (1.8) both lead the Jayhawks.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS
West Virginia is 11-3 on the season and 0-1 in the Big 12 after losing to No. 5 Texas, 65-54, in Morgantown on Wednesday evening. The Mountaineers were held to a season-low 54 points on 30 percent shooting from the field. West Virginia now faces its first conference foe away from home, and holds a 1-2 record all-time in Big 12 road openers, with its one victory coming against the Jayhawks on Jan. 2, 2014, by a score of 65-55.
The Mountaineers finished seventh in the Big 12 in 2014-15 with a 7-11 record, and are picked to finish sixth in the conference this year by the coaches’ preseason poll. Last season, the Mountaineers reached the championship game of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), where they fell to UCLA, 60-62. West Virginia is led by senior co-captain Bria Holmes, who was an unanimous all-Big 12 First Team selection in each of the past two seasons. Holmes’ co-captain is junior Lanay Montgomery, the Big 12’s leader in blocks last season with 124, a mark that ranked 10th in the NCAA. Three more returners and 11 newcomers make up the rest of the Mountaineer roster.
Holmes is once again leading the way for the Mountaineers, averaging 17.1 points per game, a mark that ranks fourth in the Big 12. Holmes has recorded 3.5 assists per game this season, and holds a 1.58 assist-to-turnover ratio that is 10th in the conference. The New Haven, Connecticut native is also shooting a team-high 53.2 percent from the field.
Montgomery, a 6-5 center, is nearly averaging a double-double with 10.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest. A product of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, she ranks third in the Big 12 in rebounds, and is repeating her performance from last season leading the conference in blocked shots with 41.
Through 14 games, West Virginia is averaging 73.2 points per game and shooting 44.0 percent from the field. The Mountaineers are second in the Big 12 in blocked shots with 5.64 per game. West Virginia ranks just above Kansas in three-point field goals per game at 5.79, to Kansas’ 5.75.
THIS DAY IN KU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY
Record on Jan. 3: 7-6
Kansas women’s basketball will play on the 3rd day of January for the 14th time in program history. The first meeting on Jan. 3 was in 1979 against West Texas A&M, while the last was at Texas in 2015. In 2007, Taylor McIntosh recorded a season-high 14 points and a career-best 17 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive glass, as Kansas defeated Boston University, 71-57, inside Allen Fieldhouse.
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
The Jayhawks are the only team in the Big 12 without a senior on their roster. In fact, Kansas will not face another team during the regular season that does not have at least one senior on its squad. The last time a Kansas roster did not include a senior was the 2002-03 season. The Jayhawks, along with West Virginia, boast the most underclassmen on their respective rosters with 10 each.
INSIDE THE PAINT
Kansas is averaging 30.8 points per game in the paint, which is the highest average scoring in the lane by the Jayhawks since the 2012-13 campaign when KU netted 35.2 points per game in the paint. The Jayhawks have recorded 30 or more points in the paint on seven different occasions, including a season-high 48 against Oral Roberts (12/22). During the 2012-13 season, KU had two games with 68 or more points in the paint.
The Jayhawks face the nationally-ranked Baylor Lady Bears on Wednesday, Jan. 6. The contest is slated for 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. Fans can follow along on the Jayhawks Television Network, as well as the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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