Jayhawks Welcome Oklahoma for Big 12 Home Opener
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball hosts Oklahoma on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks look for their first conference victory, after starting league action last weekend, and 10th win of the season. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas welcomes Oklahoma to Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday for its 2015 Big 12 home opener. KU is 3-7 in its first conference game at home under head coach Bonnie Henrickson. The Jayhawks look to even their conference mark with a victory over the Sooners.
The Jayhawks are averaging 65.6 points per game with a +7.9 scoring margin over their opponents. Kansas has won four of its last seven games, highlighted by a victory over then-No. 10 Cal (12/7). KU is shooting 43.7 percent from the field, while holding its opponents to shooting 34.6 percent. Kansas has connected on 38.4 percent of its attempts from the three-point line, which is the best mark in the Big 12. The Jayhawks are averaging 38.5 rebounds, 14.1 assists, 5.9 steals and 4.4 blocks per game.
Seniors Chelsea Gardner and Natalie Knight are averaging double digits with 16.1 and 12.2 points per game, respectively. Gardner also leads the team with 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest. From beyond the arc, Knight is shooting an impressive 41.8 percent and has shot 50 percent or higher in eight-of-14 games played this year.
Sophomore Jada Brown is the last veteran in Kansas’ starting lineup. She is averaging 2.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, which is third-most on the roster. Against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Brown recorded a career-high 12 points. Freshmen Lauren Aldridge and Chayla Cheadle round out the Jayhawks’ starting five. Aldridge is averaging 7.6 points per game. She dished out a career-high eight assists at Purdue (12/11). Cheadle is averaging 7.0 points per game and is shooting 35.3 percent from beyond the arc.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
• Three or more Jayhawks have netted double-figure scoring performances in 10 of Kansas’ 14 games this season. KU had four reach double-digit scoring in three-straight games and in a total of six contests. Senior Chelsea Gardner has scored 10 or more points in 12-of-14 games in 2014-15, while senior Natalie Knight has contributed double figures in 11 of the Jayhawks’ 14 games this year.
• For the first time in nearly 14 years, the Jayhawks shot 67 percent from three-point range on a minimum of 10 attempts against Incarnate Word (12/4), connecting on 8-of-12 shots from beyond the arc. It marked the highest completion rate from three since Dec. 2, 2000, when Kansas went 8-for-11 (72.7 percent) against St. Joseph in Allen Fieldhouse. KU followed that with a 7-for-11 effort from the three-point line against then-No. 10 Cal (12/7).
• KU has limited its opponents to 34.6 percent shooting from the field. The Jayhawks have held three opponents to less than 30 percent shooting, including holding the Cal Golden Bears to 25 percent from the field. Cal averaged 90 points coming into the match-up and KU kept the Bears under 40 points.
• Kansas’ all-time record is 779-555 while the program has an all-time conference record of 237-250. Head coach Bonnie Henrickson is 338-221 all-time and 180-159 at KU.
• Gardner, a Preseason All-Big 12 selection, joined the 1,000-point club after scoring 24 points in the season opener against South Dakota (11/16). Natalie Knight has 855 career points and needs 145 more to join Gardner in the 1,000-point club, which she is on pace to reach by the end of February. It would mark the first time since 2012-13 that multiple Jayhawks have reached the 1,000-point milestone in the same season.
• Gardner has four double-doubles after 12 games this season and is second in the Big 12 Conference. She posted a Big 12-leading 13 double-doubles last year. Gardner’s 13 double-doubles were the most by a Jayhawk in a single season since Shyra Holden had 14 in 1978-79.
• Gardner has scored 20 or more points in four of Kansas’ 14 games, including a season-high 30 against Alabama (11/22). Gardner has netted double figures in 29 of her last 31 games.
SCOUTING THE SOONERS
Oklahoma opened Big 12 play last weekend by knocking off No. 21 West Virginia, 71-60. A career-high 24 points from sophomore Gioya Carter helped power the Sooners over the Mountaineers. Oklahoma comes into Wednesday’s matchup with a 7-5 mark and is undefeated in the Big 12 Conference, 1-0.
On the season, the Sooners are averaging a Big 12-best 78.0 points per game behind a 45.8 field goal percentage. OU has a + 7.8 scoring margin over their 2014-15 opponents and collects an average of 39.8 rebounds per game. At the helm of Oklahoma’s offense is senior guard Sharane Campbell-Olds, who averages 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
The Sooners are coming off a 18-15 record for the 2013-14 season when they tied for fifth place in the Big 12 with a 9-9 conference mark. Oklahoma received its 15th-straight invitation to the NCAA Tournament, but fell in the first round to DePaul, 104-100, in the highest-scoring regulation game in NCAA Tournament history.
The Sooners lead the all-time series over the Jayhawks, 33-29. The series is tied in Lawrence, 14-14, while Oklahoma leads in Norman, 10-15.
The two teams are set to match up for the 63rd time in program history. The series began on Jan. 30, 1972 when Kansas lost at home, 43-52.
Last Time Out
Markisha Hawkins recorded a career-high 22 points in leading Kansas’ second-half comeback, but the Jayhawks’ late rally fell short in the final minutes and lost to the Sooners by only three points, 61-64. Sixteen of her 22 points came in the second half alone. Collectively, the Kansas defense held Oklahoma to a 34.4 field goal shooting percentage, but the Sooners outrebounded the Jayhawks, 48-25.
A KNIGHT’S TALE
Senior Natalie Knight has had a consistent presence on the hardwood for the Jayhawks since she first stepped on to the court as a freshman in 2011. Knight is three games away from her 100th career start in the Crimson and Blue. She has started every game played since she arrived in Lawrence except the final 15 games of the 2012-2013 season when she suffered a knee injury. The Olathe, Kansas native has played 3,132 in her career and averages 32 minutes per game. During her senior season, Knight is averaging 12.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. She has shot 50 percent or better from the three-point line in eight of KU’s 14 contests. She recorded her first double-double with 13 points and a career-best 15 rebounds against Arkansas State (12/14). Currently, Knight has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.7, which is fourth in the Big 12. In 14 contests, Knight has dished out 53 assists and turned the ball over 20 times in 430 minutes played.
Senior guard Natalie Knight was among the top-10 three-point shooters in the Big 12 during the 2013-14 season. Last year, she shot 40.9 percent from beyond the arc, which was the best percentage in the league. In 2014-15, Knight is shooting 41.8 percent from the three-point line. She has shot 50 percent or higher from behind the arc in eight of KU’s 14 contests, including a season-high 74 percent (3-of-4) against then-No. 1 Notre Dame (11/30), then-No. 10 Cal (12/7) and Incarnate Word (12/4). In her career, Knight is shooting 39.1 percent, which is currently the second-best three-point average in KU women’s basketball history.
For the first time in nearly 14 years, the Jayhawks shot 67 percent from three-point range on a minimum of 10 attempts against Incarnate Word (12/4), connecting on 8-of-12 shots from beyond the arc. It marked the highest completion rate from three since Dec. 2, 2000, when Kansas went 8-for-11 (72.7 percent) against St. Joseph in Allen Fieldhouse.
JAYHAWKS FACE TOURNAMENT TESTED OPPONENTS
Kansas faces 14 opponents that advanced to the postseason last season, which is two more than the previous season. KU’s non-conference schedule included three conference champions and seven squads that reached the 20-win plateau. Kansas has a 4-4 record after facing seven programs that appeared in the 2014 postseason.
A SPARK OFF THE BENCH
The Jayhawks bench is providing a spark offensively in 2014-15 and are averaging 19.8 points per game. Kansas’ bench has scored in double figures in 13 of KU’s 14 games this year, including a season-high 49 against Iona (11/30). KU’s bench has scored 20 or more points on six occasions. Senior Asia Boyd is one of the first players head coach Bonnie Henrickson calls upon off the bench and she is the third leading scorer with 9.7 points per game.
Kansas hits the road on Sunday, Jan. 11 to face in-state rival Kansas State at 1 p.m., inside Bramlage Coliseum. The game will air on FOX Sports Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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