Kansas Hosts No. 3 Baylor Saturday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas plays in one of the top women’s basketball conferences in the country and has another tough match up on Saturday when No. 3 Baylor comes to Allen Fieldhouse. Tipoff for the game against the Lady Bears is slated for 2 p.m., CT on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas is preparing for its second contest against a top-five opponent in the past five games as the Jayhawks welcome No. 3 Baylor to Allen FIeldhouse on Saturday. KU is looking to snap its five-game Big 12 losing streak that dates back to final game of the 2014 Big 12 Championship.
Senior forward Chelsea Gardner is averaging a team-high 15.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 54 percent from the field. Gardner started the season scoring double figures in the first 10 contests, but has alternated double-digit and single-figure scoring efforts the last six games. The De Soto, Texas native had her best performance since Dec. 4 against Incarnate Word after knocking in 21 points against TCU (1/14). Senior guard Natalie Knight has stayed consistent for the Jayhawks connecting on 42.5 percent of her shots from beyond the arc. She is second the team with 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. The Olathe, Kansas native has scored double figures in all but three games this year.
Freshmen guards Chayla Cheadle and Lauren Aldridge are making an early impact in KU’s lineup and are averaging 7.6 and 7.0 points, respectively. Aldridge has started every game this season at point and is fifth in the conference in assists per game with 4.3 and has played the most minutes (542) in 2014-15. Cheadle led the squad with 15 points at Kansas State (1/11) and is connecting on 38.3 percent of her shots from beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Jada Brown is the final member of Kansas’ starting five. The Las Vegas, Nevada native is grabbing 3.6 rebounds per contest, which is tied for fourth-best on the team. She is also averaging 2.2 points per game in 17 starts.
The Jayhawks are averaging 64.1 points per game with a +4.5 scoring margin over their opponents. KU is shooting 43.6 percent from the field, while holding its opponents to shooting 36.1 percent. Kansas has connected on 37.9 percent of its attempts from the three-point line, which is the second-best mark in the Big 12. The Jayhawks are averaging 37.5 rebounds, 14.6 assists, 5.9 steals and 4.4 blocks per game.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
• Last season the Jayhawks and Lady Bears squared off on the hardwood three times, twice in the Big 12 regular season and once during the conference championship in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Kansas’ leading scorer Chelsea Gardner rises to the occasion when KU plays nationally-ranked opponents. Against Baylor, who was ranked amongst the top-10 in the country in each meeting, Gardner averaged 19.3 points per game in 2013-14.
• Three or more Jayhawks have netted double-figure scoring performances in 11 of Kansas’ 17 games this season. KU had four reach double-digit scoring in three-straight games and in a total of six contests. Gardner has scored 10 or more points in 14-of-17 games in 2014-15, while senior Natalie Knight has also contributed double figures in 14 of the Jayhawks’ 17 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 36.1 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 779-558 while the program has an all-time conference record of 237-253. Head coach Bonnie Henrickson is 338-224 all-time and 180-162 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). Knight has 905 career points and needs 95 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 attempted more than 10 shots 38 times in her four-year career and with her 10-for-13 performance against TCU (1/14), Gardner averages an astounding 52 percent conversion rate in games she has attempted more than 10 shots.
SCOUTING THE LADY BEARS
No. 3 Baylor heads to Lawrence with a 14-game winning streak and overall record of 15-1. The Lady Bears, who have an unblemished 4-0 conference mark, were selected to finish Big 12 play in second place behind Texas. BU’s only loss came early in the season to nationally-ranked Kentucky. The loss on Nov. 17 sparked a winning streak that has reached 14 games in a row.
The Lady Bears come into Saturday’s match up averaging 85.8 points per game, while converting 48.6 percent of their shots taken, both of which are the highest marks in the league. From beyond the arc, BU is connecting on 36.1 percent of its shots with Kristy Wallace leading the way, making 44.2 percent of her shots from the three-point line. This season, the Lady Bears are averaging 48.8 rebounds, 23.2 assists, 8.4 steals and 5.4 blocks per contest. Defensively, Baylor has limited its opponents to 32.6 percent shooting, which is the lowest percentage amongst the Big 12.
Three Lady Bears are averaging double figures in 2014-15. Sophomore forward Nina Davis leads the squad and is second in the conference with 21.6 points and third in the Big 12 with 8.3 rebounds per game. She is shooting 56.8 percent from the field and 67.4 percent from the free throw line. Khadijiah Cave and Imani Wright are also contributing double digits with 13.3 and 10.1 points per contest, respectively. Cave is converting a team-best 63.7 percent of her shots from the field.
Baylor leads the all-time series, 21-9.
Kansas snapped its eight-game skid to the Lady Bears with a 76-60 victory over Baylor in the second meeting of the 2014 conference slate. The Jayhawks opened the series against BU with a 75-62 win in 1978 and won six of the first eight meetings. KU had a 1-2 mark against Baylor last season.
Last Time Out
Chelsea Gardner netted a game-high 21 points the last time out against the Lady Bears. She also added nine rebounds and a block as Kansas fell to Baylor, 81-47, on March 8, 2014 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship. Baylor was led by Nina Davis, who scored a team-high 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Lady Bears. The 2014 Big 12 Player of the Year, Odyssey Sims, scored 15 points and grabbed three rebounds, while Khadijiah Cave was the only other Lady Bear in double figures with 10.
JAYHAWKS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Kansas’ match-up with Notre Dame was the first time this season that KU faced a ranked opponent. It was also the first time that the Jayhawks squared off with the No. 1 team in the nation since 2012-13 when Kansas hosted Baylor in Allen Fieldhouse. The last time KU defeated a nationally-ranked foe was against Cal, 62-39, Sunday (12/7). KU is 1-2 against nationally ranked opponents this season. Since 2004, KU is 14-64 against opponents in the national polls and 4-28 against foes ranked in the top 10. KU has defeated at least one top 10 foe in the past two seasons.
THAT 70’S SHOW
Kansas’ success during the Bonnie Henrickson-era has been pretty much based on 70 points. When the Jayhawks score 70 or more points, Kansas owns a 114-18 record (.869) during her tenure. When KU opponents score less than 70 points, the Jayhawks are 144-74 (.665) during that span.
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 42.5 percent from the three-point line, which is once again one of the top percentages in the conference. She has shot 50 percent or higher from behind the arc in nine of KU’s 17 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 39.4 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.
A SPARK OFF THE BENCH
The Jayhawks’ bench is providing a spark offensively in 2014-15 and are averaging 19.6 points per game. Kansas’ bench has scored in double figures in 15 of KU’s 17 games this year, including a season-high 49 against Iona (11/30). KU’s bench has scored 20 or more points on seven 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 9.3 points per game.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Kansas is set to play 19 games in the comfort of Allen Fieldhouse in 2014-15, 12 of which come during the non-conference slate. KU is off to a 9-3 start at home this season, while the Jayhawks compiled a 9-8 mark in Allen Fieldhouse in 2013-14. KU has a record of 130-61 (.686) in Allen Fieldhouse under head coach Bonnie Henrickson and an all-time home record of 404-162 (.715).
Kansas heads back on the road to continue Big 12 Conference action in Lubbock, Texas, when the Jayhawks take on Texas Tech. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 21. The contest will air on Texas Tech TV and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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