West Virginia Downs Kansas, 72-35
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A season-high 25 turnovers beset the Jayhawk offensive attack as the Kansas women’s basketball team fell to the West Virginia Mountaineers by a score of 72-35 on Saturday evening inside WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (15-4, 4-2 Big 12) turned those 25 turnovers into 21 points. Additionally, the WVU interior game overpowered Kansas in the post all evening, putting in 44 points in the paint and swatting away a season-high 10 blocks.
Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge, who contributed 10 points to the team’s season-low total of 35, the Jayhawks in scoring for the 10th time on the season. As the only Kansas player to crack double-figures, Aldridge connected on 4-of-12 attempts and connected on two of the squad’s three long-range baskets.
Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich recorded nine points and seven boards, while junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and was the only Jayhawk to shoot 50 percent or better from the field, making 3-of-6 shots for six points.
West Virginia’s junior center Lanay Montgomery owned the night with her 14-point, 17-rebound double-double performance, her fourth of the season. The Big 12’s second-leading shot blocker continued her trend with a team-high three blocks. Freshman guard Tynice Martin came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while WVU senior guard Bria Holmes matched Montgomery’s point total with 14 points and dished out a game-high five assists.
After making their first attempt of the night, the Mountaineers missed the mark on their next four shots. Kansas took advantage of the WVU cold shooting to take an early lead, tallying an 8-5 margin at the first media timeout of the game. West Virginia emerged from the break on a 10-1 run to conclude the first period, as the Jayhawks struggled through an 0-of-8 shooting stretch.
Three-straight field goals from West Virginia broke the game open in the second quarter, helping the Mountaineers to another 8-2 run and 23-11 lead. A combined seven turnovers over a three-minute span slowed down the scoring in the middle of the period, but the Mountaineers locked in again. In two minutes of game time, a 9-0 run pushed the home team’s lead to 21 points.
Kansas’ turnovers continued to mount, reaching 15 in total by halftime and stunting its offense. The Jayhawks made only five field goals in the first half, including just five points in the second quarter, their lowest-scoring second quarter since putting up seven points against the Mountaineers at home on Jan. 16. West Virginia capitalized with 14 points off the giveaways, contributing to an 18-point halftime advantage at 32-14.
After shooting 21 percent from the field in the first half, things did not get much better for the Jayhawks in the third quarter. Until the 2:08 mark of the period, Aldridge claimed Kansas’ only two field goals. Freshman forward Tyler Johnson and Kopatich each put in a layup before time expired, but an 8-of-16 shooting performance from West Virginia extended the lead to 50-27 heading into the final 10 minutes of action.
The Mountaineers claimed the first nine points of the fourth quarter, growing their lead to 32 points and completely out of reach for Kansas. Manning-Allen collected four of the team’s eight fourth quarter points, but West Virginia cruised to the 72-35 victory
- West Virginia now holds a 6-4 series lead all-time against Kansas.
- KU is now 2-3 when facing the Mountaineers inside WVU Coliseum.
- The Jayhawks are 119-198 all-time against Big 12 Conference foes.
Attendance: 4,006 (14,000 capacity)
- Coach Schneider employed a starting lineup of freshman G Lauren Aldridge, redshirt junior G Timeka O’Neal, freshman G Kylee Kopatich, sophomore G Chayla Cheadle and freshman F Tyler Johnson for the first time this season.
- The Jayhawks tied their season high for blocks in a game with seven, matching their total against NIU (11/27/15).
- Kansas committed 25 turnovers on the night, tying their season-high against SMU (11/28/15).
- West Virginia’s 10 blocks were a season-high for a Kansas opponent.
- Freshman F Tyler Johnson tied her career-high with three blocks. Johnson has recorded three swats on two other occasions, most recently against NIU (11/27/15).
- Junior F Caelynn Manning-Allen shot 50 percent from the field, marking the 11th time this season making at least half of her attempts.
- Redshirt junior G Timeka O’Neal tied her career-high in steals with two, her highest mark since earlier this season against Oklahoma (12/30/15)
- Freshman G Kylee Kopatich drained a game-high five free throws on just six attempts, and continues to be a sharp-shooter from the charity stripe after entering the game ranked eighth in the Big 12
Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider
On today’s game:
“First off, I congratulate Coach Carey on his 600th win. That’s obviously a significant achievement for any coach, and he’s done a great job for a long. I give him a tremendous amount of respect for how he operates his program and how hard he gets his girls to play. Again, completely disruptive for us, probably not the opponent that we need to be playing with the youthful team that we have and our ineptness on the offensive end. They were a big reason for that. They really make it difficult for you to turn the ball from one side of the floor to the other, and when you do turn it over and take a bad shot, they are terrific in transition.”
On the defensive plan:
“We’d like to keep them in front of us. Not get beat to the middle of the floor. I thought we got beat entirely too much. Some of that was off ball screens, which of that coverage was not very good. In both games with these guys, I’ve been happy with some possessions of how we’ve played defensively. Our struggles are on the offensive end and our lack of ability to score really affects our defensive mindset.”
On WVU junior center Lanay Montgomery:
Lots of teams in the league have a lot of big centers. We were able to neutralize her better at our place because she got in foul trouble. I don’t think there’s question that coach Carey’s got his team playing as well as any of the top-three teams in the league right now, and I’d really be surprised if they didn’t finish in the top three.
On his impression of WVU freshman guard Tynice Martin:
“It’s a rare thing in the game today to be a proficient jump-range shooter, and I think that’s what makes her a really tough cover and the fact that she can just elevate over the top. I think we guarded her pretty well a couple of times tonight and she just made jumpers right over the top of us. In those situations you just have to tap a guy on the back and tell them nice play.”
The Jayhawks return to Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Jan. 20 to face in-state foe Kansas State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Fans can follow the action on Fox Sports Network or over the airwaves on the Jayhawk Radio Network