Jayhawks Fall in Sunflower Showdown, 59-46
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A barrage of second-half three-pointers could not bring the Jayhawks back into Wednesday’s game against Kansas State, as the Wildcats defeated the Jayhawks, 59-46, inside Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks (5-13, 0-7 Big 12) shot 40 percent from the three-point line in the second half, sinking eight baskets on 20 attempts. The Wildcats (13-5, 3-4 Big 12) chose to attack inside, notching 34 points in the paint over the course of the game. Kansas outscored the visitors 33-32 in the second half, but it was not enough to mount a comeback after Kansas State broke out to a 14-point halftime lead.
Wednesday’s contest marked the first time this season that no Jayhawk reached double-figure scoring. Redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal knocked down three long-range buckets in the second half to lead the team with nine points, her first team-high scoring effort of her career. Sophomore guard Chayla Cheadle and freshman forward Tyler Johnson each tallied eight points. Cheadle swiped a career-high three steals, while Johnson made an impact off the bench, adding four rebounds and KU’s only block.
Junior forward Breanna Lewis of Kansas State showed why she is one of the conference’s most dominant players in the paint. Lewis recorded her seventh 20-point game, putting in 23 points, grabbing 13 boards and a season-high seven blocks. Junior guard Kindred Wesemann scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from distance and a perfect 2-2 at the free throw line.
Over five minutes had ticked off the clock before Kansas got on the scoreboard with a jumper from Johnson. The 0-of-6 shooting to start the contest allowed the Wildcats to get out to an early 6-0 lead with three layups from Lewis. The cold shooting continued for the Jayhawks, who missed their final four shot attempts of the quarter following Johnson’s bucket.
Kansas State faced similar struggles, enduring a 1-of-7 shooting stretch as the score held at 8-2 in favor of the visitors for over two and a half minutes of game time. The two teams were a combined 0-of-10 from long range until a triple from sophomore forward Kaylee Page fell right before the first quarter buzzer to give Kansas State the lead, 11-2.
Freshman F Tyler Johnson tied her career-high with eight points
Kansas’ first four shots of the second quarter did not drop, and the period started to resemble the previous 10 minutes of action. The Jayhawks got it going with back-to-back field goals, fueling a 5-0 run to pull the game back to single-digits at 18-10 with 3:45 left in the half. Kansas State outscored the home squad 9-3 over the remainder of the half to take a 27-13 advantage into the break. The 13.6 percent first half shooting and 13 points for Kansas both marked season-lows.
Shots started to fall in the second half for the Jayhawks. Four of KU’s five field goals in the third quarter came from beyond the arc, with the final leaving Aldridge’s hands just before the clock hit zero and banking home off the glass. The buzzer-beater brought the deficit back to the halftime total of 14 points, with the Wildcats leading, 43-29, heading into the final quarter.
Kansas’ energy picked up early in the fourth period when O’Neal sunk a three-ball on the team’s first possession. On the defensive end, the Jayhawks continued to force turnovers, and capitalized with 15 second-half points off of Kansas State giveaways. The Wildcats battled through the intensified pressure, shooting an exceptional 57 percent from the field in the second half to defend their lead. Five of the Wildcats’ final seven field goals hit the mark to seal the 59-46 victory, their third-straight in conference play.
- KU trails in-state rival Kansas State, 66-47, in the overall series that began in 1969.
- Kansas drops to 25-28 against K-State when playing in Allen Fieldhouse.
- The Jayhawks are 119-200 all-time against Big 12 Conference foes.
- Head coach Brandon Schneider sent out the starting lineup of four guards: sophomore Lauren Aldridge, redshirt junior Timeka O’Neal, freshman Kylee Kopatich and sophomore Chayla Cheadle, along with junior F Caelynn Manning-Allen in the paint for Kansas.
- The Jayhawks’ 13 points and 13.6 percent (3-of-22) shooting from the field in the first half were both season lows.
- KU’s 30 three-point field goals attempted were a season high, surpassing the Jayhawks’ 25 attempts against both Washington State and Texas earlier this season.
- Tonight’s Sunflower Showdown marked the first time during the 2015-16 season that no player on the Kansas roster scored in double-figures.
- Freshman G Kylee Kopatich drew a charge just minutes into the game to get the defensive stance started for the Jayhawks. She maintained her tough defense on a second charge just before the media timeout in the first 10 minutes of play.
- Freshman F Tyler Johnson hit Kansas’ only bucket of the first quarter, a jumper at the 4:38 mark. The Jayhawks’ two points managed in the first 10 minutes of action tied a season low (UMKC 12/10/15).
- Junior F Jada Brown scored five of her seven total points in the third quarter off the bench, sparking the team’s 16-point offensive output in that 10 minutes of action.
- Sophomore G Chayla Cheadle set a new career high for steals, swiping away three from the Wildcats on the night. She added eight points, dished out three assists and pulled down three rebounds to round out an impressive night overall.
- Redshirt junior G Timeka O’Neal led the Jayhawks in scoring for the first time this season. Her nine points were achieved via three long-range buckets (3-for-7, 42.9 percent) and tied for her second-highest scoring output of the season. She recorded 12 points vs. Texas Southern on Nov. 15 then scored nine points against both Memphis (Nov. 19) and St. John’s (Dec. 6).
Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider
“First, we want to give K-State a lot of credit in the first half for their defensive performance. We struggled to make any shots, I think we made three shots in the first half – shot 14 percent. I was really proud of our defensive effort, especially in the first half. It makes a difference that (Breanna) Lewis gets into foul trouble, but our offense has been our Achilles heel and our inability to make shots, just puts too much pressure on every other part of our game.
On something that could have been changed from the start of the game:
“Well, we missed a couple of layups and we missed a couple of open threes. When you’re not performing at a high level, offensively, there’s a lot of factors that are involved. For us, it’s execution but the biggest part is missing shots and there’s another element of the wrong guys taking the wrong shots.
On finding a go-to player:
“I don’t know if we have that right now on the roster. Our two leading scorers in Lauren (Aldridge) and Kylie (Kopatich) aren’t really those kind of players. They need helping getting them shots, whether it’s coming off of screens or creating a pay for them. Probably, the best candidate, in some instances, is Tyler Johnson. I do think we need to give her more touches inside, probably need to play her more minutes, because she’s probably the only guy in Big 12 play that’s shooting a respectable percentage. She is undersized, and it was going to be tough tonight for her to score over (Breanna) Lewis, but I do think that’s something we’ve tried to do and tried to continue to do a better job of.
On finding the silver linings during the losing streak:
“I think you have to (find those silver linings). The biggest positive I can tell you is that, if you were to walk into our practice, you wouldn’t have any idea if we were 0-7 or 7-0, and that is the biggest compliment I can give our players. They show up every day, they are continuing to work extremely hard and make improvements. Nobody wants to be 0-7, but I do think that there’s some teams that when they get to that point, they can lay down and quit, and we have shown no sign of anything like that.
On whether this was the best game the team has played in the Big 12:
“No, not at all. I don’t know if we’ve played a best game. There’s been quarters where I have been happy with how we played. I thought we did a lot of good things against Baylor when they were here. That was our best defensive game that we’ve played. If you play a best game, you have a win. I think for us you find our best quarters. I’m not going to say we’ve had a best game when we haven’t won a game in the league.”
On three lineup changes the last three games:
“I think Timeka (O’Neal) has been somebody we’ve inserted looking for a little bit more offense out of her and fewer turnovers from that position. That’s why she’s there. Caelynn (Manning-Allen) and Tyler (Johnson) have been back and forth. We went with Caelynn (Manning-Allen) tonight to have a little bit more size on Lewis early in the game. But, I think unless you’re playing really well as team, there is going to be some inconsistencies in the starting lineup.”
On Schneider’s first taste of the rivalry between the two schools:
“We’ve had great crowds. I can’t complement our fan base and our community enough. Because I understand that it would be very easy for them to not come support us based on our record. I do think our players play in a manner with their effort that deserves support. I understand the rivalry and hope that as we continue to improve our program that it’ll be something that’s very intense for a long time.”
On setting goals for the team:
“I’m not a big picture guy in that regard. We leave that up to the players. My goal as a coach is that we try and get better each and every day. We knew coming into this season that we were going to be up against it. Especially when we got to Big 12 play because of our roster and obviously because of our youth. I think we have two goals we’ve been talking about. One is you can’t accept it. You cannot accept it. It’s not okay. The number two, it’s our job to show up every day and continue to get better.”
Kansas redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal
On the frustration of K-State’s ability to keep the game an arms-length away:
“It was a little frustrating. It felt like we worked so hard on offense and that’s what we have been struggling with offensively – getting shots and getting people open. It’s all on us. We take full responsibility. It’s our job to get back on defense and stop the ball and make sure we protect the basket on the opposite end.”
On what the players are trying to accomplish:
“We’re trying to win. That’s the main goal right now. Our record is unacceptable. We know we’re better than that, as a team. Our focus right now is just to find what we need to do to win and that’s about it.”
Kansas State Head Coach Jeff Mittie
“It was a well fought game. We knew it would be, the other group was pretty resilient throughout the night. Found enough offense. I was really proud of Breanna Lewis and the night that she had. She picked up her second foul with eight minutes to go in the second quarter and us still playing pretty solid through there. So all in all, decent performance by us.”
On the Kansas team in general after their first meeting:
“They have good speed and good athletes at the guard spot. They knocked some shots down tonight. It’s a team that has some weapons and we saw them hit more shots as the game went on.”
On keeping a comfortable lead even when it looked like Kansas was making a run:
“We talked about having to play with poise. And, if they made their shots then you have to answer that, and we did. We got the ball to the right people and [Shaelyn] Martin had some big reverse lay-ups in that stretch. We went down to Lewis. Because we’re not such an offensive team that puts up huge numbers, points in that range is big for us.
On getting baskets at the rim:
“I thought it was pretty physical down there. I thought their post really got it. Our group had a pretty decent attack making sure we ran offense through the loop. It’s my fault I only played her [Breanna Lewis] 18 minutes. It’s her fault she got into foul trouble.”
On the potential of the Kansas and Kansas State rivalry in Women’s Basketball:
“We’re both trying to make jumps in the Big 12 and it’s a tough league to jump up in. As we get better, the rivalry will get better. It’s a good rivalry in every sport, it’s a big deal to a lot of people. That’s what makes it fun to play in and fun to coach in. But you’d like to do it in front of seven or eight thousand. I’d like to get to the point where we are both playing for a championship. It’s tough to make jumps in the league and that’s also the fun part of this.”
On the growth of the Kansas State offense this far in the season:
“I think we are a little more efficient than we were. I still feel like we are leaving a lot of points out there, those that we should make. But we are making more plays than we made. We are more efficient than we were a month ago.”
The Jayhawks return to Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday, Jan. 24 for a match-up with the Oklahoma State Cowgirls. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. Fans can follow the action on the Jayhawk Television Network and on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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