Jayhawks Head to Manhattan for Sunflower Showdown
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball heads west for the first of two Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown match-ups in 2014 on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 1 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks (9-10, 2-5 Big 12) are looking to win their second-straight contest over the Wildcats (8-10, 2-5 Big 12) in Manhattan and extend the winning streak to three games. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas heads to Manhattan after facing two-consecutive top 10 ranked teams and recording a 1-1 mark after defeating then-No. 7 Baylor and losing late in the second half to No. 8 Oklahoma State. KU is averaging 66.3 points per game, while shooting 43.0 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better from the three-point line twice in 2013-14. Kansas averages 37.0 rebounds per game and has outrebounded 12-of-19 opponents. Kansas’ bench is scoring 19 points per game and has reached the 20-point mark in nine games this season.
Junior Chelsea Gardner posted her second double-double in as many games after a 15 point, 11 rebound effort against No. 8 Oklahoma State. The forward leads the Big 12 with six double-doubles this season and has 11 in her career. She is shooting 59.4 percent from the field for the third-best field goal percentage in the Big 12 and 10th-best in the country. Gardner leads the team with 16.3 points per game, has recorded four-straight double-digit scoring efforts and 16 total in 2013-14. Senior CeCe Harper has knocked in double figures in four of the last six games and is second in the league in Big 12-only games with 5.4 assists. Harper is 48th in country in assists per game with 5.1 on the year. Junior Natalie Knight recorded her third double-figure scoring effort in the last five games and has 10 double-figure scoring performances this season. Knight is averaging nine points per game and is shooting 40.9 percent (61-149) from the field.
Newcomer Jada Brown scored a career-best 10 points at Texas (1/15) for her first double-figure scoring effort. The forward has started five games and appeared in 18, while averaging 1.8 points and 2.1 rebounds a contest on the year. Freshman guard Keyla Morgan is the other rookie in the starting lineup this season. Morgan has had two double-digit scoring efforts in her initial season with KU, the first against then-No. 2 Duke. She is averaging 5.5 points per game and shooting 50 percent (8-16) from behind the three-point line. Junior guard Asia Boyd is the only other Jayhawk averaging double figures with 11.6 points per game. In KU’s upset win over Baylor, Boyd was one point shy of her third double-double of the season. She has appeared in every 2013-14 game, playing 27.5 minutes a contest and grabbing 5.5 boards per game, which is second-best on the squad.
Freshman forward Caelynn Manning-Allen has provided a spark off the bench for Kansas. The Chicago native recorded two blocked shots against No. 8 Oklahoma State and has the second-most on the team with 15. Manning-Allen scored a career-high six points against Texas (1/15) and grabbed a career-best 10 boards against Texas Tech (1/11). Freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez recorded 10 points against the ranked Cowgirls for her second double-figure scoring effort. On the season, she is shooting 36.1 percent from the three-point line and averaging 4.6 points a contest. Senior guard Markisha Hawkins scored 12 points at TCU (1/8) for her second double-digit scoring effort of the year. She is averaging 4.2 points and 1.3 rebounds per game in 13.1 minutes a contest.
Sophomore guard Lamaria Cole is averaging 3.1 points and 1.4 assists per game. Junior forward Bunny Williams is grabbing 2.1 boards per game while shooting 69.2 (9-13) percent from the field. Freshman guard Dylan Gonzalez is averaging 1.3 points behind 62.5 (5-8) percent from the field.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
- The Jayhawks have won two-consecutive contests over the Wildcats heading into Saturday’s Sunflower Showdown and trail Kansas State 62-44 in the overall series. Kansas’ longest winning streak over K-State is seven games from 1992-95.
- Both teams enter the game having claimed recent upsets against top-ranked opponents. KU defeated then-No. 7 Baylor (1/19), while K-State was victorious over then-No. 11 Iowa State (1/18).
- Junior forward Chelsea Gardner was named espnW National Player of the Week and Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week after recording 28 points and 13 rebounds in the 76-60 upset over Baylor.
- Gardner posted her conference-leading sixth double-double of the season and 11th of her career in the loss to No. 8 Oklahoma State (1/22). The DeSoto, Texas native recorded back-to-back doubles this week, which she did earlier this year in games against Minnesota and Central Michigan.
- Defensively, Kansas has held four opponents under 35 percent from the field and 10 opponents under 40 percent shooting in 2013-14. KU has held Big 12 opponents under 40 percent shooting in four of seven contests with the lowest being Texas Tech at 29.4 percent. On average, KU’s opponents are shooting 39.5 percent from the field.
- The Jayhawks have outrebounded 12-of-19 opponents this season, including eight of the last 12 games and 9-of-12 games played in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas grabbed a season-best 52 boards against Texas Tech and outrebounded the Red Raiders by 27.
- In 2013-14, Kansas faces 12 opponents that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, five regular season league champions, five WNIT squads and 11 teams coming off 20-win campaigns.
KANSAS VS. Kansas State: THE SERIES
Saturday afternoon’s contest marks the 107th meeting between the in-state rivals for the Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown. The Wildcats lead the overall series 62-44, but the Jayhawks have won two-straight after sweeping the 2013 series. KU enjoyed a seven-game winning streak from 1992-95 and Kansas is 4-15 under head coach Bonnie Henrickson vs. K-State.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Kansas State is 8-10 on the season and, like the Jayhawks, 2-5 in Big 12 play. The Wildcats defeated No. 11 Iowa State 80-74 at home(1/18) and claimed a road victory, 72-65, at Texas Tech (1/14) for their only two conference wins. K-State is coming off a 71-48 loss to Baylor on the road. Freshman guard Leticia Romero leads K-State in points (14.2), rebounds (5.8), assists (4.4) and steals (1.8) per game. Romero was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Week for the week ending on Jan. 19. The Wildcats average 62.8 points per game, while shooting 38.7 percent from the field. Kansas State is averaging 37.6 rebounds, 13.5 assists, 7.0 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.
THE LAST TIME OUT
Kansas ended its 11-game losing skid in games at Bramlage Coliseum with an 89-80 double overtime victory over Kansas State last season. The Jayhawks were led by Carolyn Davis, who posted a season-high 29 points on a 12-for-24 shooting performance. Davis was one of five KU players in double-figure scoring, as Chelsea Gardner tossed in 19, Monica Engelman finished with 12, while Angel Goodrich and Asia Boyd each scored 11. K-State was led by Haley Texada’s 21 points, while Mariah White (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Brittany Chambers (14 points, 11 rebounds) each finished with double-doubles.
HOW THE JAYHAWKS STACK UP NATIONALLY
The national statistical rankings are out and as of Jan. 20 Kansas is in the top half in several categories. The Jayhawks are 43rd in the country in blocked shots per game with 4.6 and 47th in field goal percentage (.430). Individually, Chelsea Gardner has the 10th-best field goal percentage in the country. She is shooting 59.4 percent (120-202) on the season. CeCe Harper ranks 48th in the nation in assists per game with 5.1.
Junior forward Chelsea Gardner has stepped up to the challenge of filling the scoring void left by graduating three 1,000 point scorers at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season. Gardner has scored in double figures in 16-of-19 games this season and is averaging 16.3 points per game. On the season, she is shooting 59.4 percent from the field, which is the third-best field goal percentage in the Big 12. She scored a career-high 30 points against Texas Southern on Dec. 12. Gardner has recorded six double-doubles this year and 11 in her career. She has 741 career points and is on pace to reach 1,000 points by the end of her Jayhawk career.
A KNIGHT’S TALE
Junior Natalie Knight made her return to the hardwood on Oct. 30 in an exhibition contest against Pittsburg State after suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2012-13. The Olathe, Kan., native picked up where she left by being the most consistent Jayhawk on the court. Knight is averaging a team-high 33.1 minutes per game and has turned the ball over just 24 times in 19 appearances. Knight is scoring 9.0 points per game and recorded double-digit points in 11 games. She scored a season-high 20 points behind a career-best six three-pointers on the road against TCU on Jan. 8.
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