Jayhawks Set For Final Bout With Mountaineers in 2015
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball heads east to close out the regular-season series with West Virginia on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. (CT), inside WVU Coliseum. A KU victory would clinch a series sweep for the Jayhawks, who defeated the Mountaineers, 65-59, in the first meeting two weeks ago. The contest will air on Root Sports and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas takes to the road after going 1-1 in a two-game homestand with Texas Tech (W, 71-67) and Oklahoma State (L, 57-65). Five Jayhawks posted double figures in the win against Texas Tech, marking the first time this season and the first time since Jan. 25, 2014 to accomplish the feat. Three Jayhawks finished with 10 or more points against Oklahoma State, including Asia Boyd, who posted her fourth career double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds). After taking down the Mountaineers at home on Jan. 24, 65-59, Kansas looks to extend to a two-game win streak over West Virginia, after losing three straight prior to this season’s win. The Jayhawks are looking for their fifth Big 12 win this season as they sit with a 4-7 mark in the conference.
Senior forward Chelsea Gardner is averaging a team-high 16.3 points per game, the third-best average in the league, while shooting 54.8 percent from the field. Senior guard Natalie Knight has stayed consistent for the Jayhawks connecting on 37.4 percent of her shots from beyond the arc. She is second the team with 12.2 points and 4.0 assists per game. Knight has scored in double figures in all but five games this year, while Gardner has posted 20 games this season with 10 or more points. Fellow classmate Asia Boyd follows Knight and Gardner on the roster with 9.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Freshmen guards Lauren Aldridge and Chayla Cheadle are making an impact in KU’s lineup averaging 7.9 and 6.3 points, respectively. Aldridge has started every game this season at point and is fifth in the conference in assists per game with 4.5. She has played the most minutes (808) among the Jayhawks in 2014-15. Cheadle led the squad with 15 points at Kansas State (1/11) and is connecting on 34.4 percent of her shots from long range. Sophomore forward Jada Brown is the final member of Kansas’ starting lineup. The Las Vegas, Nevada native is grabbing 2.9 rebounds per contest, which is fifth-best on the team. She is also averaging 1.8 points per game in 24 starts.
The Jayhawks are averaging 63.9 points per game with a +2.9 scoring margin over their opponents. KU is shooting 43.9 percent from the field, while holding its opponents to shooting 37.9 percent. Kansas has connected on 36.3 percent of its attempts from the three-point line, which is the best mark in the Big 12. The Jayhawks are averaging 36.0 rebounds, 14.5 assists, 6.1 steals and 4.1 blocks per game.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
• Three or more Jayhawks have netted double-figure scoring performances in 18 of Kansas’ 24 games this season. KU had four reach double-digit scoring in three-straight games and in a total of eight contests. Senior forward Chelsea Gardner has scored 10 or more points in 20-of-24 games in 2014-15, while senior guard Natalie Knight has contributed double figures in all but five games this season. For the first time this season, Kansas had five players in double figures against Texas Tech (2/4).
• Kansas is 4-2 in its last six Big 12 games. KU’s winning ways began after senior guard Asia Boyd knocked in a layup in the final seconds at Texas Tech (1/21) to seal the victory. Over the span of the last six games, Boyd is averaging 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field.
• The outcomes of Kansas’ last six contests have been decided by single-digit margins. Of KU’s four wins, the largest winning margin was six, while the lowest was two points. In the pair of losses, the Jayhawks was defeated by eight points each time, which was also a result of late fouling and free throw shooting in attempts to gain possession back late in the game.
• Boyd is the latest Jayhawk to record a double-double after an 11-point, 12-rebound performance against Oklahoma State (2/7). She is the third Jayhawk to post a double-double during the 2014-15 season. Knight recorded her first career double-double against Arkansas State (12/14) and Gardner has six double-double efforts on the year.
• Kansas’ all-time record is 783-561 while the program has an all-time conference record of 241-256. Head coach Bonnie Henrickson is 342-227 all-time and 184-165 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 982 career points and needs 18 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.
• Rookie Lauren Aldridge is one of two freshmen in the Big 12 Conference starting at the point guard position. The Marshfield, Missouri native is fifth in the league in assists per game with 4.5 and is in the top 10 in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (seventh, 1.5).
SCOUTING THE Mountaineers
West Virginia heads into Tuesday’s contest with a 14-9 mark and a 4-7 record in Big 12 Conference play. The Mountaineers are looking to get back on track after a loss halted the momentum of back-to-back victories over No. 24 Oklahoma (2/1) and TCU (2/4). Winners of five of its last seven, West Virginia now sits tied for sixth in the conference with Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
Junior guard Bria Holmes leads the way for the Mountaineers averaging 19.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Senior forward Averee Fields follows with 13.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Holmes tallied 16 points in the previous matchup with Kansas, while Fields grabbed nine rebounds. Redshirt sophomore center Lanay Montgomery chalks up the most boards with 8.0 rebounds per game. Montgomery has also blocked 83 shots so far this season, which leads the Big 12.
Collectively, West Virginia averages 68.4 points per game behind a +8.1 scoring margin over its opponents and is shooting 41.2percent from the field. The Mountaineers lead the conference in blocks with 155 and also on the offensive boards with 380.
Heading into Tuesday’s match up, the Jayhawks lead the all-time series 4-3, but the Mountaineers have a 2-1 record in Morgantown.
When the two teams meet for the eighth time, the Jayhawks will look to move ahead of the Mountaineers in the Big 12 conference standings, as both teams currently sit tied for sixth.
Last Time Out
Kansas picked up its second Big 12 victory of the season after defeating West Virginia by a score of 65-59 on Superhero Day (1/24) in Allen Fieldhouse. Senior forward Chelsea Gardner had a historic performance with 20 points and 20 rebounds, becoming the first Kansas women’s basketball player to reach that milestone in over 33 years. Senior guards Asia Boyd and Natalie Knight also posted double figures with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Freshman guard Lauren Aldridge grabbed five steals and tied her career-high eight assists.
Seniors Asia Boyd, Chelsea Gardner, Natalie Knight and Bunny Williams will not only lead the Jayhawks as captains, but will also be a strong force for Kansas during the season on the court. During 2013-14, the four seniors accounted for almost 60 percent of Kansas’ 2,134 total points (1,273). Leading the pack was Gardner, who tallied a team-high 548 points throughout the season. The captains were also successful behind the arc tallying 96 three-point shots. Knight knocked down 63 of these, which was the fourth-highest in program history. To add to this success, they chalked up 563 total rebounds and Gardner led again with 270 rebounds. During the seniors’ tenure at Kansas, the Jayhawks made back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16’s in 2012 and 2013.
Senior forward Chelsea Gardner opened the 2014-15 season with her 50th double-digit scoring effort and her 21st double-figure rebounding performance with 24 points and 11 rebounds on Nov. 16 against South Dakota. She converted six of her nine shots in the 2014-15 season opener for a 64.3 shooting percentage from the field. Gardner has 24 double-doubles in her career and six on the year, which is tied for third in the league. During her senior campaign, Gardner is averaging 16.3 points, the third-best scoring average in the Big 12, and 8.0 rebounds per game, which is the fifth-best mark in the league. She is also shooting 54.8 percent from the field, which is good for fifth among the Big 12 players.
THE YOUNG AND RESTLESS
Kansas added four freshmen to the 2014-15 roster during the offseason and several are making an impact for the Jayhawks. Lauren Aldridge has started all 24 games at point guard and is fourth on the team in scoring with 7.9 points per game. She played two games in a row without a turnover while dishing out 13 assists. Aldridge has scored in double figures 10 times, including a season-high 14 against No. 3 Baylor (1/17) and Oklahoma State (2/7). Chayla Cheadle is tied for fifth on the team with 6.3 points per game and scored a career-high 19 points against Arkansas State (12/14), 16 of those coming in the final 20 minutes of play. Terriell Bradley came off the bench against Creighton (12/22) to net a career-high 21 points. She also recorded the second-best single-game three-point percentage after a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc against Iona (11/26).
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
After 24 games of the 2014-15 campaign, Kansas has several players among the top of Big 12 statistical categories. Senior Chelsea Gardner is third in the league in scoring (16.3), fifth in rebounds (8.0) and fifth in field goal percentage (54.8). Gardner is third in the Big 12 in blocks per game (2.1). Senior Natalie Knight is fourth in the conference in three-point field goal percentage (37.4). Freshman Lauren Aldridge is No. 5 in assists per game (4.5). The Jayhawks lead in the league in three-point percentage (36.3) and are third in free throw percentage (71.0).
A SPARK OFF THE BENCH
The Jayhawks’ bench is providing a spark offensively in 2014-15 and is averaging 19.9 points per game. Kansas’ bench has scored in double figures in 22 of 24 games this year, including a season-high 49 against Iona (11/30). KU’s bench has scored 20 or more points on 11 occasions. Senior Asia Boyd is one of the first players head coach Bonnie Henrickson calls upon off the bench and she is the Jayhawks’ third-leading scorer with 9.8 points per game.
Kansas concludes the 2015 regular-season series with No. 16 Texas on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks look to split the series with a victory next weekend over the Longhorns.
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