Wildcats Complete Sunflower Showdown Sweep with 81-67 Win
MANHATTAN, Kan. – A career-high 18 points for redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal and a barrage of threes led to Kansas’ best point total in Big 12 play, but the Jayhawks fell to in-state rival Kansas State, 81-67, Saturday night inside Bramlage Coliseum. The win completed the Dillons Sunflower Showdown sweep for the Wildcats.
In an inside vs. outside scoring showdown, a season-high 13 made threes from KU proved insufficient to overcome K-State’s Breanna Lewis, who scored a game-best 24 points as the Wildcats attacked the paint. K-State outscored KU 36-22 in the paint and got 21 points to KU’s six from the free throw line.
A three-pointer from freshman guard Aisia Robertson – one of five different Jayhawks to sink a trey – just after the halftime break brought the Jayhawks (5-19, 0-13 Big 12) to within 10 points of the home team, but the Wildcats (16-8, 5-7 Big 12) answered with a 14-2 run over the next two and a half minutes of action to put the game out of reach.
For the second-straight contest, three Jayhawks cracked the double-digit scoring mark, with O’Neal leading the way on 6-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc – part of 36 total bench points for KU. Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich finished the evening with 11 points – three buckets from long-range – marking the 14th time this season that the Olathe, Kansas native has scored 10 or more points. Freshman forward Tyler Johnson recorded the second double-figure scoring performance of her career, with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
Lewis logged her fourth double-double of the season while also grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. KSU senior guard Megan Deines notched 15 points on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting performance, and added on two rebounds and two assists. Sophomore forward Kaylee Page and senior guard Bri Craig each scored 10 points, while junior guard Kindred Wesemann, the Big 12’s leader in three-pointers made, was held to just nine points.
Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge got the offense going for Kansas on its opening possession of the contest, draining a three-pointer to put the Jayhawks on the board first. With the score tied at 5-5, the Wildcats opened up an early lead on a 7-0 run, extinguished by a triple from O’Neal just before the four-minute mark of the first quarter.
Kansas State pushed the lead to eight points at 16-8 with two minutes left on the clock, but the Jayhawks stepped up their defensive effort to close out the frame, forcing five-straight misses by the home team. Kansas claimed six of the last eight points of the period, with long-range baskets from O’Neal and Robertson, to trail by only four points heading into the second quarter.
Out of the break, both teams locked in on offense, with Kansas sinking 5-of-7 shots while the Wildcats connected on 6-of-7 attempts. Another streak of five missed shots for Kansas State in the middle of the quarter left the door open for Kansas to close the gap, but the Jayhawks could not capitalize a second time with two misses of their own and four turnovers during the same span. The Wildcats outscored Kansas 6-3 over the final two minutes of the half to carry a 13-point lead into the break.
Eight unanswered points from Kansas State in less than a minute of game time left the Jayhawks in an 18-point hole before the seven-minute mark of the third quarter. The streak extended to 12 points before Kopatich’s second three-pointer of the evening brought an end to Kansas State’s run. The Wildcats managed to maintain the 18-point advantage for the remainder of the quarter, leaving the Jayhawks with a sizeable deficit to overcome in the last 10 minutes of play.
All but five of Kansas’ 20 points in the fourth quarter came from the Jayhawk bench, with Johnson and O’Neal each tallying six points, bringing its total to a season-high 36 points. Kansas outscored the home team 20-16 in the final frame, but the Wildcats’ lead was never threatened. At the final buzzer, Kansas State claimed the 81-67 win, its second-consecutive victory inside Bramlage Coliseum.
Kansas State 81, Kansas 67
Feb. 13 2016 – Manhattan, Kansas
Attendance: 5,284 (Capacity: 12,528)
- Kansas dropped to 46-68 all-time against Kansas State and 15-32 when facing the Wildcats in Manhattan.
- Kansas now holds a 119-206 all-time record against Big 12 Conference foes.
- Kansas is now 364-410 away from Allen Fieldhouse.
- Kansas netted a season-high 13 three-pointers on the night, the most since connecting on 13 triples against Iona on Nov. 26, 2014.
- The Jayhawks swiped a season-high 16 steals.
- The Jayhawks dished out 19 assists, another season-high mark.
- The Kansas bench went off for 36 points, contributing more points than in any other game this season.
- Redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal notched a new career-high in scoring against the Wildcats with 18 points.
- O’Neal’s six triples on the night were the most in a single game for any Jayhawk this season.
- Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen dished out a career-high five assists, which also tied for the game-high mark.
- Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich tied her career-high in three-pointers made (3), and finished the night with 11 points.
Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider
On redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal’s six three-pointers:
“She probably should’ve had a couple more. There were a couple that were just off in the first half. Tonight, unfortunately, we just didn’t have a lot of awareness. In the first half, defensively, we didn’t have a lot of awareness. We got beat on a slant screen, we got beat on a cross screen, just situations where you have to have situational awareness and sniff that stuff out, especially when you’re talking about playing defense in February.”
On the improved offensive performance:
“Well we executed better especially in the second half against a variety of zones. We saw a 3-2, we saw a 2-3, we saw some triangle-and-2, but Lauren (Aldridge) committed five turnovers in the second half. We didn’t read the defense and take very good care of the ball in the first half. But I thought we did some good things, we created 22 turnovers, only gave up four offensive rebounds in the second half. Brianna Lewis is just a little too much for us. We tried to cover different things – she got 23 against us at home – so we tried different things and she got 24 against us tonight. She’s just a tough matchup for us”
On putting a complete game together:
“Whether its missing shots or defensive assignments, we just can’t get consistent; things where we haven’t been able to, in certain stretches, get out of our own way.”
The Jayhawks return to Allen Fieldhouse for a matchup with TCU on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. Kansas will face the Horned Frogs twice in less than two weeks, with the second installment of the season series coming on Monday, February 29. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network and ESPN3, and over the airwaves on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.