|Kansas vs. Kansas State
||Friday, March 6
||American Airlines Center
||Kansas State leads 68-43
||FOX College Sports
||Jayhawk Radio Network
|Stats at a Glance
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball squares off with in-state rival Kansas State in the first round of the 2015 Big 12 Championship on Friday, March 6 at 6 p.m., inside the American Airlines Center. The No. 9 seeded Jayhawks ended the regular season with a pair of victories over Oklahoma and Iowa State and are the only team to enter the postseason championship with back-to-back wins. The first round match up with the No. 8 seed Wildcats will air on FOX College Sports and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas heads to Dallas at the No. 9 seed in the 2015 Big 12 Championship after posting back-to-back wins against Oklahoma (2/28) and Iowa State (3/2) to conclude regular-season play. In-state rival, Kansas State, is the matchup for the first round of the tournament, and Kansas is looking to bring home its first win against the Wildcats after falling twice to KSU in the regular season. Just a season ago, the Jayhawks went 1-1 at the Big 12 Championships before being eliminated by eventual winner Baylor.
Senior forward Chelsea Gardner is averaging a team-high 16.8 points per game, the third-best average in the league, while shooting 52.6 percent from the field. The DeSoto, Texas native posted 20 or more points in the final two games of the regular season, and 11 times in all. Senior guard Natalie Knight has stayed consistent for the Jayhawks, connecting on 37.9 percent of her shots from beyond the arc. She is second on the team with 12.5 points and 3.8 assists per game. Knight has scored in double figures in all but seven games this year, while Gardner has posted 27 games this season with 10 or more points.
Freshmen guards Lauren Aldridge and Chayla Cheadle are making an impact in KU’s lineup averaging 8.0 and 5.8 points, respectively. Aldridge has started every game this season at point and is third in the conference in assists per game with 5.0. She has played the most minutes (1,083) among the Jayhawks in 2014-15. Cheadle is connecting on 33.3 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 2.8 rebounds per contest, which is fifth-best on the team. She is also averaging 2.0 points per game in 30 starts.
The Jayhawks are averaging 63.7 points per game with a +1.6 scoring margin over their opponents. KU is shooting 42.9 percent from the field, while holding its opponents to shooting 38.3 percent. Kansas has connected on 35.3 percent of its attempts from the three-point line, which is the best mark in the Big 12. The Jayhawks are averaging 36.2 rebounds, 14.3 assists, 6.0 steals and 4.6 blocks per game.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
• Since the inception of the Big 12 Championship in 1997, Kansas has recorded a 13-18 mark in conference postseason action. Dating back to 1983, the Jayhawks are 32-29 in league postseason play. KU played in the championship game in 1998, but lost to Texas Tech, 71-53. The last championship title that Kansas won was in 1993.
• Three or more Jayhawks have netted double-figure scoring performances in 22 of Kansas’ 31 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 27-of-31 games in 2014-15, including nine-straight, while senior guard Natalie Knight has contributed double figures in all but seven games this season. For the first time this season, Kansas had five players in double figures against Texas Tech (2/4).
• Kansas has out rebounded its opponents 15 times this season, including two of the last three games. KU has reached the 50 rebound plateau twice this year with the last being against K-State (2/25). Knight has posted double-figure rebound efforts in two of the last three games.
• KU averages 26.9 points in the paint in 31 games and has netted 30 or more points in the paint in 11 contests. The Jayhawks chalked up a season-best 46 points in the paint against Alabama (11/21).
• Gardner has recorded five blocks in three of her last six outings and totaled 22 blocks over the six-game span. Gardner is third in the Big 12 with 2.4 blocks per game.
• Rookie Lauren Aldridge is one of two freshmen in the Big 12 Conference starting at the point guard position. The Marshfield, Missouri native is third in the league in assists per game with 5.0 and has dished out five or more assists in 10 of her last 13 outings, including a career-best 10 assists at TCU (2/17).
• Kansas’ all-time record is 785-566 while the program has an all-time conference record of 243-261. Head coach Bonnie Henrickson is 344-232 all-time and 186-170 at KU.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Kansas State finished the regular season with a 17-12 record overall and a 7-11 mark in Big 12 play. KSU fell to the Jayhawks a year ago in the first round of the 2014 Big 12 Championship and is looking to finished with an unblemished 3-0 record against KU this season. The Wildcats are coming off of a win at home against West Virginia, 59-55, and hope to continue the momentum from the victory against Kansas.
Two Wildcats are averaging double figures with sophomore forward Breanna Lewis leading the way at 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. She is second in the league with 3.1 blocks per game. With 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest, senior guard Ashia Woods follows. Just shy of a double-figure average is senior guard Haley Texada with 9.9 points per game, behind a 32.0 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. She led the Wildcats against West Virginia with a season-high 22 points, including a career-high 12-of-13 effort from the free throw line.
Collectively, Kansas State averages 58.8 points per game behind a +1.8 scoring margin over its opponents and is shooting 38.3 percent from the field. The Wildcats pull down 34.1 rebounds per contest and collects 11.5 steals. K-State is averaging 4.8 blocks per game, which is good for third in the Big 12.
Kansas State leads all-time over Kansas, 68-43, including a 2-0 record against the Jayhawks during the 2014-15 regular season.
A win for Kansas would advance the Jayhawks to the second round of the 2015 Big 12 Championship, in which it would face No. 1 seed Baylor.
Last Time Out
A season-low 29.3 percent shooting performance coupled with 23 turnovers spelled disaster for the Jayhawks in what ended as a 55-48 home loss at the hands of Kansas State. Despite the loss, the Jayhawks swatted 11 shots, their most in a single game since deflecting 11 Texas A&M Corpus-Christi shots on Nov. 17, 2010. KU’s 54 boards are the most by a Kansas team since snatching 58 balls of the glass against TCU on Feb. 13, 2013.
FOUR JAYHAWKS EARN BIG 12 HONORS
The 2015 regular season has concluded and four Jayhawks were awarded All-Big 12 honors for their efforts throughout the season. Four honorees for Kansas women’s basketball marks the most since 2000 when KU have five all-conference selections. Senior forward Chelsea Gardner was selected to the All-Big 12 First Team, while rookie guard Lauren Aldridge earned a spot on the All-Big 12 Freshman Team. Senior guards Asia Boyd and Natalie Knight were named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.
JAYHAWKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Kansas is among one of the most televised women’s basketball programs in the country. The Jayhawks had three regular-season games featured on FOX Sports Network, while every home game was aired on the new Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3. Kansas’ first round game against Kansas State will be the fourth game this season that the Jayhawks have appeared on FOX Sports Network. KU played 26 contests in 2014-15 in front of a nationally-televised audience.
Kansas heads to Dallas, Texas for the 2015 Big 12 Championship March 6-9. The winner of the Kansas vs. K-State will face No. 1 seed Baylor on Saturday, March 7 at 1:30 p.m. All of Kansas’ games will air on the Jayhawk Radio Network and the FOX Sports Network.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.