Kansas Opens Exhibition Play with Pittsburg State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball begins the Brandon Schneider era with its first exhibition game of the 2015-16 season when the Jayhawks host Pittsburg State on Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The match up against the Gorillas is the first of two exhibition games and begins a four-game homestand for KU, which tips off the regular season on Nov. 15. Sunday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the Jayhawk IMG Sports Radio Network.
AROUND THE GYM
Sunday is Jay Day at Allen Fieldhouse. Hot dogs and popcorn will be priced at $2 each, while fudge bars are $1. Admission is only $5 with a ticket stub from Saturday’s football game. Schedule magnets will be given away to fans in attendance.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
- The Jayhawks head into the game against Pittsburg State with a 20-game win streak in exhibition play.
- Kansas returns six letterwinners, including three starters, and welcome nine newcomers to the squad in 2015-16.
- A year ago, KU led the Big 12 Conference in three-point field goal percentage (35.6). Sophomore Chayla Cheadle and Lauren Aldridge combined for 33.8 percent from beyond the arc.
- The Jayhawks’ roster features six local products that hail from Kansas or Missouri. Junior Sydney Benoit and freshmen Kylee Kopatich and Tyler Johnson are from the Sunflower State, while redshirt junior Timeka O’Neal and sophomores Lauren Aldridge and Chayla Cheadle are from the Show Me State.
- In the month of November, the Jayhawks have an overall mark of 119-31 (.793). Kansas has won 22 of the last 25 games played in November dating back to the start of the 2010 season.
- Kansas has a record of 406-166 (.715) in Allen Fieldhouse. Over the last five seasons, Kansas has posted a 61-29 mark on its home court.
- The Jayhawks’ bench provided a spark offensively in 2014-15 and averaged 19.0 points per game. Kansas’ bench scored in double figures in 29 of 32 games.
- Pittsburg Connection: Director of Player Development Andy Majors was a standout quarterback for the Gorilla football team from 2002-05 and a crucial part of the Gorillas’ national runner-up finish in 2004.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas kicks off the Brandon Schneider era with the start of 2015-16 and the new season brings a new mentality to the hardwood. The Jayhawks are playing tough and together basketball under the first-year head coach. KU returns six players from last year’s squad that went 15-17. Joining the veterans are nine new faces, who hope to make an immediate impact.
Among Kansas’ returning starters is 2015 All-Big 12 Freshman selection Lauren Aldridge. The Marshfield, Missouri native averaged 8.1 points and 4.9 assists per game as a freshman while connecting on 34.7 percent of her shots from beyond the arc. Sophomore Chayla Cheadle, who started every game of her rookie season, recorded 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
The Jayhawks averaged 63.3 points per game behind 42.6 percent shooting from the field, but graduated their top three scorers at the conclusion of 2014-15. Cheslea Gardner, Natalie Knight and Asia Boyd accounted for 60 percent of KU’s offensive efforts last season. Defensively, Kansas held opponents to 38.2 percent shooting from the field with 150 blocks and 191 steals.
SCOUTING THE GORILLAS
Pittsburg State ended the 2014-15 campaign with a 27-7 mark and at the NCAA Division II Central Regional. The Gorillas downed Northern State, 60-53, before Emporia State ended PSU’s season with a 65-54 decision in the postseason. The Gorillas lost four starters at the conclusion of last season due to graduation, including leading scorer, Lizzy Jeronimus, who averaged 18.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Although PSU lost its leading scorer, the Gorillas return their other double-digit offensive contributor, Kylie Gafford, who averaged 10.4 points per game.
Last season, Pittsburg State posted 72.6 points and 38.2 rebounds, while shooting 42.2 percent from the field. From beyond the arc, the Gorillas made 33.5 percent of their attempts. Along with its seven returners, PSU added nine newcomers to the roster for 2015-16.
Kansas has a 5-0 record against Pittsburg State in exhibition play and lead the overall series 9-1.
The Jayhawks and Gorillas first met on the hardwood in 1969, which was the inaugural season for Kansas women’s basketball. KU won the first match up, 42-35. The series ended in 1986 with a Kansas victory, 93-53, before starting again in exhibition match ups in 2005.
Last Time Out
Forward Chelsea Gardner picked up a double-double to lead the Kansas Jayhawks as they defeated Pittsburg State, 85-54, in 2013. Gardner scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds, while swatting three shots in 28 minutes played. The Gorillas were led by forward Lizzy Jeronimus, who finished the night with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
A LOOK BACK AT EXHIBITIONS
Dating back to the 1986-87 season, Kansas owns a 45-9 record in exhibition games. The Jayhawks have a 20-game winning streak and haven’t lost an exhibition game since 2004. The largest margin of defeat in an exhibition game for Kansas was 97 points after earning a 136-39 victory over the Monterrey Tigers on Aug. 30, 2003. Since 2003, the Jayhawks have posted a 23-1 exhibition mark inside Allen Fieldhouse.
TOUGH AND TOGETHER
First year head coach Brandon Schneider has brought a tough and together culture to Allen Fieldhouse and Kansas women’s basketball. The Jayhawks begin end every practice with T and T, which is short for Tough and Together. Schneider has vowed that his squads will compete and play together every day. Whether the Jayhawks are hitting the floor, flying over the scorers’ table or passing to a teammate, they will play tough and together.
Kansas inked four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period last year. Signatures from Jayde Christopher, Tyler Johnson, Kylee Kopatich and Aisia Robertson led to ESPN’s HoopGurlz ranking the 2015 Kansas recruiting class No. 18. All four incoming recruits were selected as McDonald’s All-America nominees. Only Baylor at No. 4 and Texas at No. 6 ranked higher among Big 12 teams. Chelsea Lott, McKenzie Calvert, Sydney Benoit, Jessica Washington and Kelea Dennis round out the newcomers on Schneider’s first roster at Kansas.
ALDRIDGE MAKING HER MARK
Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge, a 2015 All-Big 12 Freshman Team selection, rewrote the freshman record book last season. She set records for free throw percentage (86.3%), assists (159) and minutes played (1,119). To make her mark on the sophomore record book, Aldridge will have to average 84.9 percent from the free throw line, while dishing out at least 208 assists and playing 1,348 minutes. Those numbers would put her in the same company as some of Kansas women’s basketball’s most accomplished players like Lynette Woodard, Lisa Braddy and Aishah Sutherland.
Kansas continues exhibition play against Emporia State on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The contest will air on the Jayhawk Television Network and the Jayhawk IMG Radio Network.
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