Jayhawks Stifle Tigers in Season Debut, 73-52
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Preseason All-Big 12 First Team selection Chelsea Gardner unofficially logged the 19th double-double of her career, as Kansas cruised by Fort Hays State, 73-52 to open exhibition play, Sunday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse.
“I thought we were aggressive and we tried to attack,” Head coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We were certainly not as productive in the second half as we were in the first half. We had a lot of good things for us to get on film. We made a point of emphasis. They didn’t drive it and put it on the floor as much as they did two years ago, or even on film from last year. All in all, it was good for them to get in their uniforms and play. The one thing you don’t want them to do is be passive and hesitant, and we weren’t. I thought all things considered, it was great for us to be able to play that many new players and get the young players quality minutes.”
Gardner, a senior forward from DeSoto, Texas, led the floor with 23 points while pulling down a game-high 10 boards. Two other Jayhawks joined Gardner in double-figure point totals. Senior guard Natalie Knight knocked in 11 points and grabbed four rebounds, while freshman guard Terriell Bradley shined in her Jayhawk debut with 10 points and three rebounds. Kansas outrebounded Fort Hays State 55-38 and held the Tigers to 27 percent shooting from the field, as FHSU made 19-of-71 shots.
The Tigers also had three players score in double-digits, led by senior center Kate Lehman who chalked up 17 points and six rebounds, and went 6-of-11 from field goal range. Sophomore guard Jill Faxon helped the Tigers with 12 points and three rebounds. Junior guard Chelsea Mason rounded out the Tigers’ double-digit scoring effort with 10 points.
Gardner came out hot by scoring two buckets in the first minute of the game. Lehman was the first Tiger to put points on the board by completing two free-throw shots. The two teams went back and forth, as Fort Hays didn’t allow Kansas to spark a major run for the first 10 minutes of the game.
The back-and-forth trend was broken with the debut of Bradley who put up back-to-back layups and accomplished a traditional three-point play after her second shot. This sparked a 17-1 Kansas run that lasted the remainder of the half. During that run, senior guard Asia Boyd pulled down a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast. Freshman guard Lauren Aldridge stole the ball and copied Boyd’s efforts sparking up the crowd and forcing the Tigers to take their first timeout trailing, 36-22.
“It’s a six or seven (point game), Chelsea gets a defensive rebound and puts it on the floor,” said Henrickson. “She throws ahead to Asia, who gets a one-legged layup. Then Lauren gets a deflection turnover and goes to the rim, which pushed (the lead) over 10. It’s the momentum you create. They say not every field goal is created equal because they are both only two, but the momentum of those two was huge. We created some offense from our a defense and got some opportunities in the paint.”
The Jayhawks continued to be successful on the offensive side and were up 16 points going into the final media timeout of the half. After the timeout, freshman guard Chayla Cheadle completed a jump shot, which was quickly followed by a second three-point shot from junior guard Timeka O’Neal to close the half. The defensive efforts of the Jayhawks didn’t go unnoticed with four forced turnovers while holding Fort Hays State scoreless in the final five minutes of the half. The Jayhawks went into the locker room ahead of the Tigers 43-22 at the break.
Gardner led the Jayhawks with 12 points as she went 5-of-9 from the field in the first half. Boyd helped defensively by pulling down four rebounds for Kansas. With seven points, Aldridge was the second leading scorer for Kansas in the first frame. As a whole, Kansas shot 50-percent from field-goal range (14-28). It also made all 12 of its free-throw attempts. Fifteen of the Jayhawks’ points in the first half came from players off the bench.
The Jayhawks opened the second half of the game with seven-straight points, while the Tigers only made one of their first six shots. Unable to complete baskets, Kansas allowed Fort Hays State to go on a 5-0 run of its own that was sparked by a layup shot from Lehman at the 16-minute mark.
With 14 minutes left in the game, Knight dished the ball to Bradley for a wide-open three-pointer – her third of the night. Faxon answered at the other end with a jumper and the first bucket for the Tigers in over three minutes. Knight put up another three-point shot for the Jayhawks and forced Fort Hays State to call a timeout, trailing by a score of 57-32.
Held scoreless for four minutes, Stein hit a jump shot with 11 minutes to play. Sophomore Jada Brown answered at the other end for the Jayhawks with a layup. Just before the eight-minute media break, Cheadle recovered a loose ball and passed it to Gardner who converted a layup. Gardner chalked up another two points for the Jayhawks on the next possession with a jumper.
After the timeout Boyd pulled down an offensive rebound and passed it to Gardner who was able to put in a layup. The two teams then began to trade baskets for a couple of minutes. A jumper by Mason sparked a 7-0 Tiger run to end the half. Kansas came out on top 73-52.
- Kansas’ win gives KU an overall all-time record of 45-9 in exhibition games and 39-9 in exhibition play inside Allen Fieldhouse.
- Sunday’s win over Fort Hays State marks the Jayhawks’ 19th-straight exhibition win.
- Kansas now leads the all-time series with Fort Hays State with a perfect 8-0 record. The Jayhawks are now 5-0 against Fort Hays State under Henrickson.
- Freshmen Lauren Aldridge, Lorraine Enabulele, Chayla Cheadle and Terriell Bradley along with junior Timeka O’ Neal all saw their first game action in Crimson and Blue.
- Gardner unofficially posted her 19th career double-double and had the statistics counted, she would now be a member of KU’s 1,000-point club.
The Jayhawks will play one more exhibition before the official start of the 2014-15 regular season, Sunday, Nov. 9, when they take on Washburn at 2 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse.
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