Schneider Era Begins with 72-65 Victory Over Texas Southern
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball opened the season with a 72-65 victory over Texas Southern to begin the Brandon Schneider coaching era, Sunday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks maintained the lead for much of the first 20 minutes of play, but the reigning Southwestern Athletic Conference champion, Texas Southern, fought back in the second half and forced the Jayhawks to earn the win. TSU outscored the Jayhawks by seven points in the third quarter, resulting in just a one-point Kansas lead. However, the Jayhawks played nearly flawless, draining their final five field goal attempts, to seal the victory in the final 10 minutes.
Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge led the scoring for Kansas, with a career-high 17 points, paired with a game-high seven assists. Junior forward Jada Brown logged a game-changing five offensive rebounds and eight points, including a huge three-point basket in the final moments of the game. Redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal also posted a career day, with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Head coach Brandon Schneider
directs a huddle against Texas Southern.
Despite being shadowed by Aldridge for most of the afternoon, guard Jazzmin Parker of Texas Southern was the game’s leading scorer with 25 points. She knocked down three of the team’s four three-pointers and shot 50 percent from the field. Center Kiana Vines gave the Jayhawks problems in the lane all afternoon, tallying a team-high four blocks and seven rebounds, behind 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
After three and a half minutes of action, only one point separated the two squads, with Kansas holding the lead. O’Neal,Jada Brown and freshman forward Tyler Johnson then entered the game as the first Jayhawk subs, and the impact was immediate. A three from O’Neal rattled in to extend KU’s lead to four points. On the other end, Johnson prevented a Texas Southern basket by taking a charge and followed it up on the next possession with a block that again returned possession to Kansas.
The smothering defense continued, forcing four Texas Southern turnovers and five-straight missed field goals. The Tigers did not score again until the 1:48 mark, a scoring drought of nearly half of the opening quarter. During the same stretch, Kansas was able to push the lead to 11-6, with three-straight baskets capped off by O’Neal’s second triple of the afternoon. The visitors did regain their rhythm at the end of the quarter, scoring three-straight baskets to cut the lead to seven points heading into the second quarter.
Texas Southern continued its charge in the next period, beginning with three made layups, extending the streak to six made field goals in a row and shortening the deficit to only three points. The Jayhawk backcourt responded. Aldridge and freshman Kylee Kopatich each sank jumpers, and O’Neal continued her hot streak with yet another long-range bucket.
Emerging from a timeout with 4:24 left in the half, the Kansas defense once again stepped up to fight off the Lady Tigers attack. Over the remainder of the half, the Jayhawks forced six turnovers and did not allow the visitors to score another field goal. Kansas could not fully capitalize on its defensive effort, scoring only six points over the same duration, with veterans Aldridge, junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen and Brown each claiming a made field goal. Texas Southern concluded the half, converting on 1-of-2 free throws with 17 seconds left, trailing the Jayhawks by 10 heading into the intermission.
Both teams continued to struggle from the field in the early moments of the second half, as the Jayhawks shot 1-of-5 and the Lady Tigers missed the mark on their first four attempts. TSU caught fire again, however, draining four baskets in a row, which cut Kansas’ lead to eight points halfway through the third quarter. Johnson stepped up with a nice turnaround floater after O’Neal found her on the baseline with a pass that split two Tiger defenders.
The basket from Johnson did little to break up the drought, as the Jayhawks failed to convert on their next five attempts while Texas Southern continued its run. Scoring-leader Parker knocked down her third triple with 12 seconds remaining in the third period, bringing her scoring total to 21 points and the Lady Tigers to within a single point of Kansas.
Aldridge drew a foul with a single second left on the clock, and converted on both free throws to carry a 48-45 lead into the final quarter of action. Texas Southern’s 22-point third quarter was the highest scoring quarter of the day for either team.
The Lady Tigers scored the first five points of the period, taking a two-point lead – the team’s largest of the day. Vines continued to be a force inside, recording her third and fourth blocks. The Jayhawk bigs did not back down, as Johnson battled through a foul to convert on a huge layup, which tied the game at 50-50.
A made jumper from Kopatich with 6:53 left in the game sparked a run where the two teams exchanged points on the next five possessions. When the streak ended, the Jayhawks emerged clinging to a one-point lead once again with just under five minutes remaining in the game.
A battle ensued over the last few minutes, with both teams trading clutch baskets. Aldridge put in two free throw attempts and a layup. Brown capped off her impressive performance by driving down the lane and putting in a layup to push the lead to seven points.
Texas Southern’s Diamonisha Sophus responded with a three-pointer to bring it back to a two-possession game. Head coach Brandon Schneider called a timeout and drew up a play for the hot hand: O’Neal. She calmly sank her fourth triple of the afternoon, right in front of the Jayhawk bench, effectively sealing the season-opening win for the Jayhawks.
Her bucket proved to be the last, as Kansas began Schneider’s coaching era with a 72-65 victory.
The Jayhawks continue their four-game homestand to start the 2015-16 campaign on Thursday, Nov. 19 against Memphis at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas will offer $1 Coke floats during the Thursday night bout with the Tigers. The contest will air on the Jayhawk Television and Jayhawk Radio Networks.
- Kansas improved to 38-10 in season openers since the inception of the women’s basketball program in 1968. The Jayhawks have now won 11-straight season openers dating back to 2005.
- Kansas improved its all-time record to 4-0 against Texas Southern.
- The Jayhawks improved to 23-of-26 in games played in the month of November, dating back to the start of the 2010 season.
- Kansas has a record of 407-166 (.715) in Allen Fieldhouse.
- In 2014-15, Kansas led the Big 12 Conference in three-point field goal percentage at .356, the Jayhawks picked up right where they left off last year after nailing 35 percent (7-of-20) of their tries against Texas Southern.
- The Jayhawks forced Texas Southern into 23 turnovers, the most since also forcing Texas Southern into 25 turnovers on Dec. 12, 2015.
- Kansas’ 73 field goal attempts were the most since shooting 74 times against Grambling State on Nov. 28, 2012.
- KU’s 37-36 rebounding disadvantage against Texas Southern marked the first time the Jayhawks have been outrebounded and won a game since losing the rebound-margin by two against Texas Tech on Feb. 4, 2015.
- Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge scored a career-high 17 points and dished seven assists, marking the 18th time in her two-year career she has recorded five or more assists in a contest.
- Junior center Caelynn Manning-Allen’s 12 points was also a personal-best.
- Returning from a season-ending injury last year, redshirt freshman Timeka O’Neal posted a career-best 12 points on four made three-point attempts.
Coach Brandon Schneider
“We told the team right before the fourth quarter started, how perfect the game was, for us to have to go and try and win it in the fourth quarter. To be in that position your first game and to be tested like that and find out whether or not guys can respond, I thought was a real positive. I wasn’t real excited it got to that point, but I think we can learn how they got back in the game and why they got back in the game and hopefully highlight some of the things we did down the stretch to close out the game.”
On if the fourth quarter situation is a scenario that may be seen again later in the season:
“I hope we are in a position that every fourth quarter we have a chance to win the game. I think it would be great if we were in those situations.”
On the importance of freshman guard Kylee Kopatich’s go-ahead three late in the game:
“We really encouraged her to start attacking the basket more. Maybe get to the line and get some free throws or see a short jump shot go down. Just see the ball go in. Sometimes when you’re a three point shooter and you’re having a tough night, you have to do whatever you need to see it go in, and not necessarily from behind the arc.”
On Redshirt-Junior Timeka O’Neal’s performance:
“I thought she played really well, obviously made a lot of big shots. What doesn’t show up on the stat sheet is the job she did on their guards, very disruptive. We forced them into 23 turnovers and always had an effect on their primary ball handler.”
On the importance of freshman guard Kylee Kopatich and freshman forward Tyler Johnson’s contributions:
“We are so young that anyone we put on the court, we are going to need to them to impact the game in a positive way and obviously Tyler and Kylee have both done that. I’m really proud of how comfortable they are, the moment is not too big for them. Even in exhibition play, I think they have gotten off to a solid start.
On sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge’s performance:
“You can look at the stat line and it’s impressive, but what’s not on the stat sheet is the job she did on Jazzmin Parker. I know Jazzmin ended up with 25 but she had 34 last time she was in the building. We thought she would be one of the best scorers in non-conference play. I thought Lauren stepped up and really made her work for every basket. We had plan B and C but never really went to those because Lauren did such a great job on her.”
On the improvements he saw:
“I thought early in the game we really did some nice things in transition. We improved our ball screen defense; I don’t feel like we got hurt there a lot. We still have a lot of rotations we have to clean up when people beat us on the dribble. They got the ball to the backside block entirely too much so we will have to evaluate that and do a better job there.”
Sophomore Guard Lauren Aldridge
On how she felt about her performance:
“I thought it was good. I thought it was cool the coaches put me in an opportunity to step up on the defensive end which I think is always fun. So to be able to disrupt a bit, it was fun.”
On whether she was happier with her defensive or offensive performance:
“Always defensively. It’s fun to take that challenge and I’m happy that I got blessed with that challenge. Ultimately, I think defense turns into offense. If we get stops of the defensive end the offense will come. So if you can get some pop and some confidence from the defensive end it can lead to a good offensive night. So I’m definitely more proud of the defensive end.”
On breaking her scoring record from her freshman season:
“Scoring is not my favorite thing, I like letting other people score. My favorite thing is when the assist stat is pretty high. We have to have people that step up and score. We graduated 62% of our offensive. So it’s good for the freshman to be able to step up and for me to be able to step up and for everyone to play a role on the offensive end.”
Freshman Forward Tyler Johnson
On how she felt about her performance and first college game:
“I’m so happy to be able to play here at Kansas. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be because I had a team I could trust and I knew that if we went out and played hard we would get the win. It was great.”
Texas Southern head coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry
“I was pretty pleased with the way our girls played, of course. We want to win coming in here, but to have two starters out and Jazzmin Parker coming back after her first game of the year, I thought we did a pretty decent job with young kids on the floor.”
On Coach Brandon Schneider:
“Coach Brandon Schneider is great. We actually scrimmaged him at Stephen F. Austin (SFA) last year, so I was trying to get a feel for what we may expect, but you never can. I thought I knew what we would get in the post; Damitria (Buchanan) being their post coach, we played at AAU together. All of us Texas girls have played together and I watched SFA and I’ve seen what he says. Coming in here and seeing their size, I’m looking to forward to watching what they are able to accomplish this year. I think it is going to look a little different. Last year, they had Chelsea Gardner and all of these bigs, but now they are playing more guard play. (Lauren) Alridge is actually playing the one more and she makes very good decisions down the stretch. She was able to get to the free-throw line on us because she’s handy and knows how to find her shooters, 33 (Kylee Kopatich) and 15 (Aisia Robertson). So overall, I think he has the girls playing well right now.
On the youth of Kansas:
“If I’m not mistaken, they don’t have a senior because I know they are trying to sign one. They are going to be pretty good with the two kids sitting out, McKenzie (Calvert) and the kid from (North) Carolina (Jessica Washington). I’m really excited about their future. We are planning on coming back here the next two years to play. We’ll be young going into next year, but I think it will be a great matchup for us early, like today was a great matchup for us early. We can actually see where we are and grade ourselves. We gave up 72 points to a Big 12 team. I would like to give up between 60 and 65 but we shot the ball pretty well on our end, shooting 51 percent from the field and 44 percent from the three-point line. So we did some really good things but there are some things we definitely need to work on. We need to take better shot selections. Our threes that we can’t give up when things get tight but that’s where I think right now Kansas looked better than us. They were very heady, they were smart and Coach (Schneider) has done a good job of coaching them through with the ball on his end of the floor.”
On playing a caliber of team like Kansas this early:
“I think it helps us for our conference. In the last three years, we have won 17, 15 and 16 games in conference. We played for two SWAC championships in the tournament and we won two in the regular season. So playing these caliber teams definitely prepares us for that but we want to beat these caliber teams as well and we have to learn how to get past the hump. Again, with two starters out and playing with a point guard who hasn’t seen much time – we can tell because of the possessions. We had 23 turnovers and took 51 shots to their 73 shots, which says a lot. If we take 10 more shots it could be a different ball game. We had 16 turnovers at halftime and 7 in the second half. I had to put my point guard back in the game, just to get us possessions. The great part about Ladeyh (Forte) is that she didn’t turn over possessions that turned into live balls, they were going out of bounds. It was a pretty even game besides the attempts taken.
Texas Southern senior guard Jazzmin Parker
On the mindset of the run in the fourth quarter:
“Well first of all, we stayed poised, and also being aggressive. We wanted to keep pushing it at them and I think we did an okay job at it but that’s us taking some bad shots, which is my bad. Just staying poised and being aggressive is about it.”
On how it felt to play be on the floor again:
“It’s a blessing. I thank God every day for the for helping me to be able to get back on the court from the injury I had last year so it feels really good.”
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