Jayhawks to Host Naismith Hall of Fame Women’s Basketball Challenge
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas is set to play three games in as many days during the 2014 Naismith Hall of Fame Women’s Basketball Challenge. The Jayhawks kick-off the round-robin style tournament with the SEC’s Alabama on Friday night at 6 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas faces Temple and Georgetown on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. All of the KU games during the tournament will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network. Kansas concludes the tournament on Sunday, Nov. 30 against No. 2 Notre Dame at noon, inside the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas is in the midst of playing six games in 10 days to open the 2014-15 season. The Jayhawks are off to a 2-0 start heading into the 2014 Naismith Hall of Fame Women’s Basketball Challenge, which features Alabama, Temple and Georgetown in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks are averaging 68.5 points per game behind 40.4 percent shooting. KU has tallied 42.0 rebounds, 10.5 assists, 7.0 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.
Senior forward Chelsea Gardner leads KU’s roster with 19.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. The DeSoto, Texas native is shooting 68.2 percent, connecting on 15-of-22 shots. She also is averaging 2.5 blocks per game. Senior guard Natalie Knight is the only other Jayhawk averaging double-digits with 10.5 points per game. She has collected 5.5 rebounds per game and is shooting 100 percent from the free throw line.
Freshman guard Lauren Aldridge scored 11 points for her first double-figure scoring effort in her collegiate debut. She is averaging 9.0 points and 2.0 assists per game after two starts. Rounding out the Jayhawks’ starting five are sophomore forward Jada Brown and senior guard Asia Boyd. Brown is second on the team in rebounds per game with 6.0 after grabbing a team-best nine boards against Texas Southern (11/18). Boyd, a native of Detroit, Michigan, is averaging 7.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
Freshman guard Chayla Cheadle provided a spark off the bench against Texas Southern (11/18) netting a team-high 15 points. She made 4-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc and is shooting 66.7 percent from the three-point line in 2014-15. Cheadle is averaging 9.5 points per game. Another burst of energy off the bench for Kansas is freshman guard Terriell Bradley, who registered 11 points against Texas Southern (11/18). She is averaging 6.5 points per game and shooting 41.7 percent.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
- Senior forward Chelsea Gardner, a Preseason All-Big 12 selection, joined the 1,000-point club after a scoring 24 points in the season opener against South Dakota.
- Gardner started the season with her 19th career double-double after recording 24 points and 11 rebounds in the season opener. She posted a Big 12-leading 13 double-doubles last year. Gardner’s 13 double-doubles are the most by a Jayhawk in a single season since Shyra Holden had 14 in 1978-79.
- Freshman guard Chayla Cheadle had a breakout game against Texas Southern after scoring 15 points off the bench. She connected on 4-of-5 shots from behind the arc and is shooting 66.7 percent from the three-point line in 2014-15.
- Three Jayhawks began the 2014-15 season scoring double figures. Gardner, senior Natalie Knight and freshman Lauren Aldridge all tallied a double-digit scoring effort. Gardner finished with 24, while Knight and Aldridge added 15 and 11 points, respectively, against South Dakota (11/16).
- Although in foul trouble for most of the second half in the first game of the season, Gardner shot a team-best 64.3 percent from the field. She connected on 9-of-14 attempts and converted six of her nine attempts at the free throw line.
- Knight has 705 career points and needs 295 more to join Gardner in the 1,000-point club, which she is on pace to reach by the end of her career.
- KU has limited its opponents to 28.0 percent shooting from the field and 21.2 percent from beyond the arc. Kansas held Texas Southern to 24.2 percent shooting, while South Dakota converted on only 31.7 percent of its shots.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON TIDE
Alabama is 1-2 after its first three games of the 2014-15 season. The Crimson Tide won their season opener, 60-44, over Florida A&M. After starting the season with a victory, UA lost the next two games to Duke, 40-90, and Jacksonville State, 62-64.
The Crimson Tide finished the 2013-14 season with a 14-16 overall record and 7-9 mark in the SEC Conference under first-year head coach Kristy Curry. The Crimson Tide ended the 2013-14 campaign in seventh place and lost in the second round of the 2014 Southeastern Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament. The SEC coaches selected Alabama to finish 13th in the league this season.
UA returns three of its five starters from last season including sophomore forward Ashley Williams, who was named to the Freshman All-SEC team a year ago. Williams led Alabama in rebounds (6.6 pg) and field goal percentage (.496) last year. She currently leads the squad with 18.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Also averaging double figures is freshman guard Hannah Cook with 15.7 points per game.
Collectively, Alabama averages 54.0 points per game while shooting 33.7 percent from the field. The Crimson Tide averages 41.0 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 10.7 steals and 4.0 blocks per game.
KU is tied with Alabama, 1-1, overall in the series. They Jayhawks are 1-0 against the Crimson Tide in Lawrence and 0-1 on the road in Tuscaloosa.
The Jayhawks and the Crimson Tide are set to meet for the third time in program history heading into Friday’s match-up. Kansas opened the all-time series in 2010 with a win on its home court, 79-57, before losing on the road to UA, 76-80, in 2011.
Last Time Out
Kansas fell to Alabama, 76-80, in the last meeting in 2011. Carolyn Davis notched 21 points on the evening, but it was not enough to overcome Kansas’ first half-time deficit of the 2011-12 season. Davis hit the 20-mark for the third time that year and the 22nd time in her career and was just shy of a double-double with nine rebounds.
Kansas is off to a 2-0 start to the 2014-15 season , the perfect opening to the year is in thanks to the defensive play by the Jayhawks. In the season debut against South Dakota, KU held the Coyotes to 31.7 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from beyond the arc. Kansas followed up that defensive performance by limiting Texas Southern to 24.2 percent shooting and 16.7 percent from behind the three-point line. In all, the Jayhawks’ opponents are shooting 28.0 percent and 21.2 percent from the three-point line. KU has also recorded 11 steals and seven blocks in the last two games.
JAYHAWKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Kansas is among one of the most televised women’s basketball programs in the country. The Jayhawks have three games featured on FOX Sports Network, while every home game aired on the new Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3. KU is scheduled to play 24 contests in 2014-15 in front of a nationally-televised audience.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Kansas is set to play 19 games in the comfort of Allen Fieldhouse in 2014-15, 10 of which come during the non-conference slate. KU is off to a 2-0 start at home this season and compiled a 9-8 mark in Allen Fieldhouse in 2013-14. KU has a record of 124-58 (.681) in Allen Fieldhouse under head coach Bonnie Henrickson and an all-time home record of 398-159 (.714).
Kansas continues its six-game homestand by hosting the Naismith Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge, Nov. 21-23. Over the course of three days, the Jayhawks will face Alabama, Georgetown and Temple. KU opens the tournament on Friday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m., against Alabama.
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