Jayhawks Remain Undefeated with Victory Over Memphis
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball continued its winning ways Thursday night inside Allen Fieldhouse, concluding its four-game homestand with a 72-63 victory over Memphis.
Facing a Memphis team that returned 94 percent of its scoring from last season and claimed nine upperclassmen on its roster, Kansas knew it would have to overcome the experience-gap. Standout performances from newcomers and dominance in the paint made the difference for the Jayhawks. Kansas outrebounded the Tigers 43-29, including 14 offensive boards. The home team also outscored the visitors by 20 points (49-29) in the paint.
Three Jayhawks posted double-figure scoring efforts to earn their squad its second win of the season. Freshman Kylee Kopatich set a career-high with 14 points on 50 percent shooting, including two triples. Junior forward Jada Brown and sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge each logged 10 points. Redshirt-junior guard Timeka O’Neal once again made a living from behind the arc, knocking down three long-range baskets. Freshman guard Jayde Christopher led the team in assists with four, and matched the effort with four points. Freshman forward Tyler Johnson was the only player for either team to reach the double-figure mark in rebounds, grabbing 10 boards.
Memphis logged three double-digit scorers of its own, with Ariel Hearn and Brianna Wright tying for a game-high of 15 points each. Hearn shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line and tied with Mooriah Rowser for a team-high four assists. Asianna Fuqua-Bey scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Freshman guard Aisia Robertson kicked off the evening with a layup to give Kansas the early lead. Brown claimed a layup of her own before Wright posted the first points for Memphis. Johnson entered the game at the 7:18 mark and immediately made her presence known when she gathered the rebound off a missed jumper from Brown, put back a layup that bounced out, gathered another rebound and this time found the bottom of the net on her layup attempt. Sophomore Chayla Cheadle repeated the performance two possessions later with a put-back off an offensive rebound of her own. On the very next play, O’Neal drained a long-range bucket to give the Jayhawks a seven-point lead on five unanswered points.
Junior forward Jada Brown drives to the basket
With under three minutes remaining in the quarter, junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen drove across the lane and drew a foul, earning two free throws. After sinking the first, Memphis’ Hearn was assessed a technical foul. Kopatich converted on one of her two free throws given for the technical. Manning-Allen then returned to the line, and despite missing on her attempt, Kansas retained possession and she finished the play with another layup, pushing the Jayhawk lead to eight. In a span of 90 seconds, the Tigers surged back to tie the game, with five of the eight points coming from Hearn.
However, the final minute would belong to Kansas. Johnson put in her second layup with just 28 seconds on the clock. Cheadle then stole the ball on the next possession and took it all the way to hoop. Memphis then got into its offense, setting up the final play of the quarter. Robertson had different plans, coming up with yet another steal for the Jayhawks and laid the ball into the basket just as time expired.
Offensive rebounds continued to pay off for Kansas in the second quarter. Kopatich missed on the front end of a three-point attempt, but followed her own rebound and kicked the ball back out to Aldridge for a three of her own -her first points of the night. Once again, Memphis answered with a quick run. Another eight-point streak cut the Kansas lead to a single point. Kopatich tilted the momentum back to Kansas with the home team’s third triple of the night. Memphis turned the ball over on their next two trips down the floor, and the Jayhawks capitalized on each to re-establish their eight-point advantage.
Despite making five of its last six field goal attempts of the second quarter, Kansas managed to only carry a one-point lead into the intermission. This was due to the home team only attempting four field goals in the final five minutes of the quarter, while the Tigers closed out the period with three-straight makes, two of those coming from long distance. Both teams shot over 50 percent in the first half of action, with Kansas holding the advantage over the visitors, 54-52. Kopatich’s team-leading nine points also matched her career-high from the opening game of the season. Hearn led Memphis with 13 points, including a perfect 3-of-3 from three-point range.
The shooting cooled off for both teams, after returning to the floor for the second half. Memphis shot only 23 percent in the third period while Kansas knocked down 44 percent of their shots. The two teams shot a combined 0-of-5 from the three-point line. As the clock dipped below the five-minute mark in the third quarter, the Jayhawks ran their offensive set for nearly the entire shot clock before Kopatich found Cheadle on the baseline, who battled through a foul to put in a last-second layup. The play sent the Kansas bench into a frenzy and pushed the lead to three points.
As the Tigers endured a drought of four-consecutive missed field goals, the Jayhawks tried to push the lead. Johnson converted her third layup of the evening on the next possession, but Hearn responded by drawing a foul on the other end and draining both free throws. Kopatich continued her career night with her fourth field goal of the night, followed up by Christopher, who shook off a defender with a shoulder fake and sunk a jumper. Two made free throws from Memphis’ Mooriah Rowswer proved to be the final points of the quarter, as the Jayhawks carried a five-point lead into the final 10 minutes of action.
The Jayhawks were not interested in surrendering the lead in the fourth quarter. Five of the first seven shots from the home team found the bottom of the net, including two more three-pointers from O’Neal. Memphis would not be quieted, posting the exact same 5-of-7 shooting to remain within four points with 4:53 left in the game. While both teams found their rhythm in the top half of the quarter, the last four minutes proved to be a shooting struggle.
A scoring drought of 3:49 was finally ended by a Kopatich layup with 1:04 on the clock. After a missed three from Rowser, Aldridge earned a trip to the line and netted both free throws to extend the lead to eight points. Aldridge tacked on a final free throw with 21 seconds on the clock to seal the Jayhawks’ second victory of the season.
Rowser’s three-pointer at the 4:53 mark were the final points for Memphis, as the Tigers were held scoreless for the remainder of the game on 0-of-9 shooting and fell to Kansas by a score of 72-63.
KANSAS 72, MEMPHIS 63
Nov. 19, 2015 – LAWRENCE, KAN.
•Kansas and Memphis met for just the third time on Thursday, resulting in Kansas taking an all-time lead of 3-0. Previously, The Jayhawks beat Memphis, 90-58, on Nov. 27, 2010 in Lawrence. KU and Memphis also tangled on Nov. 22, 1979, resulting in another Jayhawk victory, 87-73.
Attendance: 1,823 (Capacity: 16,300)
•Kansas’ all-time record 787-569.
•When Brandon Schneider coached teams are leading with less than five minutes to play, his overall record is 348-12, and 2-0 at Kansas.
•The Jayhawks never allowed Memphis to take a lead in the contest. The Tigers had the game tied for two minutes and 15 seconds. Kansas last went buzzer-to-buzzer in control of a game on March 2, 2015 against Iowa State, which resulted in a 68-64 KU victory.
•KU shot an even 50 percent from the field against the Tigers, a feat that was only accomplished just four times in 2014-15.
•The Jayhawks’ 50 percent effort (29-of-58 from the field) was Kansas’ highest mark since making 56 percent of its shots against Texas Tech on Jan. 21, 2015.
•KU’s made 42 percent (6-of-14) of its three-point tries against the Tigers.
•Four Kansas subs (Timeka O’Neal, Jayde Christopher, Chayla Cheadle and Tyler Johnson) combined to give the Jayhawks a 25-13 advantage in bench points over the Tigers. The Jayhawk reserves last accounted for more points when they scored 27 at Baylor on Feb. 1, 2015.
•The lane was quite friendly to Kansas against Memphis, the Jayhawks pounded 46 points in the interior, their most since also scoring 46 down low against Alabama on Nov. 21, 2014.
•The last time Kansas scored more points in the lane occurred when the Jayhawks registered 54 points on the blocks against Kansas State on March 7, 2014.
•Freshman F Tyler Johnson grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds in her second game as a Jayhawk.
•The last time a rookie Jayhawk recorded 10 or more rebounds occurred when Johnson’s teammate, now junior, F Caelynn Manning-Allen grabbed 10 boards against Texas Tech on Jan. 11, 2014.
KANSAS 72, MEMPHIS 63
Nov. 19, 2015 – LAWRENCE, KAN.
Head coach Brandon Schneider
On offensive performance:
“We talked a lot about trying to attack their pressure by touching multiple sides of the floor and multiple paint touches. Sometimes the pressure will cause you to panic a little bit and if you aren’t turning it over you’re taking a quick shot and we tried to attack multiple sides of the floor more. I was really proud of how we shared the ball, sometimes we overshared it – Caelynn had the ball right under the rim on two occasions, but we’d like for her to shoot those rather than our 6’4″ guy back out with that good position.”
On Jada’s motivation for her starting role:
“We don’t talk a lot about who’s starting and who’s not. I think Tameka sitting right here could be in the starting lineup, but she understands that we have to have experience coming off that bench. Otherwise, we are bringing all freshman off the bench. I feel in the Texas Southern game Jada really got back to who we needed her to be and that’s an effort player, offensive rebound guy. Get deflections, play like your hair is on fire a little bit and she did a much better job of that.”
On points in the paint:
“We didn’t throw into the post a lot so I think a lot of it was our ability to drive it, again, they were pressuring a lot so we had to find ways to attack their pressure whether it’s on dribble penetration – I thought we did a nice job on back cuts. And then in transition, we can get some stops and some points in the paint as well.”
On Aldridge’s struggles and the Memphis defense:
“I thought they really stepped up and credit Memphis for causing Lauren to have what we would consider an off-night for her. They did a great job challenging all her shots up high, didn’t foul her and they sped her up a little bit. We had some guys in foul trouble too, but I thought our team stepped up rather than stuck their head and pout and we’re not going to have a good night because Lauren’s not having a good night – that’s not what a team is about.”
On O’Neal’s role:
“She’s done that really, two are exhibition games and in all four of our games she has hit really timely threes that were kind of daggers and I think that says a lot about her willingness to step up and have courage and confidence in herself to take those shots.”
On Kylie’s performance:
“She’s really been consistent and we have said that all along even dating back to the summer practices and I’ve been really proud because she is really steady and she is figuring it out on the defensive end I think she understands that we are playing really elite athletes and she’s doing a great job using her IQ and understanding angles and position and doing a lot for us on both ends of the floor right now.”
On the steals and fastbreaks:
“I thought they were really big momentum plays. It was great to see our guys be in line and get deflection and convert them into points, I thought it really changed the momentum and I liked how our bench responded at the end of the quarter, I thought we showed a lot of togetherness celebrating those positives.”
Redshirt-junior Timeka O’Neal
On her feelings about her shooting:
“I’m feeling pretty good out there right now; I’m on a roll right now I feel like. If I’m not knocking down any threes I’m still going to continue to shoot my lights out and do what I need to for the team.”
On coach’s thought about her performance:
“I’m sure he’s proud of me right now. He’s had high hopes for me coming here so I’m sure he’s excited.”
On her performance:
“Really, I am just trying to do what I have to do for the team. Defensively stopping the ball, taking the open shots and trying to do what I can – this is a team thing here.”
Freshman guard Jayde Christopher
On being a freshman guard:
“I feel like our team got me going, like coach said – I stepped up and the bench stepped up ready to play their part.”
On expectations coming off the bench:
“Coach always preaches to make sure you to get the lane if you don’t have it and if you have it, kick it out.”
On Johnson’s performance:
“Tyler again has really given us some solid play off the bench. I love her skill level; she is another one of those players trying to figure it out defensively because she is probably going to be undersized in a lot of the matchups that she faces this year but to get four offensive rebounds, double digit boards and I thought she made really timely baskets as well.”
Memphis head coach Melissa McFerrin
“I thought Kansas did a really nice job. It’s obvious that they’re playing for a very good coach and they’re invested in what they’re trying to accomplish. I was proud of our kids tonight. I felt that there were just two or three runs throughout the course of the game that probably were the difference in the game. They did a nice job in the second half of taking away things that we like to do. I thought we did a nice job taking care of the basketball but they took away some of our better scorers in the second half.”
On her overall assessment of Kansas:
“I think they’re a good basketball team, starting with the point guard (sophomore G Lauren Aldridge). When you have a player that can make decisions like that, sees the floor and understands how to run the pick and roll. She single-handedly got them into the bonus in the third and fourth quarters just by using her body and understanding angles and how to attack people. They’ve got a good shooter; they’ve got a big that can cause some problems and another big that comes off the bench. They’ve got a couple hustle kids. I think they’re going to grow into some talent. I’m sure, having been in some programs where you take over teams that haven’t had a lot of success, I know they’re invested and on board with what Brandon’s trying to get in.”
The Jayhawks will now go on the road for the first time this season, beginning a three-game road trip on Monday, Nov. 23, in Tuscon against the Arizona Wildcats.