Arizona Hands Jayhawks First Loss of Season, 67-52
TUCSON, Ariz. – Kansas women’s basketball couldn’t overcome a second-half offensive surge as Arizona handed KU its first loss, 67-52, of the 2015-16 campaign on Monday, Nov. 23, inside the McKale Center. The first loss of the year and on the road, Kansas fell to 2-1 on the season.
A lack of bench production and poor shooting plagued the Jayhawks in their first road test of the season. After shooting a combined 45 percent in its first two games, Kansas shot 32 percent from the field. A 4-of-20 three-point shooting performance also marked the lowest percentage (20) of the season. After scoring 28 and 25 points in the first two games, respectively, the Kansas bench only logged 11 points against the Wildcats.
Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge and junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen finished the game as the double-figure scorers for Kansas, with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Aldridge also led her squad with four assists. Manning-Allen gathered a game-high eight rebounds and tied her career high in blocks with four.
Guard Taryn Griffey and guard Malena Washington combined for 33 of Arizona’s 67 points on 12-of-12 shooting. Griffey’s 17 points were a game-high, including three long-range baskets that were also the most of any player on the day. Washington tallied 16 points, ten more than any other bench player.
It took the Jayhawks just 22 seconds to score the first points of the game after Manning-Allen won the opening tip for the third time this season. Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich found Manning-Allen right under the basket for the easy layup. Junior guard Jada Brown gathered an offensive rebound and put back a layup at the 5:30 mark to give Kansas an early 8-2 lead. The Wildcats surged back in the bottom half of the quarter, putting together a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game.
Both teams struggled to find their rhythm as they each began the game 1-of-6 from the field. An acrobatic play from Brown tied the game at 12-12 as she drew the foul and flipped a shot over her shoulder that rattled in with 24 seconds remaining in the quarter. After a missed free throw, neither team was able to score another point for the remainder of the period.
The shooting woes dictated the first 10 minutes of the game as the two teams shot a combined 24 percent in the opening quarter. Arizona earned five of its 12 points from the charity stripe and held Kansas to its lowest scoring quarter this season. Kansas’ previous season-low of 15 points came on three separate occasions, most recently in the second quarter against Memphis on Nov. 19.
Redshirt junior Timeka O’Neal drew a charge in the opening minute of the second quarter, giving her squad a much-needed spark. Still, the offensive cold streak continued as each team made only one of its first five field goals to being the period.
No more than two points separated the squads early, as the Wildcats made a free throw to take a 13-12 lead, but freshman forward Tyler Johnson answered with a layup to give the lead back to the Jayhawks. Arizona’s JaLea Bennett responded with a layup of her own as the Wildcats once again took the lead. After missing the mark on her first three attempts, Aldridge found the bottom of the net with a three-pointer to tilt the game back in favor of the visitors.
Foul problems compounded for the Jayhawks, as freshman guards Aisia Robertson and Jayde Christopher, as well as O’Neal each picked up their second fouls with over three minutes left in the half. After the quarter’s media timeout, the Wildcats put together a second run to claim their largest lead so far, at 26-21.
Arizona’s Washington contributed nine of Arizona’s 16 points in the final five minutes of the quarter. Kansas began to turn things around in the final three minutes of the half, making 3-of-5 field goals, including a layup from Aldridge right before the buzzer. Kansas entered the locker room trailing 31-28, marking the first time all season that the Jayhawks did not carry a lead into the second half.
Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen brought down a season-high eight rebounds
After 20 minutes of action, the game had seen nine lead changes and a combined 20 turnovers. Each team committed 10, while the Wildcats logged four assists to Kansas’ three. Arizona also held the edge in the shooting column, with a 35 percent field goal percentage, six better than Kansas (29).
Arizona kicked off the second half with an early long-range bucket, extending their lead to six. On Kansas’ next possession, Aldridge let a jumper fly from just inside the top of the arc as the shot clock expired. Despite the rushed attempt, the shot was pure and brought the Jayhawks back within four.
Just before the seven-minute mark, Arizona’s Bennett took the ball to the hoop, but Kopatich was there to send the ball out-of-bounds with her first career block. Kansas kept the home team from capitalizing on the following possession, while converting baskets on its next two trips down the court, tying the game at 34 apiece at the 6:10 mark.
Out of an Arizona timeout, the Wildcats exhausted the shot clock before Griffey accelerated past Johnson to roll in a layup as the buzzer sounded. The basket ended a streak of five-straight missed shots for Arizona. A Kansas turnover on the proceeding possession led to a run-out layup to push the margin to four points in favor of the home team.
Turnovers continued to plague the Jayhawks, as they failed to put a dent in the halftime deficit despite beginning the quarter 4-of-6 from the field. Six turnovers in a five-minute span resulted in the Wildcats claiming nine of their 45 points off turnovers by the end of the third period.
The bigger factor may have been bench scoring, where Arizona owned a 27-6 advantage heading into the final 10 minutes. Kansas’ nine-point third quarter set a new season-low of scoring, after the 12-point first quarter performance.
The final quarter commenced with Arizona owning an eight-point lead, the largest deficit for the Jayhawks all season. It also marked the first time this year that Kansas did not have the advantage with 10 minutes of game time remaining. The first basket of the period again went to the Wildcats, with a three-point bucket from Griffey establishing the first double-digit lead of the day. Thirty seconds later, she repeated the effort with her second three, putting Kansas in a 14-point hole with 8:36 to play.
Arizona found the bottom of the net on seven of its first eight shots of the final period. The final basket of that run came on a layup from Bennett, as she fought through a Kopatich foul. The bonus free throw re-established the 20-point advantage.
With under three minutes to play, O’Neal sunk a three, her first field goal of the day. Sophomore forward Lorraine Enabulele knocked down a hook shot in the paint on the next possession, as the 5-0 run brought the Arizona lead back to 15.
Kansas held the home team to 1-of-5 shooting to end the game, but the Jayhawks couldn’t overcome Arizona’s commanding lead. A three-point attempt by Robertson from two feet outside the arc failed to connect on Kansas’ final possession, and the Jayhawks fell to Arizona by a score of 67-52.
KANSAS 52, ARIZONA 67
Nov. 23, 2015 – TUCSON, ARIZ.
Kansas and Arizona met for the first time in over 15 years on Monday. The two teams faced off in their fifth all-time matchup and second on the Wildcats’ home turf. The Arizona victory broke a 2-2 series tie that began in 1987 with a two-point win for Kansas, as the Wildcats now hold the 3-2 advantage.
Attendance: 6,652 (Capacity: 14,545)
- The Jayhawks now have a 10-3 record all-time in games played on Nov. 23.
- The game saw a total of nine lead changes, most since Kansas State (3/6) in the Big 12 Tournament last season.
- The Kansas bench only scored 11 points, the fewest since the last road game of 2014-15 against Oklahoma (2/28).
- Kansas shot a season-best 77 percent from the free throw line (10-13).
- Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen grabbed a season-high eight rebounds.
- Kylee Kopatich recorded her first career block.
- Lorraine Enabulele tallied her first points of the season, finding the bottom of the net on her only field goal attempt of the game.
Head coach Brandon Schneider
On what he told the players after the game:
“Well I think the biggest thing that we need to correct is miscommunication. I felt like there were several times out of timeouts where we made defensive choices and adjustments, and that did not happen leaving the huddle. Playing a zone or moving to a trap defense to try to stir them up, we didn’t go from the timeout to the court and execute. That’s communication, that’s focus and then free throw box outs – those were a big part of our scouting report and we allowed them to get three offensive rebounds from free throws. All of which they converted, and I believe two of those were threes. Those were really big momentum-changing plays. We had a really tough night offensively, but credit Arizona for being a big part of that. We didn’t shoot it very well – 2-of-19 from our starting two and three players (Robertson and Kopatich). We just have to do a better job of establishing the paint. We tried to play it to Manning-Allen a lot more. I felt she was giving us some good production. We had some perimeter players that didn’t look to her, but we have to understand that when the perimeter shots aren’t going down, we have to give some other guys the opportunity to touch the ball.”
On the lack of communication not being an issue coming into today:
“Well we were playing at home, too. And we’re playing with a bunch of young guys. I felt like the environment really bothered us early. We knew it was going to be loud. We knew they would have 6,000 plus with the promotion going on today. We practiced with music and crowd noise the last couple days. I felt like we had some guys who tried to shoot their way – and that’s just not aggressive. We have to dive on the floor for loose balls. We have to box out, get in a stance and play hard defensively. That’s how you get into ball games. Hopefully our young players will learn from this.”
The Jayhawks continue their three-game road trip, traveling to Dallas, Texas, for the SMU Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 27-28. Kansas will look to bounce back against Northern Illinois on Friday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the first of two tournament games. Fans can follow along on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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