Jayhawks Shut Down Creighton, Win 67-54
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After trailing by nine points at the end of the first quarter, Kansas women’s basketball outscored Creighton by 24 points over the next two periods to record its first come-from-behind win, 67-54, on Wednesday night, inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas (4-2) saw career nights from sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge and freshman guard Kylee Kopatich posted career-high scoring marks with 18 and 15 points, respectively. Aldridge’s 18 points came from shooting 50 percent from the field, draining four three-pointers, while Kopatich shot a perfect 3-of-3 from long-distance, accounting for nine of her 15 points.
Kopatich, a native of Olathe, Kansas, grabbed a game-high seven rebounds and a career-high four steals. Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen was one of three Jayhawks to score eight points, and brought down seven rebounds, which tied Kopatich for a game-high.
The Bluejays (4-3) recorded 19 field goals, including 11 from beyond the arch Bluejays, accounting for 33 of Creighton’s 54 points. Jade Owens and MC McGrory each shot a perfect 2-of-2 from three-point range, recording eight and 13 points, respectively. Audrey Faber rounded out Creighton’s double-figure scorers, with 10 points on 2-of-4 shooting from three.
Eight Bluejays tallied at least one three-point basket. Despite shooting almost 48 percent from long-distance, the Bluejays shot 35 percent from the field in total, after entering the game shooting over 51 percent.
After a layup from sophomore guard Chayla Cheadle began the scoring and got Kansas out to an early lead, the Jayhawks struggled for much of the first quarter. Three-straight long-range baskets from Creighton over a minute and half span turned a two-point Kansas lead into a seven-point deficit, while the Jayhawks missed the mark on its next six field goal attempts.
Kansas got back in the game on a 4-0 run with layups by Aldridge and freshman forward Tyler Johnson, as the Bluejays went cold, missing six-straight shots. Creighton responded, however, draining two more treys at the end of the quarter to finish off a 10-2 run and go ahead by a score of 19-10. Strong in the paint, Kansas made all four of its first-quarter field goals inside. Creighton commanded the boards, though, outrebounding the Jayhawks 12-5.
Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich drives to the basket, for two of her career-high 15 points
Kansas caught fire at the start of the second quarter, converting on its first three field goal attempts. After shooting 0-3 from the three-point line in the opening 10 minutes, Aldridge and Cheadle both connected on triples to cut the Creighton lead to six points. Kansas continued to cut into the lead with an 8-1 run in less than three minutes, as the Bluejays led 25-20 at the 5:36 mark.
Over the remainder of the half, the Jayhawks continued to hit shots while shutting down the Bluejays on defense. Aldridge and Kopatich combined for 10 points and helped hold Creighton to just two points, as Creighton’s final seven shots of the half all missed the mark. The two teams returned to the locker room at half, with the Jayhawks holding a 30-27 lead. Kansas has headed to the locker room with the lead four times this season and are 4-0 when doing so.
Creighton made a living from three-point line and the charity stripe in the opening half, accounting for 23 of the Bluejays 27 points. Creighton converted on 6-of-12 three-pointers and shot a near-perfect 5-of-6 from the free throw line. After a layup on their opening possession, Creighton did not score another two-point field goal until the 4:23 mark of the second quarter. Kansas dominated underneath the basket, outscoring the Bluejays 14-2 inside the paint. Shooting over 51 percent from the field on the season, Creighton was held to 30 percent shooting in the first half, while they Jayhawks shot their season-average 41 percent.
Just over two minutes into the third quarter, the Blujays tied the game, 32-32. Kansas answered by scoring points on eight of its next nine possessions. The 18-point run in less than five minutes of game time buried the Bluejays, who could only connect on one of their next six field goals for two points during the same span. The lead grew to 16 points near the end of the quarter, but Creighton’s Lauren Works knocked down her first three of the game with 10 seconds left on the clock to cut the lead to 12. Aldridge was not satisfied, and dribbled the ball just past mid-court before throwing up a long-range shot that found the bottom of the net just as the buzzer sounded.
Kopatich set the tone early in the fourth quarter, first with an assist on the Jayahwks’ opening basket, an easy layup for Manning-Allen. She then recorded two steals and two-straight layups, as Kansas’s lead hovered around 15 points for much of the final quarter. Another layup from Manning-Allen at the 2:17 mark pushed the lead to 19, the largest of the game for the Jayhawks.
In the second half, Kansas shot 50 percent from the field, while holding the Bluejays to under 35 percent. Kansas also forced the Bluejays to commit 11 second-half turnovers.
Creighton managed to put in two more three-pointers in the final moments, but the lead was insurmountable. Kansas remained undefeated at home and claimed its fourth win of the season, 67-54.
KANSAS 67, CREIGHTON 54
DEC. 2, 2015 – LAWRENCE, Kan.
•Kansas leads the all-time series against Creighton, 26-13.
•The Jayhawks and Bluejays met for the 39th time in program history on Wednesday night.
•Creighton’s overtime win in 2014 snapped Kansas’ 11-game winning streak in the series.
Attendance: 1,753 (Capacity: 16,300)
•KU has a 35-19 record against programs from the Big East Conference. Kansas has faced eight schools that are members of the Big East Conference, and has a lead or even series against seven of eight teams.
•When Brandon Schneider-coached teams are leading with less than five minutes to play, his overall record is 350-12, and 4-0 at Kansas.
•Kansas has a record of 409-166 (.715) in Allen Fieldhouse. Over the last five seasons, Kansas has posted a 64-29 mark on its home court.
•KU’s second half defense stymied Creighton. The Bluejays never went to the free throw line in the remaining 20 minutes. The last time an opposing team didn’t shoot a free throw in a single half occurred on Nov. 13, 2013 when SIU-Edwardsville didn’t make a trip to the charity stripe.
•The Jayhawks only committed 10 personal fouls, the fewest since also recording 10 whistles against Texas Southern in 2013. The last time a Kansas team posted fewer fouls occurred in a seven-foul effort against TCU on March 8, 2013.
•Sophomore G Lauren Aldridge and freshman G Kylee Kopatich combined for just under half of Kansas’ point total. The duo poured-on 33 of Kansas’ 67 points.
•The Jayhawks made 45 percent of their shots against, marking the second-highest percentage they have converted from the field this season.
•Kansas also forced Creighton to turn the ball over a Bluejay season-high 18 times.
•Meanwhile, the Jayhawks only coughed-up the ball nine times, the lowest since committing six mishaps against Wisconsin in 2011.
•KU converted 87.5 percent of its free throw attempts against Creighton (7-of-8).
•Creighton claimed a 19-10 lead to end the first quarter, but Kansas’ stifling defense held the Bluejays to just eight points in the second session – the least an opposing team has put on the board in a single quarter this season.
•Since switching to quarters at the beginning of 2015, Kansas has scored a team-best 26 points twice. KU doused the Bluejays with 26 points in the third quarter.
•KU is now 4-0 when leading at halftime.
•Sophomore G Lauren Aldridge’s career-high 18 points marked the fifth time in six games she has been in double figures this season.
•Aldridge made 50 percent of her shots (7-of-14), the second time in 2015 she has converted over half of her shots on a minimum of 10 attempts.
•Aldridge has made 30-of-64 (46.9 percent) on the year. Among Big 12 Conference players she is fifth overall in field goal percentage on a minimum of 64 shot attempts. However, among guards, Aldridge is the third-best in the league.
•Freshman G Kylee Kopatich stuffed the box score with career highs in points (15), steals (4), while her seven boards fell one short of a personal-best.
•Kopatich’s four steals tied a season-high by a Jayhawk.
•Freshman G Jayde Christopher dished out four assists against Creighton, her third game with three or more assisted buckets this season.
Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider
“Being in this part of the country for the better part of my coaching career, I always thought Creighton was a tremendous program and I really admire how they do things. So I think this win is really important to us because they’re a really good team. They’re hard to guard, they have a good coach and aggressive players, and this is the kind of win we really needed; especially coming off of a week where we feel like we didn’t play our best basketball.”
On adjustments throughout the game:
“Most of our adjustments were defensively. We did talk a bit about the post double. That’s not something we expected and I thought they did a good job with it, but really it was just better ball movement. Sometimes we drive it just to score and you have to be driving in such a way to get your own shot, but also as soon as you draw to kick it to the open man. I thought we had multiple drives where we had paint touches and just drove the ball better in the second half.”
On the buzzer-beater shot before halftime:
“We weren’t supposed to be switching. We made an assignment error there and we were able to correct some of those. We forced an early time out in the third quarter and with the new time out rule there just aren’t as many. They’re long but there aren’t as many. So sometimes you’re sitting there just waiting to make an adjustment or a correction just because there are fewer timeouts.”
On tonight’s offense:
“Any offense is good when you’re making shots. Now tonight, and we’ve talked about this, when you can play Jade Christopher at the 1 and get (Lauren) Aldridge off the ball a little bit, I love Lauren as a point guard but I like her in a shooting role as well. With the amount of minutes that she plays I think it takes a little bit of the pressure off of her. Jade is so aggressive and does such a great job getting in the lane that when you can surround her or any other guard, with guys that can make shots, it makes the offense look better.”
On adjusting to Creighton’s offense:
“I think, with the exception of the last 90 seconds where I think we gave up three offensive rebounds and two threes, I thought we played with a lot more pride and just really stingy. We talked a lot about that at halftime, and they’re so hard to guard because they’re so active and there’s constant movement and you have to be aware and you have to be in stance and communicate.”
On the performance of the bench:
“I thought our bench was really good, but Timeka O’Neal in particular. She shot it well and was active defensively. She’s another player that I don’t think had the kind of tournament that she wanted to in Dallas and it’s nice to see her come back with some intrinsic motivation and really step up in a big game for us.”
On the ability to come back and adjusting to the game plan:
“We were down 19 at half at SMU and we cut it to three in the second half, so we’ve shown that we have the ability to come back because I think we have some fight to us but we have to evaluate what’s causing us to be down. Tonight it was more my fault than anything because the game plan we basically scrapped after the first quarter, because we gave up entirely too many offensive rebounds and we’re getting lost in the switches. Obviously in the zone they made shots so credit to our players for adjusting on the fly there after the first quarter.”
On Kansas’ defensive adjustments:
“They made the adjustments. We coached them to change defenses and made it clear to what we wanted. For two days we practiced what we wanted and switched a bunch of screens and we played zone so we had not practiced against their offense in what I call our base defense. It was nice to see us rely on our habits and some of the fundamental things we do to get some stops.”
Kansas freshman guard Kylee Kopatich
On her double steals:
Once we switched to odd nine and not switching anymore, I think I pushed up the line a little more to get in the way of the passing lane. I think that disrupted them, as you saw when I was able to get those steals.
On Aldridge’s three closing out the 1st half:
Lauren has been on fire. If we go back to when we were in Dallas, she hit five threes. So once it was up, I knew it was going to go in. But it was just an extra boost of energy. We were already up and making plays – that shot just said it all.
Kansas sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge
On responding to Creighton’s three-point game with successful three-point baskets:
“I think that it all started with our defense. We talked about how we were taking the ball out of the net which was keeping us from flowing into offense and transition. So whenever we started getting stops, we were able to do that a little bit easier. That’s where we’re comfortable and what we like to do as a team so it all starts with the defense for us.”
On Lauren hitting career-high in scoring but having Kopatich not falling too far behind:
“It’s awesome to have another shooter besides you because anytime you pull another shooter beside you it takes a little bit of the load off of yourself. They’ve got to respect Kylee on the three-point line and hug her a little bit and that opens driving lanes for the rest of our team. Just to be able to use her to elevate my game and to elevate Jayde’s game. Jayde had quite a few drives to the basket, that’s partly because of the shooters on the outside. To be able to play alongside somebody like that is huge for our offense.”
On looking for more opportunities than usual to score tonight:
“I just think that in our offense you have to attack hips to get everything started. The offense is called ‘attack’ so you have to start attacking some hips and whenever that happens and we start flowing into it, then that’s when as a team we get really good looks. I just tried to assert myself a little bit more in that way and get paint touches because good things happen for us when we get paint touches.”
Kansas continues its six-game homestand to close out the 2015-16 non-conference slate. The Jayhawks continue the homestand with St. John’s on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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