Kansas Set for Bout with Arkansas State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball returns to Lawrence to host Arkansas State on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. Fans are encouraged to participate in the Jayhawks’ annual Toys for Tots game, with free admission granted to individuals who bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to those in need. The game will air on the Jayhawk Television Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks, who are 7-1 at home this season, look to get back on track with a victory over Arkansas State on Sunday afternoon. After defeating nationally-ranked Cal last weekend, Kansas stumbled on the road falling to Purdue, 61-48.
Despite the loss, KU’s senior duo of Natalie Knight and Chelsea Gardner recorded double-digit scoring efforts yet again. Knight has netted double figures in eight of the Jayhawks’ 10 games in 2014-15, while Gardner’s fourth double-double of the year extended her double-digit scoring streak to 10-straight contests. The Jayhawks were held to under 50 points for just the second time this season, the first occasion against Notre Dame also resulted in a loss.
The Jayhawks are averaging 66.3 points per game. Kansas has a +9.2 scoring margin over its opponents and have won five of its last seven games, including a victory over a top-10 opponent. KU is shooting 44.0 percent from the field, while holding its opponents to 33.7 percent shooting. From the three-point line, Kansas is connecting on 39.1 percent of its attempts, which is the best mark in the Big 12. The Jayhawks are averaging 38.8 rebounds, 15.1 assists, 6.1 steals and 4.0 blocks per game.
Seniors Gardner, Knight and Asia Boyd are averaging double digits through the first 10 games with 19.2, 11.5 and 10.2 points per game, respectively. Gardner also leads the team with 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per contest. From beyond the arc, Knight is shooting an impressive 48.9 percent and has shot 50 percent or higher in seven-of-10 contests this year. Boyd came off the bench and knocked in a season-high 19 points against Iona (11/26). She also scored double figures against Incarnate Word (12/4) behind a 3-for-5 performance from the three-point line.
Sophomore Jada Brown is the last veteran in Kansas’ starting lineup. She is averaging 2.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, which is third-most on the roster. Against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Brown recorded a career-high 12 points. Freshmen Lauren Aldridge and Chayla Cheadle round out the Jayhawks’ starting five. Aldridge is averaging 6.7 points per game. She dished out a career-high eight assists at Purdue (12/11). Cheadle is averaging 5.6 points per game and is shooting 34.8 percent from beyond the arc.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
- Three or more Jayhawks have netted double-figure scoring performances in eight of Kansas’ 10 games this season. KU had four reach double-digit scoring in three-straight games and a total of four contests. Senior Chelsea Gardner has scored 10 or more points in every game of 2014-15, while senior Natalie Knight has contributed double figures in eight of the Jayhawks’ 10 games this year.
- For the first time in nearly 14 years, the Jayhawks shot 67 percent from three-point range on a minimum of 10 attempts against Incarnate Word (12/4), connecting on 8-of-12 shots from beyond the arc. It marked the highest completion rate from three since Dec. 2, 2000, when Kansas went 8-for-11 (72.7 percent) against St. Joseph in Allen Fieldhouse. KU followed that with a 7-for-11 effort from the three-point line against then-No. 10 Cal (12/7).
- Kansas shot better than average overall from the field against Incarnate Word (12/4) with a 57 percent field goal average, which is the highest percentage since Dec. 29, 2013, against Yale.
- KU has limited its opponents to 33.7 percent shooting from the field. The Jayhawks have held three opponents to less than 30 percent shooting, including holding the Golden Bears to 25 percent from the field. Cal averaged 90 points coming into last Sunday’s match-up and KU kept the Bears under 40 points.
- Kansas’ all-time record is 777-555 while the program has an all-time conference record of 237-249. Head coach Bonnie Henrickson is 336-219 all-time and 177-157 at KU.
- Freshman guard Lauren Aldridge earned her first Big 12 honor after being selected as the Phillips 66 Freshman Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 1. She is the first Jayhawk to receive a weekly honor from the conference in 2014-15.
- Gardner, a Preseason All-Big 12 selection, joined the 1,000-point club after scoring 24 points in the season opener against South Dakota (11/16).
- Knight has 799 career points and needs 201 more to join Gardner in the 1,000-point club, which she is on pace to reach by the end of February.
- Gardner has four double-doubles after 10 games this season and once again leads the Big 12 Conference. She posted a Big 12-leading 13 double-doubles last year. Gardner’s 13 double-doubles were the most by a Jayhawk in a single season since Shyra Holden had 14 in 1978-79.
- Gardner has scored 20 or more points in four of Kansas’ 10 games, including a season-high 30 against Alabama (11/22). Gardner has netted double figures in every game of 2014-15 and in 36 of her last 39 games.
SCOUTING THE RED WOLVES
Arkansas State opened 2014-15 with a 1-2 mark in the Preseason WNIT Tournament. The Red Wolves are 3-3 so far during non-conference action and were selected by the Sun Belt Conference coaches to finish the year atop of the league after earning 19 first-place votes.
Redshirt junior guard Aundrea Gamble was selected as the Preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. After six games, she leads the team with 19.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Gamble has dished out a team-best 28 assists, while shooting 50 percent from the field. Junior guard Khadija Brown-Haywood is the only other A-State player averaging double figures with 10.5 points per game. She is shooting 48 percent from the field and grabbing 4.8 rebounds per game. Redshirt senior guard Hanna Qedan was also selected as a preseason all-conference honoree. She is averaging 8.3 points per game and shooting 42.9 percent from the field.
Kansas leads the series against Arkansas State, 3-2.
Sunday’s contest between the Jayhawks and Red Wolves marks the sixth meeting and first in nearly 15 seasons. The series began with a 99-70 KU victory on Dec. 8, 1984. Kansas is 2-1 against Arkansas State when playing in Allen Fieldhouse.
Last Time Out
The last match-up against the Red Wolves ended in KU’s favor with a 63-51 victory on the road. Jaclyn Johnson and Brooke Reves netted double-digit scoring efforts with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Reves was two rebounds shy of a double-double versus A-State. The Jayhawks shot 47 percent compared to the Red Wolves 29 percent from the field.
ALDRIDGE COLLECTS FIRST BIG 12 WEEKLY HONOR
Freshman guard Lauren Aldridge aided the Jayhawks’ efforts last week, which resulted in a pair of wins, including a 62-39 victory over then-No. 10 California (12/7). It is the first career Big 12 honor for Aldridge and she is also the first Jayhawk to be named a league player of the week during 2014-15. The Marshfield, Missouri native is the first rookie honoree since Natalie Knight earned the honor during her freshman campaign (2011-12). The 5-7 guard averaged 8.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game over the last week. Aldridge tallied 11 points, five assists and four rebounds, along with a pair of steals, against Cal.
GARDNER Adds to List of ACCOLADE
After ending 2013-14 with various postseason awards, Kansas senior forward Chelsea Gardner kicked off the current season the same way, adding to her list of accolades. The DeSoto, Texas, native was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team as voted on by the conference head coaches. The 6-3 forward was also named to the Naismith Trophy Top 50 Watch List on Dec. 10, one of five players in the Big 12 to be named to the watch list.
NOT IN OUR LEAGUE
Kansas owns a 7-3 record after the first nine non-conference games of the 2014-15 season. The Jayhawks boast a 338-156 (.684) record all-time versus non-conference opponents. The Jayhawks’ best non-conference record came during the 2005-06 season when they posted a perfect 11-0 mark during the regular season. KU is 79-19 (.806) in non-conference games since the 2007-08 season.
Senior Chelsea Gardner posted 13 double-doubles during the 2013-14 season, which was the most in the Big 12 and 38th in the nation. She began her senior campaign with her 19th career double-double. With 10 games in the book this season, Gardner once again leads the Big 12 with four double-doubles. She has scored in double figures in 59 games during her career and grabbed double-digit rebounds in 24 games.
Senior guard Natalie Knight was among the top-10 three-point shooters in the Big 12 during the 2013-14 season. She shot 40.9 percent from beyond the arc, which was the best percentage in the league. In 2014-15, Knight is shooting 48.9 percent from the three-point line. She has shot 50 percent or higher from behind the arc in seven of KU’s 10 contests, including a season-high 74 percent (3-of-4) against then-No. 1 Notre Dame (11/30), then-No. 10 Cal (12/7) and Incarnate Word (12/4). In her career, Knight is shooting 39.8 percent, which is currently the second-best three-point average in KU women’s basketball history. For the first time in nearly 14 years, the Jayhawks shot 67 percent from three-point range on a minimum of 10 attempts, connecting on 8-of-12 shots from beyond the arc. It marked the highest completion rate from three since Dec. 2, 2000, when Kansas went 8-for-11 (72.7 percent) against St. Joseph in Allen Fieldhouse.
JAYHAWKS FACE TOURNAMENT TESTED OPPONENTS
Kansas faces 14 opponents that advanced to the postseason last season, which is two more than the previous season. KU’s non-conference schedule includes three conference champions and seven squads that reached the 20-win plateau. Kansas has a 4-2 record after facing six programs that appeared in the 2014 postseason.
After a brief break for finals, the Jayhawks hit the road again when KU heads to Creighton on Monday, Dec. 22. Tipoff against the Bluejays is slated for 6 p.m., inside D.J. Sokol Arena.
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