Jayhawks to Face Cougars on the Hardwood
Freshman Tyler Johnson
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball welcomes Washington State to Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday, Dec. 20, for the first meeting between the Jayhawks and the Cougars. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., and the contest will air on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
AROUND THE GYM
Sunday is Jay Days inside Allen Fieldhouse with special prices at the concession stand. Hot dogs and popcorn are $2 each, while fudge bars are a $1.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks (5-4) faced their first overtime challenge of the season against Navy, forcing extra time after slowly chipping away at an early 19-point deficit. Kansas eventually trailed by 12 points at halftime. The come-from-behind victory marked the largest halftime deficit overcome since a 23-point comeback against TCU in 2013. KU looks to build on that success as Kansas continues its homestand with the Washington State Cougars on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. The Jayhawks will conclude the non-conference slate on Tuesday, Dec. 22 against Oral Roberts, before the start of Big 12 Conference action on Dec. 30 at Oklahoma.
Sophomore Lauren Aldridge led the squad with a career-high 19 points against Navy. Aldridge has recorded double figures in eight of nine games this season and averages 14.0 points per game, a team-high mark that ranks 10th in the Big 12 and second in the conference among underclassmen. She also leads the Jayhawks in free throw percentage (.818).
Freshman Kylee Kopatich converted on 5-of-6 free throws on her way to a 14-point game against the Mids. The Olathe, Kansas native owns the second-best free throw percentage among freshmen from the Big 12, shooting 76.0 percent from the charity stripe.
Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen recorded her second double-double of the season to help the Jayhawks seal the victory, with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Manning-Allen has posted double-figure scoring in 6-of-9 contests this season, averaging 9.8 points per game.
Freshmen Jayde Christopher and Tyler Johnson each made their first career start against the Mids. Christopher connected on her only field goal attempt and shot a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line to log four points. Johnson also tallied four points, and tacked on one rebound, one block and one steal.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
Washington State is 8-2 on the season, and will look to bounce back after St. Mary’s snapped its three-game winning streak on Dec. 12, 75-71. Like the Jayhawks’ win over Navy, the Cougars battled back from an 18-point deficit. However, they could not hold off the Gaels who sank 12-of-13 free throws in the final quarter to prevent the comeback victory.
The Cougars, who ended last season with a 17-15 mark and tied for seventh in the conference, were predicted to place 10th in the Pac-12 in 2015-16 according to the league’s preseason poll. Washington State returns just two starters from last year’s squad, but the four Cougar seniors have tallied more than 6,000 minutes in a WSU uniform.
Freshman forward Borislava Hristova is leading the way for the Cougars, averaging 19.4 points per game. Her scoring mark ranks second among freshmen in the Pac-12 and fourth in the nation. The true freshman from Bulgaria is shooting 51.7 percent from the field, a team-high average, and 84.6 percent from the free throw line.
Senior guard Dawnyelle Awa is averaging 2.9 assists and 2.6 steals per contest for Washington State. The Kealakekua, Hawaii native ranks second behind Hristova in scoring average for the Cougars, with 6.8 points per game. She also holds the team’s best free throw percentage, shooting 87.5 percent from the charity stripe.
Through 10 games, Washington State is averaging 67.7 points per game and shooting 39.8 percent from the field. The Cougars are pulling down 40.9 rebounds per game, while logging 12.9 assists and 11.3 steals.
Sunday marks the first meeting in program history against Washington State.
When the Jayhawks host Washington State, it marks the second contest against a team from the Pac-12 this season. Kansas faced Arizona on Nov. 23 and owns a 49-47 all-time record against programs from the Pac-12.
THIS DAY IN KU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY
Record on Dec. 20: 5-2
Kansas women’s basketball will play on the 20th day of December for the eighth time in program history. The first meeting on Dec. 20 was in 1980 against Long Beach State, when the Jayhawks fell, 73-72. Kansas’ most recent contest on Dec. 20 came in 2009 at home against UC Riverside. The Jayhawks earned a 75-60 victory for a fifth -consecutive win. Danielle McCray led the team with a season-high 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including four three-pointers. Aishah Sutherland tallied 11 points while Krysten Boogaard chipped in 10 points. The Jayhawks outrebounded the Highlanders 45-23, helping give the home team a 24-9 advantage in second-chance points.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Redshirt junior Timeka O’Neal ranks third in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 48.1 percent this season, while sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge is 11th in the conference, making 40.0 percent of her attempts. Additionally, Aldridge is 10th in the Big 12 in scoring (14.0 points per game), seventh in free throw percentage (.818) and first in minutes played (35.4 minutes per game). Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen is 10th in the league in rebounding (7.2 boards per game) and is fifth in blocked shots (1.8 per game).
The Jayhawks will face 12 teams this season with postseason experience from the year prior. Familiar Big 12 foes Baylor, Texas, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all advanced to the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The No. 2 seed Baylor Bears experienced the most successful tournament run, reaching the Elite Eight. TCU, Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Southern, St. John’s and Washington State all were invited to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament at the end of last season. West Virginia advanced the farthest, reaching the championship game where the Mountaineers fell to UCLA. Oral Roberts was selected to play in the Women’s Basketball Invitational, advancing to the semifinal before losing a one-point game to eventual tournament champion, University of Louisiana Lafayette. Kansas currently holds a 1-1 record this season against teams that played in the postseason a year ago. The Jayhawks’ next 11 games will be against teams with postseason experience from 2014-15.
Kansas concludes its six-game homestand to close out the 2015-16 non-conference slate when the Jayhawks host Oral Roberts on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.