Jayhawks’ Second-Half Comeback Falls Short, 66-53
Coach Brandon’s Press Conference
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Double-figure scoring from three separate Kansas women’s basketball players was not enough to complete a second-consecutive comeback, as the Jayhawks fell to Washington State 66-53 on Sunday night, inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Despite holding Washington State’s leading scorer, freshman forward Borislava Hristova, to just six points on the night after entering the game averaging 19 points per contest, the Jayhawks endured multiple shooting slumps that ultimately proved to be the difference.
The Jayhawks (5-5) were led by sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge with 13 points, marking her ninth double-digit scoring effort of the season. All four of Aldridge’s made field goals came from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich tallied 11 points, with seven of those being earned from the free throw line, while junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen recorded 10 points and pulled down a game-high seven rebounds.
Washington State’s (9-2) Dawnyelle Awa scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The senior guard drained all three of her three-point attempts on the night. Senior guard Taylor Edmondson posted 12 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
After the Jayhawks connected on their first field goal attempt of the evening, KU struggled to find the bottom of the net on their next six attempts. Kansas forced four Washington State turnovers in the first seven minutes of action, while Aldridge and Kopatich combined for four free throws to hold the Cougars’ lead to a single point at 7-6 with three minutes left in the quarter. The shooting slump extended to eight consecutive missed field goals for Kansas, allowing the Cougars to put together a 7-0 run and push the lead to 12-6. Aldridge ended the run with less than a minute left in the quarter with her first three-pointer of the contest. Two more free throws from Kopatich, just before the end of the first period, cut the deficit to one point, 12-11.
Washington State began the second quarter on a 7-1 run in less than three minutes of game time on 3-of-6 shooting. In the last three minutes of the half, the Jayhawks went on a 6-0 run behind Manning-Allen and junior forward Jada Brown, who each logged three points, bringing the Cougar lead back to one point, 28-27. WSU tacked on a jumper for the last points of the half at the 1:15 mark, to carry a three-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
Junior forward Jada Brown lays up one of her three made field goals on the night
Despite Washington State connecting on 12 field goals in the first half to Kansas’ seven, the Jayhawks only trailed, 30-27, by sinking 10 points from the free throw line. Freshman guard Jayde Christopher logged the only bench points for Kansas in the first half with a long-range basket, while Washington State’s bench combined for 15 of the team’s 30 points.
Both teams began the second half on 2-of-4 shooting, as the Cougars kept Kansas from eliminating their lead. Aldridge helped the Jayhawks break through at the 5:37 mark with her third triple of the contest to tie the game at 35-35. A made free throw from freshman forward Tyler Johnson gave Kansas its first lead since the five-minute mark of the first quarter. Another three from Aldridge capped off a 7-1 run to push the Jayhawks’ lead to four points, their largest of the evening.
The Cougars responded with a six-point run behind two quick three-pointers to reclaim the lead before the end of the quarter. Entering the final 10 minutes of play, the Jayhawks faced a three-point deficit, looking to pull off their second-consecutive comeback victory.
Washington State found the bottom of the net on its first two attempts of the fourth quarter, quickly establishing an eight-point advantage. Kansas did not back down, with a 5-0 run of its own to bring the game back to within three points. The Cougars put together a 13-3 run over the next five minutes of game time in response, as the Jayhawks saw the deficit extend to 13 points with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Kansas continued to fight, as Kopatich fought through the lane for a layup and Manning-Allen sank two free throws in the closing moments of the game, but the Washington State lead was too large for the Jayhawks to complete the comeback.
KANSAS 53 // WASHINGTON STATE 66
DEC. 20, 2015 – LAWRENCE, Kan.
• Sunday marked the first meeting between Washington State and Kansas on the hardwood for women’s basketball. With its win, Washington State takes a 1-0 lead in the all-time series.
• Kansas is now 0-2 against members of the Pac-12 Conference this season after its 66-53 loss Sunday and falling at Arizona, 67-52, on November 23.
• The Jayhawks now possess a 49-47 all-time record against current members of the Pac-12 Conference.
Attendance: 2,184 (Capacity: 16,300)
• The Jayhawks employed the starting lineup of F Jada Brown, F Caelynn Manning-Allen, G Lauren Aldridge, G Aisia Robertson and G Kylee Kopatich for the fourth time this season. The team’s record is 1-3 with that starting lineup in 2015-16.
• Kansas trailed by three points at halftime, 30-27, the fifth time this season the Jayhawks went into the locker room with a deficit with 20 minutes left to play.
• KU’s defense held Washington State’s leading scorer, Borislava Hristova, well below her season average of 19.4 points per game, as the Cougars’ freshman C scored just six points in Sunday night’s contest in limited playing time (13 minutes) due to foul trouble throughout the game.
• Kansas dropped to .500 on the season (5-5), 410-169, in Allen Fieldhouse all-time while head coach Brandon Schneider’s overall record fell to 406-143.
• The Jayhawks tied their team-low for field goals made in a game with 16 conversions against Washington State. KU also made 16 shots against UMKC on Dec. 10.
• Kansas also assisted on a season-low eight buckets, tying its mark set against UMKC on Dec. 10.
• Washington State’s 22 fourth quarter points marked the second-highest scoring output an opposing team has put on the Jayhawks in any quarter. St. John’s scored 24 points in the first quarter on Dec. 6.
• Kansas made 16-of-51 shots (31.4 percent), its second-worst field goal percentage on the year.
• KU got to the free throw line a season-high 26 times and tied a season-high with 15 makes at the charity stripe.
• Although going to the line 26 times, making 15 tries, (57.7 percent) it was Kansas’ third-lowest free throw percentage on the year.
• The Jayhawks swiped eight possessions from Washington State, the second-most on the year.
• Sophomore G Lauren Aldridge’s three-pointer with 39 seconds left in the first quarter extended her streak of at least one trey made in each of the Jayhawks’ 10 games so far this season.
• Aldridge ended the game with four three-pointers, which is her second-highest output on the season. Aldridge scored in double-figures for the 10th time in 11 games this season.
• A native of Marshfield, Missouri, Aldridge took two charges on the night, increasing her individual total to five for the season and the team’s total to 12 in 2015-16.
• Freshman G Jayde Christopher hit her second three-pointer of the season in the second quarter of action, tying her season-high (1 vs. St. John’s, 12/6).
• Redshirt junior G Timeka O’Neal dissed out two assists in the first half, setting new personal best for both the season and her career.
• Junior F Caelynn Manning-Allen scored in double figures for the seventh time this season. Manning-Allen also swatted a game-high four blocks.
Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider
“I thought Washington State, obviously, played a good fourth quarter. They capitalized on some of our defensive mistakes and credit them for stepping up and making shots. We struggled with matchup zone, obviously, in the first half and I really thought we kind of had it figured out in the third quarter. Then, the fourth quarter, we got impatient and didn’t move it as much as we would of liked and committed some turnovers, which gets them out in transition and just allows them to separate just enough”
On falling apart in the fourth quarter and what adjustments he would like to make:
“Well, we haven’t seen zone that much at all and they were playing matchup zone a lot. We talked about the different areas we want to try to get the ball. I thought we did a nice job with that to start the second half, made them go man for a few possessions and when they went back to the matchup zone, we just got really impatient.”
On the reason of fourth quarter struggles:
“Well, I think the biggest issues we had in the fourth quarter were defensively. They played to a high post back door and we had two guys go with the backdoor and they would get a three. We had some errors on ball screen defense where we didn’t play an assignment correct. I thought their point guard had a terrific game and not only did she score, but she found open players, especially off of ball screens late and we just missed some assignments.”
On the keys of containing their leading scorer:
“We face guarded her most of the game and she didn’t help herself when she got in foul trouble, obviously, that was a big part of it. But, the bulk of our plan was to slow her down and credit their two other guys for stepping up. I think that’s what good teams do and that’s why you don’t want to be a one option team.
On making shots and free throws:
“I think when you don’t make shots and you don’t make free throws it puts a lot of pressure on your defense. I think there were even some times when we had good shots and we just didn’t knock them down. When you get to the free throw line, when you get those opportunities you’ve got to step up there and knock them down.”
On Washington State’s defense:
“I think tonight a lot of that was the matchup zone. We were literally reviewing some things in time outs just because we have not seen much of it. They haven’t played a lot of that defense. Obviously, they (Washington State) really wanted to keep us out of the lane. It was an effective defense and we didn’t execute as well as we should have.”
On first year struggles:
“The only thing that’s harder than injuries is inexperience. It’s something that we can’t use as an excuse, we just have to keep moving forward and trying to get a little bit better every day. This is a great learning experience for us, or it should be because it gives us some film, and they can get their eyes on that because they don’t see that in practice.”
On Kylee Kopatich:
“She had a tough game. I think she got frustrated, not making some shots. Over penetrated and got herself in some tough situations. Fortunately, she got fouled some. This is a game where she can look at some film and hopefully continue to grow. We have to be careful when we’re behind. We just didn’t trust the offense as much as we should have, and particularly in the fourth quarter. We’d make one or two passes and then it was—I don’t like to use the word panic, but we were in way too big of a hurry with as much time that was left in the game.”
On Washington state capitalizing on Kansas’ mistakes:
“What it highlights is their ability to capitalize when we made a mistake. They made the right decisions and a lot of that was their point guard. She really played with a lot of poise and composure, and always had her head up. We were never able to really get her head down and force her into any mistakes.”
Kansas junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen
On what team was focusing on during their week off:
“In the beginning of the game, coach told us that winning the rebound war, 50/50 ball war and turnover war will help us win the game. That was one thing that we were trying to focus on going into the game, just being tough, we talked about toughness a lot during this week while we prep, so that was something we tried to keep in mind during the game “
On if team is having trouble learning the play calling and system:
“I think a lot of the time it was just paying attention to detail, focusing in and having your assignment correct.
On making mistakes:
“I think that a lot of the time it was paying attention to detail, focusing in and being assignment correct.”
On what needs to happen next:
“Just trying to be more disciplined, and assignment correct, and just playing tough and playing together.”
Kansas junior forward Jada Brown
On what team was focusing on during their week off:
“We went to this thing what we call a 30 defense, where we try to play the gaps more and stop the penetration and like she (Caelynn) said the turnovers, the free throws, those little details and just out toughing them.”
On if team is still trying to figure out how to close in the fourth quarter:
“I think we just have to figure things out. Everything is so fast all the time and we’re just trying to attack. Like coach Brandon said we just needed to have a little bit more ball movement to get in the gaps and were still trying to figure that out, and get smart enough to know the difference. It doesn’t have to be fast, just smart.”
On closing in the fourth quarter:
“Everything is so fast all the time. With this team coach was saying we need to have a little more ball movement to get in the gaps, so just kind of figuring that out and being smart enough to know the difference. It doesn’t always have to be fast, but smart.”
On what needs to happen next:
“Of course a team win. And just continuing to trust the offense and trust what we are doing and being consistent with what we are doing.”
Washington State Head Coach June Daugherty
“This was a great win for us today, we have an enormous amount of respect for Kansas and I know that they’ve gone through a little bit of a coaching change here, I think their team definitely knows their identity, they play really hard and defensively on Borislava Hristova, our leading scorer who has been getting 25-30 a game, they pretty much took her out of the game with the game plan, but we found out a lot about ourselves tonight as Cougars, we are able to step up and by committee find a way to score and get the win in a very tough, awesome environment here at Allen Fieldhouse.”
On the fourth quarter momentum change:
“We were just talking about how hard we wanted to play defense. We needed to get stops and not giving them the open three looks, and how important it was to be one and done by taking care of the rebounding. I thought that we stepped up and did that. The other thing was, I thought that we took care of the basketball on the other end and tried to get the shot clock down, and use a little bit better clock management with what I think was 2:45 to use up some clock. I thought Taylor Edmondson and Dani Awa, our two seniors, just really wanted the ball in their hands, they wanted to make big plays. They know how good Kansas is and they were able to bring it home for us.”
On already playing Big 12 competition:
“They’re different, but they’re all good. They’re a lot bigger, they’re go inside a lot harder and bigger with their front line. We had an enormously hard time trying to stop their front line and we had a chance to win that game, but we let it get away from us. That’s the way it goes, but we’re certainly excited about this win tonight.”
On what Washington State did to limit Kansas’ scoring:
“We try to give them a lot of different looks, we were in our match up in a lot in our zone, and trying to really spread out, keep a hand up. Don’t have looks–they loved that skip pass the first half. They were very good at setting that side screen for the skip pass, we didn’t get enough pressure on the passer to give up the threes, so I think at one point it was back-to-back threes. Second half, especially third quarter, I thought that we were able to get out on those shooters and put more pressure on the passers, so the skip passes in the air are a little bit longer and gave us time to get out there on the catch.”
Kansas concludes its non-conference slate against Oral Roberts on Tuesday, Dec. 22, inside Allen Fieldhouse. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Fans can follow along on ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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