Jayhawks Gear Up for Non-Conference Finale
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball closes out its non-conference slate with Samford on Monday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The contest is the Jayhawks final tune up game before opening 2015 Big 12 conference action on the road against nationally-ranked Texas. Kansas’ matchup against Samford will air on the Jayhawk Television Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas is coming off a tough overtime loss at Creighton (12/22) prior to a week hiatus for the Holidays. After a quick break, the Jayhawks were back in the gym gearing up for its final non-conference test before starting conference play. Heading into the non-conference finale at home, KU has an 8-1 mark inside Allen Fieldhouse this season.
Freshman guard Terriell Bradley came off the bench and had a career-best performance at Creighton (12/22). The Arlington, Texas native set a career-high with 21 points thanks to a 6-of-9 effort from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
The Jayhawks are averaging 67.2 points per game with a +8.6 scoring margin over their opponents. Kansas has won six of its last nine games, highlighted by a victory over a top-10 opponent. KU is shooting 44.1 percent from the field, while holding its opponents to shooting 34.0 percent. Kansas has connected on 40.0 percent of its attempts from the three-point line, which is the best mark in the Big 12. The Jayhawks are averaging 39.5 rebounds, 14.8 assists, 5.8 steals and 4.3 blocks per game.
Seniors Chelsea Gardner and Natalie Knight are averaging double digits with 17.2, 12.4 points per game, respectively. Gardner also leads the team with 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per contest. From beyond the arc, Knight is shooting an impressive 47.3 percent and has shot 50 percent or higher in eight-of-12 games played this year.
Sophomore Jada Brown is the last veteran in Kansas’ starting lineup. She is averaging 2.3 points and 3.9 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 Cheadle round out the Jayhawks’ starting five. Aldridge is averaging 7.4 points per game. She dished out a career-high eight assists at Purdue (12/11). Cheadle is averaging 7.0 points per game and is shooting 35.7 percent from beyond the arc.
KANSAS FAST BREAKS
- Three or more Jayhawks have netted double-figure scoring performances in nine of Kansas’ 12 games this season. KU had four reach double-digit scoring in three-straight games and in a total of five contests. Senior Chelsea Gardner has scored 10 or more points in 11-of-12 games in 2014-15, while senior Natalie Knight has contributed double figures in 10 of the Jayhawks’ 12 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).
- KU has limited its opponents to 34.0 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 the match-up and KU kept the Bears under 40 points.
- Kansas’ all-time record is 779-555 while the program has an all-time conference record of 237-249. Head coach Bonnie Henrickson is 338-219 all-time and 179-157 at KU.
- 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 833 career points and needs 167 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 12 games this season and is second in 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’ 12 games, including a season-high 30 against Alabama (11/22). Gardner has netted double figures in 37 of her last 41 games.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Samford has a 6-6 mark on the season leading up to Monday’s contest in Allen Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs won their last outing, 56-43, over Alabama State to snap a three-game losing streak. Samford has won two of its last five games. In the preseason Southern Conference polls, Samford was picked to finish third by the league’s coaches and fourth by the media. The Bulldogs landed two players on the Southern Conference Coaches’ Preseason All-Conference team as junior center Taylor Reece and sophomore guard Hannah Nichols were Samford’s selections. Reece is returning after sitting out last season with a knee injury, while Nichols was named the SoCon’s Freshman of the Year last season.
Nichols leads the team with 14 points per game and is shooting a team-best 47.6 percent from the field. She is also shooting a team-high 45 percent from the three-point line, while grabbing 4.3 rebounds per game. Reece is the only other Bulldog averaging double figures with 12.2 points per game and is shooting 42.3 percent. Destiney Elliott leads the team with seven rebounds per game and has a total of 17 steals on the season to lead the squad.
The Bulldogs are averaging 60.5 points per game and have a + 1.7 scoring margin over their opponents. Samford is shooting 43.5 percent from the field, while limiting its foes to 37.2 percent shooting. From the three-point line, the Bulldogs are connecting on 38 percent of their attempts. Samford is averaging 34.6 rebounds, 13.7 assists, 18.1 turnovers, 4.9 steals and 2.1 blocks per game.
Kansas and Samford meet for the first time on the hardwood on Monday night.
Monday’s matchup between the Jayhawks and the Bulldogs is the first in program history. It is the fourth time this season that Kansas has faced an opponent for the first time.
A KNIGHT’S TALE
Senior Natalie Knight came back strong in the 2013-14 season after suffering a season-ending knee injury the season prior. She was the only Jayhawk to start every game last year and averaged a team-high 35.3 minutes per game. Knight is off and running to start 2014-15 with 12.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. So far this year, Knight has shot 50 percent or better from the three-point line in eight of KU’s 12 contests. Currently, Knight has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.2, which is second-best in the Big 12. In 12 contests, Knight has dished out 45 assists and turned the ball over 14 times in 370 minutes played.
Senior forward Chelsea Gardner opened the 2014-15 season with her 50th double-digit scoring effort and her 21st double-figure rebounding performance with 24 points and 11 rebounds on Nov. 16 against South Dakota. She converted six of her nine shots in the 2014-15 season opener for a 64.3 shooting percentage from the field. Gardner has scored in double figures in 37-of-41 games dating back to the 2013-14 season and has 22 double-doubles in her career. On the year, Gardner is averaging 17.2 points, the fourth-best scoring average in the Big 12, and 7.8 rebounds per game. She is also shooting 53.9 percent from the field and is second in the conference with four double-doubles.
THE YOUNG AND RESTLESS
Kansas added four freshmen to the 2014-15 roster during the offseason and several are making an impact already. Lauren Aldridge has started all 12 games at point guard and is fourth on the team in scoring with 7.4 points per game. She played two games in a row without a turnover while dishing out 13 assists. Aldridge has scored in double figures four times, including a season-high 13 against Temple (11/22) and Creighton (12/22). Chayla Cheadle is fifth on the team with 7.0 points per game and scored a career-high 19 points against Arkansas State (12/14), 16 of those coming in the final 20 minutes of play. Terriell Bradley came off the bench against Creighton (12/22) to net a career-high 21 points. She also recorded the second-best three-point percentage after a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc against Iona (11/26).
THAT 70’s SHOW
Kansas’ success during the Bonnie Henrickson-era has been pretty much based on 70 points. When the Jayhawks score 70 or more points, Kansas owns a 114-18 record (.869) during her tenure. When KU opponents score less than 70 points, the Jayhawks are 143-72 (.665) during that span.
In the month of December, the Jayhawks own an overall mark of 184-81 (.696) and are 50-20 (.724) during the Bonnie Henrickson era in the final month of the year. In the past three seasons, Kansas and its senior captains have recorded a 16-7 record in December.
NOT IN OUR LEAGUE
Kansas owns an 8-4 record after the first 12 non-conference games of the 2014-15 season. The Jayhawks boast a 339-157 (.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 80-20 (.808) in non-conference games since the 2007-08 season.
JAYHAWKS FACE TOURNAMENT TESTED OPPONENTS
Kansas faces 14 opponents that advanced to the postseason last year, 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 4-3 record after facing seven programs that appeared in the 2014 postseason.
Following a holiday break, the Jayhawks will return home when KU hosts Samford on Monday, Dec. 29. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The contest will air on the Jayhawk Television Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.