Hot-shooting Jayhawks down Lady Hornets, 81-49
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time since 2012-13, Kansas women’s basketball is off to a 4-0 start after the Jayhawks downed Delaware State, 81-49, on Wednesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
KU (4-0) had its best shooting night of the year, connecting on 46 percent (26-of-63) from the field. Kansas shot 45 percent or high in three of its four quarters against the Lady Hornets (0-4). Five Jayhawks netted double figures for the first time since the 2014-15 campaign.
Junior guard Kylee Kopatich led the way for Kansas, scoring a career-high 23 points (8-of-15), including six from long range. A feat that hasn’t been done since senior guard Jessica Washington drained six 3-pointers in a game last year. Kopatich has made at least 50 percent of her shots in three of four games and recorded double figures in all four matchups thus far. The Olathe, Kansas native added nine rebounds and five assists, falling just shy of a double-double.
Four other Jayhawks notched double-figure scoring efforts on the night, including junior guard Austin Richardson, who netted 12 points. Junior guards Christalah Lyons and Brianna Osorio each ended with 11 points. Freshman forward Micaela Wilson registered her second straight double-double with 10 points, while grabbing 11 rebounds.
The Lady Hornets were led by junior forward NaJai Pollard, who matched Kopatich’s 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Pollard added seven rebounds, one assist and a block in the Lady Hornets’ loss.
The Jayhawks held their opponents to seven points or less in the first 10 minutes of a game for the second time this season, holding Delaware State scoreless for the opening three minutes of the game. Lyons started the night off for Kansas with a jumper. Following Lyons’ floater, Kopatich knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers that put the KU up 8-0 early in the period.
Delaware State struggled to score throughout the period, knocking down just 25 percent of their shots. A jumper by junior center Syonah Williams, a pair of Pollard baskets and a free throw accounted for the Hornets only points of the quarter. While the Lady Hornets couldn’t find a rhythm offensively, the Jayhawks continued their impressive offensive performance, shooting 57.1 percent (12-of-21) from the field and 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from behind the arc in the first period.
In the second quarter, the Lady Hornets looked to keep up with Kansas on the offensive end of the court by answering Lyons layup with a 3-point basket, but the Jayhawks continued to knock down shot after shot throughout the quarter. Following junior guard A’Nikeyawna Barber’s 3-point basket, Kansas went on a 7-2 run to keep control of the game with a 40-12 lead. The next two minutes were scoreless for both teams until Kansas went on 10-1 run that featured baskets from Lyons, Osorio, Kopatich and a 3-pointer from Wilson.
Kansas continued to knock down shots throughout the first half and headed to the locker room with a 51-15 lead at half after shooting 56.3 percent from the field. The opening half marked the first time that the Jayhawks had scored 50 points in a half since Dec. 12, 2013 when Kansas put up 56 against Texas Southern.
After shooting just 18.8 percent from the field in the first half, Delaware State scored first to start the second half. Richardson answered Barber’s basket with a layup, but DSU’s Pollard went on to score the next five points. Following Pollard’s 5-0 run, both teams went scoreless for the next two minutes. The Lady Hornets found their groove offensively in the third quarter and outscored the Jayhawks 21-18, but Kansas maintained a 69-36 lead going into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was KU’s lowest scoring effort of the night, netting just 12 points in 10 minutes. Pollard knocked down the first field goal of the quarter, following a free throw from Lyons. Kansas’ first field goal wouldn’t come until nearly the eight-minute mark when Osorio laid it in to put the Jayhawks up, 72-38. Throughout the next two minutes, each team traded off missed baskets until senior guard Eboni Watts scored to end the drought. Despite making just three field goals in the fourth quarter, the Jayhawks hot-shooting throughout the first three periods led Ku to an 81-49 victory over Delaware State.
The Jayhawks continue their nine-game homestand, welcoming Rice to Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m.
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