Jayhawk Insider: A look back at the 2018-19 season
With six seniors at the forefront of a season filled with multiple milestones, Kansas women’s basketball has a lot to be proud of following the 2018-19 season.
The Jayhawks opened the season on a six-game winning streak with five wins at home inside Allen Fieldhouse and a win at LSU during the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Following KU’s win against LSU, Kansas was the only school in the nation with undefeated programs in both women’s and men’s basketball.
In the midst of the winning streak, senior Kylee Kopatich became just the 29th Jayhawk in Kansas women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career points, scoring 14 points against George Mason (11/21).
Using the momentum from a 7-1 start to the season, which had led to the Jayhawks receiving votes in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls, Kansas went on to earn its first tournament title in the Brandon Schneider era in senior Brianna Osorio’s hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada. With back-to-back wins over Washington State and Northwestern, the Jayhawks won the Duel in the Desert tournament and had two players named to the All-Tournament team.
KU finished nonconference play with a 10-1 record, which marks the first time the Jayhawks notched 10 wins in nonconference slate since the 2011-12 season when Kansas went 11-1.
After the best start to the season of their careers, the Jayhawks continued accomplishing things that had never done before in league play. In the 120th meeting between Kansas and Kansas State, KU beat the Wildcats in Manhattan for the first time since 2014.
The seniors were a key part of another major milestone for the women’s basketball program – scoring a record-breaking 14 3-pointers against nationally-ranked Baylor (1/16) with 13 of the 14 triples coming from the senior class.
As Big 12 play went on, the Jayhawks continued making strides and reaching new achievements. Kansas beat Oklahoma behind the efforts of seniors Christalah Lyons, Austin Richardson and Kopatich with each of the three notching 20-point performances against the Sooners. Lyons posted her third 20-point effort of the season with a team-high 23 points, while Richardson and Kopatich chipped in 20 points apiece marking the first time three players scored 20 points in a game since 1995.
The Jayhawks shot 94.1 percent from the free throw line against OU, tying the eighth-best mark all time for free throw percentage in KU history. Kansas’ 32 free throws mark the most made by the Jayhawks since 2013.
Capping off a season full of notable accomplishments was a Big 12 Tournament win over Oklahoma State, KU’s first win at the Big 12 Championship since 2016.
Two Jayhawks received All-Big 12 honors with the senior duo of Kopatich and Lyons both being named to the honorable mention team. The selection marks Lyons’ second All-Big 12 honor in two seasons with Kansas and the first of Kopatich’s four-year career.
Beyond the hardwood, Kansas had four student-athletes garner Academic All-Big 12 honors, including three selected to the first team and one to the second team. Kopatich along with sophomore Bailey Helgren and medically disqualified senior Tyler Johnson were selected to the first team, while redshirt-freshman Brittany Franklin was named to the second team.
The Jayhawks look to continue building off of these accomplishments next season.