Jayhawk Insider: Keys to the victory over UMKC

By: Ellen Terhune

LAWRENCE, Kan. — For the 40th time in program history, Kansas women’s basketball started the season out with a win as KU defeated UMKC on Wednesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse to begin the 2018-19 campaign.
Here are three keys to the Jayhawks 67-55 victory.
Key 1: Senior Leadership
Austin Richardson and Christalah Lyons anchored KU’s offense, combining for 27 points and proving to be a promising veteran duo to lead the Jayhawks this season. Richardson led the way with 14 points and recorded a career-high 12 rebounds, notching her first double-double of the season and second of her career.
With 13 points, Lyons, a Preseason All-Big-12 Honorable Mention selection, is on track to continue her double figures quest from last season, where she recorded double figures in 27 of KU’s 30 games. Lyons added more momentum to the Jayhawk offense with a team high six assists on the night. 
Coach Brandon’s take: 
“It was nice to see (Christalah) Lyons play aggressive and get in the gaps in the zone. I thought she did a great job handling the press. (Austin) Richardson had a rough start, but I thought she had a terrific finish and I think that says a lot about her focus and her confidence level. She just sticks with it. When shots don’t go in or when you’re having a rough night, you have to stick your nose in there and get some rebounds. Austin did that.”
Key 2: No Sophomore Slump
It may be just the first game, but there were no slumps for the Jayhawk’s only two sophomores in Allen Fieldhouse Wednesday night. In fact, with a new career high, Bailey Helgren’s performance was the exact opposite. After recording 16 blocks total in her rookie season, the center made a statement starting off the 2018-19 campaign with five blocks against UMKC. Micaela Wilson also proved she didn’t miss a beat from last season and got on the board with seven points, providing some timely 3-pointers. She also grabbed five rebounds.
 Coach Brandon’s take: 
“Micaela (Wilson) has really upped her practice energy over the last couple weeks. I think that it’s really benefited her. She’s playing hard, she’s communicating better than she ever has.
Bailey (Helgren) is a kid that gets a little bit better every single day. I think that’s been demonstrated and our fans have seen significant improvement from her.”
Key 3: Points in the Paints
KU started off the 2018-19 campaign with total domination in the paint. The Jayhawks outscored the Kangaroos, 36-20, in the lane. With 54 percent of their points inside the key, the Jayhawks showed their ability to attack the basket despite facing a zone defense at times. 
Coach Brandon’s take: 
“We had a lot more opportunities to get in there more. They played that zone real high and wide and we just played it around the train tracks instead of trying to play through the zone. This game will be great film for us. Like I said, this is the first time we’ve faced any zone.”
Kansas continues its five-game homestand against Oral Roberts on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse. Fans can watch all of the action on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN+ or listen on the Jayhawk Radio Network.





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