Jayhawks hit the road, face Texas Wednesday
|Jan. 23 // 7 p.m.|
|Frank Erwin Center|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball heads out on the road for its first meeting with No. 11 Texas on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m., inside the Frank Erwin Center.
The Longhorns are the third nationally-ranked opponent that the Jayhawks have faced since the start of Big 12 Conference action. The first meeting of the 2019 series will be on the Longhorn Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY
Record on Jan. 23: 4-8
On January 23, 2013, Kansas topped Texas, 76-38, for its third-straight win over the Longhorns. Angel Goodrich led the Jayhawks with 20 points, surpassing 1,000 career points to become the 26th Jayhawk in Kansas women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000 point mark.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas enters its third game of the season against a nationally-ranked opponent with an 11-5 overall record and a 1-4 mark in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks head to Austin looking for its first win over a nationally ranked opponent since last season, when KU topped then-No. 23 Oklahoma State. Kansas’ offense is paced by senior guard Christalah Lyons who is dishing out 3.4 assists per game, ranking her 15th in the league through KU’s 16 games. Lyons has posted two 20-point performances in Big 12 play, averaging 15.4 points per game against conference opponents and 11.4 points overall. Two-time 2018-19 Big 12 Player of the Week Jessica Washington leads Kansas in scoring with 15.1 points per game, while connecting on 37.7 percent of her attempts from the floor and 41.9 percent of her shots from beyond the arc. Senior guard Kylee Kopatich is averaging 11.7 points and is shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and a team-leading 42.9 percent from the 3-point line. The Kansas’ defense is lead by sophomore center Bailey Helgren with 6.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocks, while Kopatich leads KU with 1.9 steals, the seventh-best in the conference. Senior Austin Richardson leads Kansas with 15 blocks on the season and serves as KU’s second-leading rebounder with 5.7 rebounds per game.
SCOUTING THE LONGHORNS
Texas’ (15-3, 5-1) only two nonconference losses came in back-to-back games to nationally ranked Mississippi State and Tennessee. Following the pair of losses, the Longhorns went on a seven-game winning streak before it was snapped by Kansas State in a 87-69 Big 12 loss. Five Longhorns are averaging double figures in the scoring category, led by senior Lashann Higgs, who has appeared in just four games, with 13.8 points. Junior Sug Sutton (12.3), graduate student Danni Williams (10.9), senior Jatarie White (10.5) and junior Joyner Holmes (10.1) have all played in the majority of UT’s games and have contributed greatly to the Longhorn offense. Sutton serves as Texas’ floor general dishing out 5.9 assists per game, which ranks third in the Big 12. Sutton (5.2 rpg) also joins Holmes (6.5 rpg) and White (5.7 rpg) as one of three Longhorns averaging more than five rebounds per game.
OKLAHOMA STATE LEFTOVERS
In a game where Kansas never had the lead, the Jayhawks attempted to mount a comeback before falling to Oklahoma State, 72-62. KU came within a possession of Oklahoma State, but the fourth quarter rally was halted and the Cowgirls escaped with the 10-point victory. Kansas had four Jayhawks record double-figures in the scoring category in senior Christalah Lyons (14), senior Austin Richardson (12), senior Kylee Kopatich (10) and sixth year Jessica Washington (10).
Sixth year Jessica Washington has had no problem finding her groove again after coming off a season-ending injury in 2017-18. The 2017 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year has garnered Big 12 Player of the Week honors twice already this season, most recently in week seven after being named Desert Division MVP at the Duel in the Desert Tournament. Washington has been named Big 12 Player of the Week three times in her career. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native leads the Jayhawks with 15.1 points per game, which is the 11th best in the Big 12 Conference. With 36 3-pointers to date, the 5-8 guard is tied with senior Kylee Kopatich for most treys on the Kansas team and third in the Big 12 for 3-pointers made, while her 3-point field goal percentage is second on the Kansas team and the eighth best in the league. Washington has posted 12 double-figure scoring efforts, including three 20-point performances this season in the 14 games that she’s appeared in.
Kansas set a single-game 3-point record making 14 treys against the No. 2 Lady Bears. KU connected on 50 percent (14-of-28) of its attempts from long range with five Jayhawks notching threes in the process. Sixth year Jessica Washington and senior Kylee Kopatich combined for 11 of the 14 triples, while sophomore Micaela Wilson and seniors Christalah Lyons and Austin Richardson added one 3-pointer each. Washington (6) and Kopatich (5) each tied their season highs for 3-pointers made in a single game.
Senior Kylee Kopatich and sixth year Jessica Washington have been lethal from beyond the 3-point line this season. The duo has been nearly identically from long range with each making 36 triples so far this season. Kopatich has attempted 84, while Washington has attempted 86. The pair lead Kansas from behind the arc with Kopatich shooting a team-best 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and Washington shooting 41.9 percent. Washington (2.6) and Kopatich (2.4) are third and fifth in the Big 12 for 3-point field goals made, respectively. Kopatich is tied for fifth for 3-point field goal percentage, while Washington is in eighth.
THE FLOOR GENERAL
Coming off of an impressive junior campaign where she garnered All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors, senior Christalah Lyons has settled into a groove leading the Kansas offense this season. The 5-5 guard posted a career-best 24 points against Iowa State (1/5) for her first 20-point performance of the year to begin Big 12 Conference play. Two games later, Lyons followed up with another 20-point performance scoring 20 points in KU’s first Big 12 win of the season against K-State (1/13). Lyons has posted double-figure scoring efforts in four of KU’s five league games to date and is averaging 15.4 points in Big 12 play and 11.4 points overall. Lyons is dishing out 3.4 assists per game so far this season with a team-high 54 during her senior campaign which places her 15th in the Big 12. The Dallas native has 23 turnovers thus far and has had zero turnovers in three games this season. Lyons’ 23 turnovers are the second fewest in the Big 12 among players in the top 15 for assist to turnover ratio. With an assist to turnover ratio of 2.35, Lyons is sixth in the Big 12 and 32nd in the nation.
The Jayhawks have forced an impressive 290 turnovers on the year and have forced at least 20 turnovers in a game eight times this season. While Kansas has been forcing a lot of turnovers, the Jayhawks have limited their own. KU is one of two teams in the Big 12 with less than 225 turnovers on the season with 220. Baylor, who has 210 turnovers on the season is the only other team with less than 225 turnovers. KU’s 13.8 turnovers per game are the 37th fewest in the nation, while Kansas is second in the Big 12. The Jayhawks boast the best turnover margin in the league (+4.3) and 30th best in the nation.
After a record-breaking 3-point performance with 14 treys, Kansas’ 123 triples to date continue to inch closer to surpassing last year’s total of 173. KU is averaging 7.7 3-pointers, which is second among Big 12 teams and 63rd in the nation, while connecting on 36.7 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc, which is second-best in the conference and 29th-best in the nation. Senior Kylee Kopatich is shooting a team-best 42.9 percent from the 3-point line, while sixth year Jessica Washington is connecting on 41.9 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc. Kopatich (36) and Washington (36) are the only two Jayhawks with 30 or more 3-pointers. While Kopatich and Washington lead the way from beyond the arc, seven other Jayhawks have made a triple this season, including three that have made at least 10. Senior Austin Richardson has made 15 treys, while senior Christalah Lyons and junior Mariane De Carvalho each have made 12 3-pointers. Sophomore Micaela Wilson (5), senior Brianna Osorio (4), and freshmen Aniya Thomas (2) and Brooklyn Mitchell (1) have all made a long range bucket for the Jayhawks. Kansas has made 11 or more 3-pointers on five separate occasions this season, 11 against George Mason (11/21), 12 at LSU (11/29), 11 against Northwestern (12/20), 12 against Iowa State (1/5) and 14 against Baylor (1/16).
The Jayhawks continue a two-game road trip at TCU where Kansas plays the Horned Frogs for the first time in 2019. KU and TCU tip off on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 12 p.m., inside the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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