Jayhawks host West Virginia on Senior Day
|March 2 // 7 p.m.|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball is set to host Senior Day against West Virginia on Saturday, March 2 at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks will honor their seniors prior to tipping off with the Mountaineers for the 16th time in program history. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN+ and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
- Kansas’ senior class, who makes up 46 percent of its current roster, is set to be honored at Saturday’s home finale against the Mountaineers.
- The Jayhawks and West Virginia are meeting for the 16th time overall. KU is looking for its first win over WVU since 2015.
- Kansas’ starting five combined for 56 of the Jayhawks’ 66 points against TCU (2/27).
- The Jayhawks held TCU to just eight points in the final quarter, marking the 10th time this season Kansas has held an opponent to single digits in a quarter.
- Kansas has held its opponents to shooting only 30.4 percent from the 3-point line, which is fourth lowest in the Big 12. The Jayhawks have limited their opponents to making just 119 3-pointers, which is the fewest in the league.
- The Jayhawks have snagged the third-most steals in the Big 12 with 8.6 per game. Seniors Kylee Kopatich (2nd) and Christalah Lyons (14th) both rank among the top 15 in the league for steals per game, leading Kansas with 50 and 38 steals, respectively.
- The freshmen duo of Brooklyn Mitchell and Aniya Thomas continue making their mark on the Kansas program with the pair averaging 15.0 points per game over the last six games.
- With two steals against TCU, Kopatich is seven steals away from passing Jaclyn Johnson and moving into 10th in the Kansas record books for steals with 194 through her career thus far.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY
Record on March 2: 6-3
On March 2, 1996, Kansas topped Kansas State, 70-64, to extend its winning streak to six. Angie Halbleib led the Jayhawks with 27 points, while KU snagged 13 steals to K-State’s three.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Saturday’s senior day matchup marks the final game in Allen Fieldhouse for 46 percent of KU’s roster, as the Jayhawks honor their seniors. Kansas is looking for its first win over West Virginia since 2015, while also looking to close out the season with a win on their home court and stay above .500 inside Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas’ offense is paced by senior guard Christalah Lyons who is dishing out 3.0 assists per game. Lyons has posted three 20-point performances in Big 12 play, averaging a team-best 12.6 in league play and 11.3 points per game overall. Senior guard Kylee Kopatich is averaging 11.6 points and is shooting 40.4 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent from the 3-point line. Sophomore center Bailey Helgren leads Kansas with 5.7 rebounds, while senior Austin Richardson and redshirt-freshman Brittany Franklin have each blocked 20 shots on the season. Richardson serves as KU’s second-leading rebounder with 5.4 rebounds per game, while chipping in 10.4 points per game. Three different Jayhawks have snagged at least 30 steals on the season, led by Kopatich with 50 (1.9 spg), the second-most in the Big 12. Collectively, the Jayhawks limit their opponents to 65.1 points per game, while holding them to 30.4 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS
Despite dropping its last two games against Oklahoma and Kansas State, West Virginia remains in fourth in the Big 12 standings with a 10-6 league mark and a 19-8 overall record. With the third-best offense in the league with 72.0 points per game, the Mountaineers rely on their experienced players to get the offense going. Redshirt junior Tynice Martin averages a team-best 18.2 points per game, while senior Naomi Davenport adds 14.9 points per game. WVU’s upperclassmen take on the scoring mentality, but the Mountaineers depend on freshman Madisen Smith to pace the offense. Smith leads West Virginia with 4.2 assists which is fifth in the Big 12, while scoring 8.3 points per game. Defensively, West Virginia has two players averaging six or more rebounds in Davenport (7.8) and freshman Kari Niblack (6.5). Senior Theresa Ekhelar along with Niblack lead the team with 32 and 31 blocks, respectively. Collectively, West Virginia’s defense is among the best in the Big 12, limiting their opponents to 57.0 points per game (second) and allowing them to shoot just 35.4 percent from the field (second) and 27.0 percent from long range (first).
In the final meeting of the regular season against TCU, it was an evenly matched contest between Kansas and the Horned Frogs, but a second quarter run allowed TCU to take the lead and a 76-66 victory. Senior Christalah Lyons notched her 13th double-digit scoring effort after netting 18 points. Seniors Austin Richardson and Kylee Kopatich also gave KU double-figure performances with 16 and 14 points, respectively. The senior trio combined for 48 of KU’s 66 points.
SENIOR SEND OFF
The Jayhawks will honor their seniors prior to the start of Saturday’s home finale against West Virginia. Kylee Kopatich and Chelsea Lott are the only seniors who started with the program as freshmen, while Christalah Lyons, Austin Richardson, Brianna Osorio and Sara Boric transferred to KU from their respective junior colleges. The seniors have accounted for 59 percent of the Jayhawks’ scoring this season, scoring 1,051 of KU’s 1,769 points this season with Lyons (306), Kopatich (302), and Richardson (282) leading the way. Collectively, the seniors have shot 40.8 percent from the field in their final season.
WORKING HARD ON AND OFF THE COURT
Four Jayhawks were named to Academic All-Big 12 teams, marking the third time in head coach Brandon Schneider’s four years that KU has had at least four Academic All-Big selections. Seniors Kylee Kopatich and Tyler Johnson along with sophomore Bailey Helgren were selected to the first team, while redshirt-freshman Brittany Franklin was selected to the second team.
CLIMBING UP THE RANKS
Senior Kylee Kopatich has been putting her stamp on the Kansas record books since she first stepped foot onto James Naismith Court. Kopatich is 12 triples away from surpassing fellow Olathe South High School grad Natalie Knight for the most 3-pointers by a Kansas senior. The Olathe, Kansas native has made 221 career 3-pointers and is just 17 treys away from surpassing Angie Halbleib and becoming Kansas’ all-time 3-point field goal leader. Her 221 career 3-pointers are the most by a Jayhawk since 2015, when Knight ended her career with 178 triples. Beyond the 3-point line, Kopatich is seven steals away from passing Jaclyn Johnson and moving into 10th all-time for steals with 194 through her career thus far. Additionally, Kopatich needs to play just two minutes to pass Knight and move into fifth in the Kansas record books for minutes played with 3,810 minutes played to date.
WEST VIRGINIA CONNECTIONS
West Virginia Associate Head Coach Chester Nichols previously served as an assistant coach at Kansas from 2010-12. Senior Christalah Lyons and WVU senior Naomi Davenport played together previously at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas from 2015-17.
The freshmen duo of Brooklyn Mitchell and Aniya Thomas have made their impact felt as of late in Big 12 play. The pair has combined for 90 points and is averaging 15.0 points per game over the last six games with at least one freshman notching a double-digit scoring effort in four of those six contests. Mitchell and Thomas combined for 19 points off the bench against then-No. 14 Texas with Thomas finishing with 15 points, while Mitchell chipped in four points. Thomas’ performance on the hardwood against Texas earned her the third start of her career on the road at Oklahoma. The Duncanville, Texas native then posted her second-straight double-digit scoring performance with 11 points against the Sooners. Thomas has remained in the starting lineup for the last five games and has scored in double figures in three of the last six contests. Mitchell followed Thomas and scored 12 points against the Lady Raiders for her first double-digit scoring performance since November, which marked the third-straight game a Kansas freshman scored in double figures. Thomas has 95 points on the season, while Mitchell is just five points behind with 90 career points to date.
The Jayhawks close out the regular season at No. 20 Iowa State on Monday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m., inside Hilton Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on the Cyclone.TV and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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