Jayhawks meet with media at Big 12 Tipoff

DALLAS, Texas – Kansas women’s basketball traveled to Dallas, Texas to meet with members of the media at the 2018 Big 12 Tipoff on Tuesday.
Head Coach Brandon Schneider and seniors Christalah Lyons and Austin Richardson spent the day at St. Philip’s School and Community Center along with the nine other Big 12 women’s basketball teams to preview the upcoming season.
In addition to media and photo opportunities, the trio of Jayhawks were able to spend some time reading to and interacting with the students at St. Philip’s School.
The Jayhawks tipoff exhibition play against Fort Hays State on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Below are transcribed quotes from the question and answer session with Schneider, Lyons and Richardson.
Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider
On having the opportunity to interact with the kids at the school where Media Day is hosted:
 “It’s early on in the day and the process. I haven’t really seen all that’s going to go on, just right when we got here we were able to interact with the students and it was something that they were extremely excited about. Anytime you can take the young women of our league, no matter what school they’re from, and put them in a position to mentor and model to young people, I think that makes for a special occasion.”
On the key returners coming back this season:
“I think we are more talented from top-to-bottom. I think our depth is really going to give us an opportunity to have a good year. It’s been something that has really hurt us in the last few years, just the lack of quality depth. It’s something that we’ve worked hard to fix and we’re hopeful that it will play dividends.”
On playing LSU in the Big 12/SEC Challenge:
“I like going to Baton Rouge and playing in the Pete Marovich Center. I’ve done that a few times when I was at Stephen F. Austin. I think it’ll give our players a real taste of what playing in the Big 12 could be like, going on the road and playing SEC folk.”
On the Big 12 preseason rankings:
“We haven’t even talked about it with our team. In fact last year, the women’s coaches in our league voted to do away with the preseason poll so I think that gives you a pretty good indication in terms of how much we care about it.”
On the competitiveness of the Big 12:
“I think preseason rankings can be good for the top three that are picked. I think it helps them with top-25 considerations. I think that’s really the only positive that comes from it. You’re right, in our league we have consistently put up to six teams in the NCAA Tournament. It’s a battle every single night and you’ve got to have some good fortune and you’ve got to have a team that stays healthy in order to compete in this league.”
On the newcomers to Kansas this year:
“With two being junior college transfers, we feel like they can come and impact our team in a positive way. They lost one game a year ago as junior college student-athletes. And then, Brooklyn Mitchell and Aniya Thomas both come from state championship high school programs that are used to winning. I think they just bring a winning mentality and they understand what winning looks like in terms of a culture on a daily basis.”
On the culture that he is trying to establish at Kansas:
“We’re much closer (to establishing that culture). I thought that we took great strides in that department a year ago. We’ve gotten better and better from a record standpoint, but to really make the next jump, we’ve got to have our culture very established to really take the next step forward. You’ve got to have a toughness about you and I’m speaking more on a mental toughness more than anything else. You’ve got to be able to handle adversity. You’ve got to be able to move onto the next play in games. You’ve got to be able to handle success. You have to have a tremendous togetherness and I think that’s where you talk about your chemistry both on and off the court. I’ve seen us make some really big steps in that regard.”
On the team’s expectations for this season:
“I think we were three points away from the post season a year ago. We lost three overtime games. I think again I go back to our talent level is better and we’re much deeper. If we can stay healthy, than I think our depth can be a factor and that’s why we have those kind of lofty expectations.”
Senior Christalah Lyons
On having the opportunity to interact with the kids at the school where Media Day is hosted:
“I think it’s a great experience because we’ve been in their shoes before. We know that they look up to us and that we have a responsibility to give back to the community. It’s a great experience.”
On what she worked on in the off season:
“We just worked on our crafts. And also, just working on our mental (game) because that will take you far, not just in basketball, but in life period.”
On the expectations and goals for the 2018-19 season:
“I feel like our energy to get into practice and conditioning and weights is great right now. We have so many different people on the team that bring different characters and that’s really helped up on and off the court.”
Senior Austin Richardson
On having seven seniors on the roster:
“Knowing that we have seven people that actually played in the Big 12 last year, I think that helps us help the newcomers that came in and give them some insight on what they can expect for this season.”
On helping the newcomers make the adjustment to college basketball:
“We lead by example everyday. We know what to expect for practice and for games. Like Coach Brandon (Schneider) said earlier, we try to go first and hopefully they’ll follow us.”
On having the opportunity to interact with the kids at the school where Media Day is hosted:
“I know growing up this was my dream to play college basketball and further my career in basketball. Just seeing these kids happy and excited to see us here just gave me joy. It’s been a good experience.”
On what she worked on in the off season:
“Improving what I do best and improving my weaknesses as well so I’m able to go our and play how I play.”
On the team’s mental toughness and how it has improved from last season:
“We have a lot of people coming in that are very competitive and have a point to prove, which is to win some games. I feel like mentally we’re there.”

Tickets are now on sale for $109 for a full season of women’s basketball action in Allen Fieldhouse. Senior Citizen Reserved season tickets can be purchased for $80, while K Club Reserved season tickets are available at $75.

New for the 2018-19 season, Kansas Athletics is introducing the Rock Chalk Card, which includes general admission to all home women’s basketball, soccer, softball and baseball games for $175. The Rock Chalk Card and a women’s basketball reserved seat upgrade can be purchased for $225.




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