Jayhawks open 2018-19 season with UMKC
|Nov. 7 // 7 p.m.|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas women’s basketball opens up the 2018-19 season against UMKC on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The matchup will air on ESPN+ and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
In honor of election day, fans who attend the game wearing an ‘I voted’ sticker will receive $5 admission. Senior football captain Joe Dineen will speak at halftime of the matchup between the Jayhawks and ‘Roos.
- The Jayhawks are 39-11 all time in season openers dating back to the first season of women’s basketball at KU in 1968-69.
- The freshmen duo of Brooklyn Mitchell and Aniya Thomas combined for 33 points in KU’s exhibition matchup against Washburn (11/4). Mitchell led the Jayhawks with 19 points and Thomas added 14 points in the 87-43 victory.
- Senior Austin Richardson and Mitchell are the only two Jayhawks to score double figures in both exhibition contests to begin the season.
- The Jayhawks return all five starters from the 2017-18 season, including All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection Christalah Lyons.
- Lyons led Kansas in scoring with 14.8 points per game, notching double figures in 27 of KU’s 30 games last season.
- Senior guard Kylee Kopatich is 21 points away from becoming the 29th Jayhawk to join the 1,000 point club.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY
Record on Nov. 7: 0-0
Kansas women’s basketball is playing for the first time on Nov. 7. This is the earliest that the Jayhawks have started nonconference play in program history.
SCOUTING THE ‘ROOS
UMKC looks to rebuild this season after losing nine letterwinners and four starters from last year’s roster. The ‘Roos lone returning starter, redshirt-senior Kristen Moore, was selected to the Western Athletic Conference Preseason All-WAC First Team. Moore was the second-leading scorer for UMKC, averaging 13.9 points and leading the ‘Roos with 6.1 rebounds per game. After a 7-7 finish in conference play and an 11-19 record overall last season, the ‘Roos were picked to end the 2018-19 season fifth in the league, matching their fifth place finish from the 2017-18 campaign. UMKC’s 10 newcomers will have multiple opportunities to make an impact with just two players returning from the ‘Roos 2017-18 squad. Offensively, UMKC had the second-best scoring offense in the WAC last season, averaging 67.8 points per game, the second-most assists per game with 13.5 and the third-best field goal percentage, connecting on 41.4 percent of its attempts. Defensively, the ‘Roos led the WAC with 13.7 steals per game during the 2017-18 season.
Kansas’ senior-heavy roster has garnered some national attention, as the Jayhawks are receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches’ Top-25 Poll ahead of the 2018-19 season. KU received 14 points in the preseason poll, voted on by The USA TODAY Sports Board of Coaches made up of 32 head coaches at Division I institutions. This marks the first time since the 2013-14 season that Kansas has received votes in the coaches’ poll.
The duo of Brooklyn Mitchell and Aniya Thomas have put on a show during the Jayhawks’ two exhibition contests. Mitchell led all scorers in both contests with 17 points against Fort Hays State (10/28) and 19 points against Washburn (11/4). Thomas added 14 points against Washburn (11/4) as the freshmen pair combined for 33 points off the bench.
YEAR OF THE SENIOR
The Jayhawks return seven seniors to the 2018-19 roster, accounting for 46.6 percent of the total roster. Kansas has the largest senior class in the Big 12 Conference this season with the next closest Big 12 school having four seniors. The Jayhawks boast the largest senior class in KU history since the 2008-09 season when Kansas had eight seniors on the roster.
RELYING ON THE RETURNERS
Kansas is going to rely heavily on its experienced players this season with 10 players from a season ago returning to the Jayhawk roster. Additionally, Brittany Franklin also joins the Jayhawks this season after spending her freshman season on the sidelines due to a knee injury. KU returns all five of their starters from the 2017-18 season in a lineup that includes four seniors, Christalah Lyons, Brianna Osorio, Kylee Kopatich and Austin Richardson and one junior, Tyler Johnson. The Jayhawks’ starting lineup has 183 combined starts between them. Kansas also returns 93.8 percent of scoring from the 2017-18 season as well as its leading scorers from the last two seasons with Lyons (14.8 ppg) from the 2017-18 season and Jessica Washington (17.1 ppg) from the 2016-17 season.
1,000 POINT CLUB
Senior guard Kylee Kopatich is quickly approaching the 1,000 point mark with 979 points through her first three seasons with the Jayhawks. Just 21 points shy of the accomplishment, Kopatich will become the 29th Jayhawk in Kansas women’s basketball history to join the 1,000 point club. Additionally, senior guard Jessica Washington is just 54 points away from scoring 1,000 points in her college basketball career. Washington scored 451 points at the University of North Carolina and has scored 495 points in just one season with the Jayhawks, bringing her collegiate total to 946 points.
At the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, the Jayhawks kept their opponents to shooting just 39.4 percent from the field and scoring just 67.5 points per game. Through 30 games last season, the Jayhawks had the third-best field goal percentage defense (39.4) and fourth-best 3-point field goal percentage defense (31.6) in the Big 12 Conference.
BEATING THE BEST
Kansas’ “Tough and Together” mantra has proved successful when facing top opponents in recent years. Last season, the Jayhawks beat two opponents that were ranked in the top-25 at some point throughout the season. KU topped TCU, 86-77, inside Allen Fieldhouse (12/31). The Horned Frogs were later ranked No. 24 in the AP polls. The Jayhawks also downed then-No. 23 Oklahoma State, 66-59 (2/21) for their first win against a nationally ranked opponent since 2014.
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. Single-game tickets are also available for purchase, ranging from $8-$15 at kuathletics.com.
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