Jayhawks set for 2019 Big 12 Championship
|vs. Oklahoma State|
|March 8 // 8:30 p.m.|
|Oklahoma City, Okla.|
|Chesapeake Energy Arena|
|Fox College Sports|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball is set to face off with Oklahoma State for the third time this season at the 2019 Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks and Cowgirls tipoff at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Kansas went 0-2 against Oklahoma State during the regular season with seniors Austin Richardson and Christalah Lyons leading the way in both contests, averaging double digits in scoring in the 2019 series against the Cowgirls. Lyons netted 14 points in the first meeting of the season with OSU, while Richardson added 12 points.
The game can be watched on Fox College Sports or listened to on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
- Kansas is 13-22 in the Big 12 Championship dating back to the installment of the Big 12 in 1997.
- The Jayhawks’ last win in the Big 12 Championship came in head coach Brandon Schneider’s first season (2015-16) when KU topped TCU, 81-64, in the first round.
- Dating back to 1983, the Jayhawks are 33-33 in league postseason play. KU has made two appearances in the Big 12 Championship title game with its last in 1998.
- After scoring four triples against Iowa State, Kansas has made 194 3-pointers this season, which is the third-most in a single season in KU history. The Jayhawks are just five treys away from having the second-most threes in Kansas history.
- Kopatich became just the seventh Jayhawk, and first since Jaclyn Johnson (1998-2001), to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 steals and 200 assists. Kopatich has 1,307 points, 508 rebounds, 201 steals and 200 assists to date.
- The Jayhawks have snagged the third-most steals in the Big 12 with 8.6 per game. Kopatich (2nd) and Lyons (14th) both rank among the top 15 in the league for steals per game, leading Kansas with 57 and 42 steals, respectively.
- The freshmen duo of Brooklyn Mitchell and Aniya Thomas continue to make their mark on the Kansas program. The pair are averaging 13.8 points per game over the last eight games. Thomas has been averaging 9.1 points over the last seven games, while Mitchell has chipped in 4.6 in her last seven outings.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY
Record on March 8: 5-7
On March 8, 2013, Chelsea Gardner posted her third double-double tallying 11 points and grabbing a career-high 19 rebounds for Kansas, as the Jayhawks controlled a first-round Big 12 Tournament game agaisnt TCU, beating the Horned Frogs in a 83-61 victory.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks enter the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship with a 13-22 all-time record in the Big 12 postseason play. Kansas’ last win in the league tournament came in 2016, head coach Brandon Schneider’s first year at the healm of the Jayhawks. KU meets with Oklahoma State for the third time this season and the second time in the last three years at the Big 12 Championship. 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 12.8 in league play and 11.6 points per game overall. Senior guard Kylee Kopatich is averaging 11.7 points and is shooting 40.0 percent from the floor and 34.1 percent from the 3-point line. Sophomore center Bailey Helgren leads Kansas with 5.7 rebounds, while redshirt-freshman Brittany Franklin leads the Jayhawks with 22 blocked shots on the season. Senior Austin Richardson serves as KU’s second-leading rebounder with 5.6 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 57 (2.0 spg), the second-most in the Big 12. Collectively, the Jayhawks limit their opponents to 66.1 points per game, while holding them to 30.2 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS
Oklahoma State sits just below the .500 mark with a 14-15 overall record and a 5-13 record in Big 12 play. The Cowgirls are looking to sweep the Jayhawks for the first time since 2016. OSU’s offense is led by sophomores Vivian Gray and Braxtin Miller, who are averaging 19.8 and 14.6 points per game. Miller also dishes out 3.5 assists per game, while Gray helps to protect the rim with a team-leading 1.2 blocks per game. Senior LaTashia Jones leads the Cowgirls with 7.9 rebounds per game, while chipping in 5.0 points. Collectively, Oklahoma State is scoring 66.2 points per game, while shooting 37.7 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from long range. The Cowgirls limit their opponents to just 64.9 points per game, while holding their opponents to shooting 38.7 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from beyond the arc.
IOWA STATE LEFTOVERS
Despite staying within single digits for 33 of the 40 minutes, Kansas couldn’t close out an upset over No. 19 Iowa State as the Jayhawks fell, 69-49. The Jayhawks were led by senior Christalah Lyons with 13 points, while tying her season-best mark of seven rebounds. Senior Austin Richardson contributed 11 points and eight rebounds, while freshman Aniya Thomas added 11 points.
The seniors have accounted for 60.7 percent of the Jayhawks’ scoring this season, scoring 1,136 of KU’s 1,869 points this season with Christalah Lyons (336), Kylee Kopatich (328) and Austin Richardson (302) leading the way. Collectively, the seniors have shot 40.1 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. Senior Kylee Kopatich and medically disqualified 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 10 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 223 career 3-pointers and is just 15 treys away from surpassing Angie Halbleib and becoming Kansas’ all-time 3-point field goal leader. Her 223 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 10th all-time for steals with 203 through her career thus far. Additionally, Kopatich needs to play just 31 minutes to become Kansas’ all-time leader for minutes played in a career. Kopatich currently sits third for minutes played with 3,887 played to date. With 1,307 points, 508 rebounds, 201 steals and 200 assists, Kopatich the seventh Jayhawk in KU history to notch 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 steals and 200 assists in a career.
THE FLOOR GENERAL
Senior Christalah Lyons has proven herself time and time again as one of Kansas’ strongest assets down the stretch. The 5-5 guard has posted three 20-point performances in Big 12 play, beginning with a career-best 24 points against Iowa State (1/5) and following up two games later with another 20-point performance scoring 20 points in KU’s first Big 12 win of the season against K-State (1/13). In her third 20-point performance of the season, 20 of Lyons’ 23 points came in the second half to lead the Jayhawks past Oklahoma (1/30) in their second league win of the year. Lyons has posted double-figure scoring efforts in 11 of KU’s 18 league games and is averaging a team-best 12.8 points in Big 12 play and 11.6 points overall. With 13 points at Iowa State (3/4), Lyons posted the 42nd double-digit scoring performance of her career. Lyons is dishing out 3.0 assists per game so far this season which is 14th in the Big 12, with a team-high 88 during her senior campaign. Lyons has had at least five assists in 10 games this season and 16 times in her career. The Dallas native has 53 turnovers thus far and has had zero turnovers in four games this season, most recently against TCU (2/27). Lyons’ 53 turnovers are the fourth fewest in the Big 12 among players in the top 15 for assist to turnover ratio and she is one of five players ranked in the category with less than 55 turnovers on the season. With an assist to turnover ratio of 1.7, Lyons is ninth in the Big 12.
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 110 points and is averaging 13.8 points per game over the last eight games with at least one freshman notching a double-digit scoring effort in five of those eight contests. In the last eight games Thomas is averaging 9.1 points, while Mitchell is chipping in 4.6 points per game over the last eight outings. 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 seven games and has scored in double figures in four of the last eight contests. Mitchell followed Thomas and scored 12 points against Texas Tech for her first double-digit scoring performance since November, which marked the third-straight game a Kansas freshman scored in double figures. Thomas has 111 points on the season, while Mitchell has 92 career points to date.
FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
The Jayhawks made improvements from the free throw line throughout Big 12 play. Kansas shot 65.1 percent from the free throw line duing nonconference play and have improved that mark to 72.7 percent during league games. After shooting 75 percent or better from the charity stripe only twice through 11 nonconference games, Kansas has surpassed that mark, shooting 75 percent or better in eight games during league play. KU shot 75 percent or better from the free throw line in nine of the last 12 games. Kansas’ 94.1 percent shooting percentage from the charity stripe ties the eighth-best free throw percentage in a single game in KU history. Additionally, seniors Christalah Lyons and Kylee Kopatich have improved their shot from the line in Big 12 play with Lyons improving her 66.7 percent in nonconference to 78.3 percent (54-of-69) in Big 12 contests and Kopatich improving her 76.2 percent in nonconference to 88.9 percent (40-of-45) in league matchups. Kopatich has the second-best free throw percentage in the league, while Lyons ranks 13th. Kopatich made a perfect 10-of-10 free throws against Oklahoma (1/30), tying her for first for a single-game free throw percentage.
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