Jayhawks travel to K-State Saturday
Senior guard Eboni Watts
|Game 28: at Kansas State|
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas women’s basketball heads west on I-70 for the final installment of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown for the 2018 season. Kansas will face Kansas State on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m., inside Bramlage Coliseum. The game will air on the FSN and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
- The Jayhawks are 46-71 overall against Kansas State and 15-33 when facing the Wildcats in Manhattan.
- KU’s last victory over its in-state rival came during the 2014 Big 12 Championship when the Jayhawks topped the Wildcats, 87-84, in overtime.
- Kansas’ upset over Oklahoma State (2/21) marked the first victory over a ranked opponent since KU upset then-No. 10 Cal, 62-39, on Dec. 7, 2017. It also marks the first win over a ranked foe under head coach Brandon Schneider.
- Through 27 games, Kansas sits third among Big 12 teams in field goal percentage defense. The Jayhawks are holding their opponents to shooting 38.7 percent from the field, trailing only Baylor and West Virginia in the category.
- KU has held its opponents to 30.4 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line this season, Which is also the third-lowest mark in the conference.
- Junior guard Christalah Lyons continues to lead the Jayhawks offensively, scoring 14.7 points per game. The Dallas, Texas native has registered double-digit scoring efforts in 24 of KU’s 27 games this season, including three 20-point performances.
- Junior guard Kylee Kopatich is tied for fourth in the league with 36 3-point field goals made in 16 Big 12 contests.
- When Brandon Schneider-coached teams are leading with less than five minutes to play, his overall record is 367-15, and 22-3 at Kansas.
50 Years of History, Tradition and Success
Over the last 50 years, the Jayhawks have built a rich tradition on the hardwood full of memories, milestones and many individual achievements. Among the highlights of Kansas’ rich tradition are four All-Americans: Adrian Mitchell, Lynette Woodard, Angela Aycock and Tamecka Dixon. Over the years, six different head coaches have led the Jayhawks to new heights, including an impressive 23 postseason appearances. Among those postseason runs are four trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and playing the WNIT Championship in 2009. In the last 50 years, Kansas women’s basketball has amassed over 800 wins, 59 all-conference selections, 67 academic all-conference selections and nine players who have continued their careers at the next level in the WNBA.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas snapped its 12-game losing skid and improved to 3-13 in Big 12 Conference play with a 66-59 upset over Oklahoma State last Wednesday night. With the victory, KU recorded its first upset since the 2014 nonconference slate when the Jayhawks downed Cal, 62-39, on Dec. 7. KU owns an overall record of 12-15 and looks to split the 2018 series with K-State on Saturday afternoon.
A trio of Jayhawks are leading the way for Kansas, averaging double figures on the season. Junior guard Christalah Lyons is netting a team-best 14.7 points per game. She has notched double-digit scoring performances in 24 of KU’s 27 games in 2017-18. Lyons is also connecting on 43.0 percent of her attempts from the field and a team-best 42.6 percent from the field in conference play. Junior guard Kylee Kopatich is sinking 36.5 percent of her shots from long range and averaging 13.5 points. Kopatich has started every game this season alongside Lyons and leads the team in minutes played with 951. Junior guard Brianna Osorio started Big 12 Conference play on a hot streak and has notched 10 double-digit scoring performances in 16 conference matchups. The Las Vegas, Nevada native is averaging 10.4 points per game in, while connecting on 35.4 percent from long range.
Collectively, Kansas is averaging 62.0 points and has a scoring margin of -4.6. The Jayhawks are shooting 38.0 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from the 3-point line.
Kansas remains one of the league’s best defensive teams, holding its opponents to shooting 38.7 percent from the field for the season, which is third in the league. The Jayhawks are third in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage defense, keeping their opponents to connecting on just 30.4 percent of their long-range attempts during the 2017-18 campaign. KU has held its opponents to 66.6 points per game, which is fourth-lowest in the league.
Scouting the Wildcats
Kansas State has lost four of its last five games, including three in a row, heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Jayhawks. The Wildcats look to extend their win streak over KU to eight and sweep the 2018 series with a victory. K-State owns 13-14 overall record and a 5-11 mark in Big 12 Conference action.
K-State is averaging 66.4 points per game, while connecting on 40.4 percent from the field. KSU has three Wildcats netting double digits in 2017-18. Junior guard Kayla Goth boasts a team-best 16.6 points per game, while dishing out a Big 12 leading 6.6 assists per game. Goth’s 178 assists this season are more than 30 ahead of the next closest competitor in the Big 12. Sophomore forward Peyton Williams nets 14.2 points per game and has grabbed a team-high 190 rebounds this season. Freshman guard Rachel Ranke rounds out KSU’s double-digit scorers, scoring 11.3 points per game in her first season as a Wildcat.
Defensively, the Wildcats holding their opponents to 66.7 points per game and 39.7 percent from the field. K-State is registering 8.7 steals, 4.7 blocks and 34.1 rebounds per game.
Kansas State leads the Dillons Sunflower Showdown series, 71-46. Saturday’s game marks the 118th meeting between the two programs.
The Wildcats have won the last eight games against the Jayhawks. KU’s last win over KSU came during the 2014 Big 12 Championship, when Kansas edged K-State in overtime, 87-84.
Last Time Out
Kansas stormed back in the second half, but just before the Jayhawks could seal the win, Kansas State rallied in the final seconds to force overtime and steal the victory, 63-59. Junior guard Kylee Kopatich led the way for Kansas with 15 points and career-high 12 boards for her second double-double of the season.
The Sunflower State Rivalry
The in-state rivalry between Kansas and Kansas State began on Feb. 23, 1969 and 50 years later the two programs will meet for the 118th time overall on Saturday. For the 49th time in Manhattan, the Jayhawks will face the Wildcats on the road and look to snap their eight-game losing streak over the last three years. The first meeting between the two storied programs on the hardwood was just the third varsity contest for KU in 1969, in which K-State came out on top, 34-18. Kansas’ first win over the Wildcats came during the 1971 season. Kansas State currently leads the overall series, 70-46.
This Day in KU Women’s Basketball History
Record on Feb. 24: 5-9
Kansas owns a 5-9 mark on the 24th day of February and will play for the 15th time in program history on Saturday afternoon. Kansas edged Oklahoma, 71-68, in Lawrence to sweep the 1988 series against the Sooners.
With 365 points so far in her junior campaign, Kylee Kopatich is just 55 points away from the 1,000 point mark. Kopatich will be the 29th 1,000-point scorer in Kansas women’s basketball history should she achieve this accomplishment. The last Jayhawk to score 1,000 career points was fellow Olathe, Kansas native Natalie Knight, who ended her Jayhawk career with 1,081 points. Should Kopatich net 1,000, she would be the eighth Kansan to earn the accomplishment.
Kansas concludes the 2017-18 regular season against Iowa State on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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