Kansas completes comeback against Sooners, 88-79
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time in 24 seasons, Kansas women’s basketball saw three 20-point scorers as the Jayhawks topped Oklahoma, 88-79, on Wednesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
KU’s senior trio of Christalah Lyons, Austin Richardson and Kylee Kopatich registered 20-point scoring performances in the victory against the Sooners. Lyons netted a team-high 23 points, while Richardson and Kopatich added 20 points each. The last time that Kansas had three Jayhawks eclipse the 20-point mark was at Oklahoma on Feb. 19, 1995.
In Kansas’ (12-7, 2-6) highest-scoring game of the season, the Jayhawks forced the Sooners into 24 turnovers in the matchup, collecting 33 points off of turnovers. Key contributors to the defensive pressure was Kylee Kopatich, who stole the ball five times, while senior center Chelsea Lott recorded three thefts.
Kansas displayed a strong presence at the free line throughout the game, netting 32-of-34 attempts. Kopatich made all 10 of her attempts from the charity stripe. The Jayhawks’ 94.1 free throw percentage marks their eighth-best performance in program history.
Oklahoma led for most of the game, but Lyons wouldn’t let KU lose at home. The senior scored 20 of her 23 points in the second half to lead Kansas’ come-from-behind victory.
Kansas Head Coach // Brandon Schneider
“If my memory serves, this might be the third game this season that the weather has not cooperated very well in terms of fans getting out to the game. I thought we had a terrific crowd considering the cold weather. I’ll tell you what, I think they made a huge difference there in the last three minutes.”
On free throw success, tonight:
“Well we needed all of them you know. We haven’t shot very well this year to be honest with you. It’s been a weakness of ours. I just thought in several areas of the game tonight, we really demonstrated some mental toughness and stepping up and making a free throw is what it comes down to.”
On what a win like this means to the team:
“Oklahoma is a much better team than their record might indicate. They’re a very talented offensive team and hard to guard. I think we have played well enough at Texas and TCU to win those ball games, but we just couldn’t score the ball. Tonight, we had five guys in double figures and to have Christalah, Kylee and Austin assert themselves as starters contributing.”
On Kylee’ Kopatich’s impact:
“When she draws help is when it benefits her teammates. She got to the rim a couple of times, they really pinched her and I believe she found Austin, who ended up making a tough shot. She’s a veteran and I think she got off to a really slow start, so it’s nice to see her keep her chin up and keep grinding.”
Senior Guard // Christalah Lyons
On the win against OU:
“It’s a great feeling. The first five minutes we came in sluggish and all the seniors came together. We were talking about what we had to do to change that. So that was a big impact on how we played the rest of the game.”
Senior Forward // Austin Richardson
On teams great shooting performance:
“It felt great honestly. It was easier on the rebounders, so we could just get back. I was just glad the shots were falling and we work hard in practice for that to happen.”
On her great shooting performance:
“I had momentum, so I just kept letting them fly. I put up a lot of shots in practice, so I was just glad they were able to fall this time.”
Oklahoma Head Coach // Sherri Coale
On her thoughts on the game…
“I thought Kansas’ experience showed down the stretch tonight. They had a lot of seniors on the floor. They executed, got us with the ball screen multiple times. We didn’t communicate very well in that coverage and we panicked offensively, which is sometimes what a bunch of freshman on the floor will do.”
On Kansas’ defensive pressure…
“They do a good job of playing pressure man defense. It was really more of our panicking. There were a number of times where we just drove it and had guys wide open moving off penetration and just threw it to a KU defender. Again, that’s youth and panic and fear of losing.”
- The Jayhawks forced 24 turnovers against the Sooners, which marks the 10th time this season and fourth time in Big 12 play Kansas has forced at least 20 turnovers.
- Kansas shot 94.1 percent (32-of-34) from the free throw line, tying eighth all time for free throw shooting percentage in a single game.
- The Jayhawks’ 32 free throws mark the first time Kansas has made at least 30 since 2013, when they made 41 against Oral Roberts (11/10).
- KU’s 88 points are the most by a Kansas this season.
- Three Jayhawks ended the night with 20-point performances, which was the first time since Feb. 19, 1995 against Oklahoma that Kansas had achieved the feat. Senior Christalah Lyons led win 23 points, while seniors Austin Richardson and Kylee Kopatich added 20 points each.
- Senior Chelsea Lott scored the first double-digit scoring effort of her career, scoring a career-best 10 points, while adding five rebounds and three steals.
- Junior guard Niccolly Ramalho dished out a game-high and career-best five assists.
- Kopatich snagged at least five steals for the second-straight game with five against the Sooners.
Kansas travels to West Virginia to take on the Mountaineers on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m., inside WVU Coliseum. The game can be listened to on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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