Kansas’ defense holds down Lady Tigers
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a two-game road swing, Kansas returned home and displayed its best defensive performance of the season as the Jayhawks stifling defense held the Lady Tigers at bay and KU downed Grambling State, 76-45, on Sunday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Collectively, Kansas (7-1) held the Lady Tigers (1-5) to a mere 22.2 percent (14-of-63) shooting from the field, the lowest by any opposing team this season.
After building only a 14-8 advantage after the first quarter, the Jayhawks used a 20-2 run to open up the second period, building a 32-10 lead with three minutes remaining before the intermission. The lead was never in doubt from that point forward. Senior Christalah Lyons tallied 16 of her season-high 18 points in the first half, thanks to a 6-of-8 shooting performance from the field.
Defensively, the Jayhawks forced the Lady Tigers to turn the ball over 19 times in the game, which were converted into 29 points on the other end. Kansas was led by Lyons, who tied her career high with five steals and senior Austin Richardson, who tied her career high with three blocks.
While the Jayhawks defense was stout throughout the contest, their offense was hitting shots from all over the court as well. The team finished the afternoon shooting a season-best 51.1 percent (23-of-45) from the field, 80.8 percent (21-of-26) from the free throw stripe and an outstanding 60.0 percent (9-of-15) from behind the three-point line.
Lyons led the team with 18 points, followed closely behind by sixth year Jessica Washington and senior Kylee Kopatich, who netted 16 and 11, respectively.
Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider
On Sunday’s game:
“I thought offensively we were much more efficient tonight. I thought our three seniors, Kopatich, Washington and Lyons, were a lot more efficient and made much better decisions than we did up in Lincoln.”
On shooting 50 percent from the field:
“I think we just ran better offense. We didn’t execute in our last ballgame and we took contested shots. We ran what I call unrecognizable offense. That is not anything you see us practice, but tonight I thought we did a much better job, especially through three quarters.”
On Lyons play in the first half:
“I thought she was really good. And honestly, what I am probably most pleased with is she had the assignment of guarding (Shakyla) Hill. She is really quick and a good offensive player. Hill didn’t score a basket until we took out Christalah out of the game for good. She held her scoreless, so I was really proud of the pride she showed down on that end. And then I think when you are focused on doing the little things then good things will happen for you on offense.”
On the offense in the second quarter with Kylee Kopatich:
“We were really just trying to move the ball and make good decisions. It wasn’t like we were calling a bunch of stuff for her. Now, she made a couple of great decisions, refusing some screens and getting herself loose. But Kylee has been really good now for three games in a row. She was by far the best player at LSU and at Nebraska. I just think she really feels comfortable right now in her role.”
Senior // Guard // Kylee Kopatich
On getting open-looks in the second quarter:
“We made a big emphasis this week on passing to the open man and I think we did that a lot better. We were really unselfish and it just so happened I was open. Jess and Stank both had similar shots because of our ball movement, so I think we did a good job on that.”
On Christalah’s performance:
“She was in the zone. I think she realized that Grambling State was pushing up against Jess and I and she saw a gap and took advantage of it.
On what sparked the big-run:
“Our defense made our offense work well. I think we got in passing lanes, which allowed stops and helped our offense in so many ways, confidence-wise.”
- The Jayhawks shot a season-high 51.1 percent from the field (23-of-45) and season-best 60.0 percent from beyond the arc (9-of-15) in their 76-45 win over the Lady Tigers.
- Kansas connected on 80.8 percent of its attempts from the charity stripe, which was the first time this year that KU has made 80 percent or more of its free throws in the 2018-19 season.
- Senior guard Christalah Lyons notched a season-high 18 points to lead all players, while snagging five steals to tie her career-high mark.
- Freshman Brittany Franklin went perfect from the floor (2-of-2) and the charity stripe (4-of-4) for eight points. The 6-5 center was one point shy of tying her career high and grabbed five rebounds for the Jayhawks.
- For the second-straight game senior guard Kylee Kopatich led Kansas in rebounding, grabbing seven rebounds and adding 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from long range.
- Sixth-year Jessica Washington was one of three Jayhawks to net double figures, netting 16 points for her fifth double-digit scoring effort of the season and 43rd of her career.
- Senior forward Austin Richardson blocked three shots for the second-consecutive game, tying her career high set last game against Nebraska (12/5).
The Jayhawks head to Las Vegas for the Duel in the Desert on Dec. 19 and Dec. 20. Kansas will face off with Washington State on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 4:30 p.m. in the Cox Pavilion before taking on either Northwestern or Wichita State on Thursday, Dec. 20. Both games will air on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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