Kansas opens Big 12 play with Sooners
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball begins its 20th season of Big 12 Conference action against Oklahoma on Thursday, Dec. 29, inside Allen Fieldhouse. Thursday’s league opener marks the second year in a row that the Jayhawks have started their Big 12 slate with the Sooners. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
Around the Arena
Fans will get a special Kansas pennant upon entrance to Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma, while supplies last.
- Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1997, Kansas owns a 5-14 record in league openers, including a 2-6 mark at home. Thursday’s match-up against the Sooners is just the second time the two programs have met in Big 12 season openers since the start of the league. The other was last season at the Lloyd Noble Center.
- The Jayhawks start Big 12 Conference play on Dec. 29, marking the earliest start to league action since the Big 12 was formed in 1997.
- Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 36-30. KU owns a 14-16 record against the Sooners inside Allen Fieldhouse.
- The Jayhawks own a 119-211 all-time record against Big 12 Conference foes.
- When Brandon Schneider-coached teams are leading with less than five minutes to play, his overall record is 355-12, and 9-0 at Kansas.
- In the month of December, the Jayhawks own an overall mark of 189-83 (.678). Under head coach Brandon Schneider, Kansas is 5-7 in the 12th month of the year.
- Kansas has played four overtime games in 2016-17 and is 3-1 on the season in extended games. Under Schneider, the Jayhawks are 4-1 in overtime games.
- Kansas’ bench is averaging 25.9 points per game and is coming off its best effort of the season after providing 42 points against UC Riverside (12/21).
- The Jayhawks connected on 10-of-20 attempts against the Highlanders from long range, marking the first time this season that Kansas has shot 50 percent from the 3-point arc.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas enters its Big 12 Conference opener on Thursday with a three-game win streak after defeating its final three nonconference opponents. The Jayhawks own a 6-5 record, including a 5-3 mark at home, heading into the start of their 2017 league slate. In its first 11 games, KU went into overtime on four occasions and recorded a 3-1 mark in extended nonconference games.
The Jayhawks are averaging 67.7 points per game and have a +1.6 scoring margin. From the field, KU is connecting on 36.8 percent of its attempts, while converting 32.0 percent of its shots from long range. Kansas is averaging 44.8 rebounds per game, the third-best average in the Big 12 and 19th-best in nation.
After recording Kansas’ first 30-point game in two seasons, redshirt sophomore guard McKenzie Calvert increased her scoring average to 15.5 points per game, good for fifth-best in the league. Calvert has shot 50 percent of better from the field in her last two outings and has netted 20 or more points on five occasions.
Redshirt junior guard Jessica Washington recorded her first 20-point game of the season after netting 27 against UC Riverside (12/21). Washington scored 12 of her 27 points from the free throw line, the most free throws made in a single game this season in the Big 12. Sophomore guard Kylee Kopatich has netted double figures in two of her last three games, including a career-high 19 against Rhode Island (12/11).
Scouting the Sooners
Oklahoma comes to Allen Fieldhouse having won four of its last five games. The Sooners own a 9-3 mark in 2016-17, including a 2-1 record on the road. OU won its first five games of the season before suffering its first loss of the year, an 82-68 decision in favor of Kentucky.
The Sooners are averaging 75.1 points per game and have a +10.4 scoring margin. Oklahoma is shooting 41.3 percent from the field and is converting 31.4 percent of its attempts from the 3-point arc. Defensively, OU is averaging 41.5 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game. The Sooners lead the Big 12 Conference in steals per game with 11.7.
Redshirt senior guard Peyton Little leads the Sooners with 12.8 points per game, while redshirt senior guard Maddie Manning is averaging 12.5 points per game. The duo is the only Sooners averaging double figures at the start of Big 12 play. Manning is converting 43.1 percent of her attempts from the floor, including 15-of-44 from long range. Junior center Vionise Pierre-Louis is averaging 8.2 boards and 1.4 blocks per game to lead the Sooners. Pierre-Louis is also shooting 56.2 percent from the field, while averaging 8.8 points per game.
This Day in Kansas Women’s Basketball History
Record on Dec. 29: 9-8
Thursday’s game against Oklahoma is the 18th contest to be played on Dec. 29 in program history. In 1997, Kansas defeated the Pac-12’s Oregon, 59-53, on the road. The victory extended KU’s win streak to six-straight games. Lynn Pride led the Jayhawks with 18 points, while each player that entered the game scored at least one point.
Double The Fun
Junior forward Chayla Cheadle recorded the first double-double of the season for Kansas, and the first of her career after a 12 points and 11 rebound performance at Alabama (12/4). Senior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen leads the team with two career double-doubles, while sophomore Kylee Kopatich has also notched one double-double in her career.
Big 12 Conference Corner
Kansas is among the top five in several Big 12 Conference statistical categories heading into the start of league play. KU is third in the conference in rebounds per game (44.8) and 3-pointers made per game (7.2). The Jayhawks rank No. 4 in steals per game (9.3). Individually, redshirt junior Jessica Washington recorded the most made free throws in a single game after converting all 12 attempts from the charity stripe against UC Riverside (12/21). Redshirt sophomore McKenzie Calvert is fifth in the league in scoring with 15.5 points per game, while senior Timeka O’Neal is fifth in 3-point field goal percentage after connecting on 46.3 percent of her attempts from long range.
Around the Nation
Going into Big 12 Conference play, Kansas is among the top in the country in several statistical categories. Head coach Brandon Schneider has made an emphasis on rebounding and it’s paid of for KU during nonconference action. The Jayhawks rank 18th in the nation in rebounds per game (44.8) and 19th in the country in defensive rebounds per game (30.3).
Former Kansas women’s basketball players Aishah Sutherland, Monica Engelman, Asia Boyd and Danielle McCray are representing the Jayhawks overseas in various professional leagues. Sutherland, who played for the Jayhawks from 2008-12, is playing for TTT Riga in Latvia, where she is averaging 17.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Osmaniye in Turkey is the new home for 2013 graduate Engelman. She is averaging 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Boyd, the most recent Jayhawk to head overseas, is playing for Azs UMCS Lublin, a polish club. Boyd is averaging 13.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. McCray is the final Jayhawk playing overseas during the 2016-17 season. She is playing for De Agosto in Angola and is averaging 11.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.
Kansas travels to Baylor on Sunday, Jan. 1, for its first Big 12 Conference road game of the season and first game of the new year. Tipoff against the Lady Bears is set for 2 p.m., on Fox Sports Southwest and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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