Kansas set for matchup with No. 1 Baylor
|Feb. 20 // 6 p.m.|
|Fox Sports Southwest|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball tips off with No. 1 Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m., inside the Ferrell Center.
The Jayhawks are playing the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time since 2013 when Kansas played the Lady Bears. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
- The Jayhawks are facing their fifth nationally ranked opponent of the season, all of which have come during Big 12 play.
- Wednesday night’s matchup marks the first time that Kansas has played the No. 1 team in the nation since 2013 against Baylor.
- Kansas’ last win over the Baylor came in 2014, when the Jayhawks topped the then-No. 7 Lady Bears, 76-60, inside Allen Fieldhouse.
- Kansas has held its opponents to shooting only 29.3 percent from the 3-point line, which is second lowest in the Big 12. The Jayhawks have limited their opponents to making just 100 3-pointers, which is the fewest in the league.
- Senior Austin Richardson posted her sixth-straight double-digit scoring effort, her 10th in Big 12 play and 16th overall this season, which ties her for the most on the team.
- The Jayhawks have snagged the third-most steals in the Big 12 with 8.9 per game. Seniors Kylee Kopatich (2nd) and Christalah Lyons (12th) both rank among the top 15 in the league for steals per game, leading Kansas with 47 and 38 steals, respectively.
- Senior Chelsea Lott posted the first double-digit rebounding performance of her career with 10 rebounds against Texas Tech (2/17).
- The Kansas freshmen continue making their mark on the program as Brooklyn Mitchell notched her first double-digit scoring performance since November with 12 points against Texas Tech (2/17).
THIS DAY IN KANSAS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY
Record on Feb. 20: 9-5
On Feb. 20, 1988, Kansas beat in-state rival Kansas State, 74-58, on the road, shooting 51.7 percent from the floor. Sandy Shaw led all scorers with 20 points followed by Lisa Dougherty with 14 points.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks enter Wednesday’s matchup against No. 1 Baylor with a 12-12 overall record and a 2-11 mark in Big 12 Conference play. A KU win over the Lady Bears would give Kansas a win over Baylor for the first time since 2014. Kansas’ offense is paced by senior guard Christalah Lyons who is dishing out 3.4 assists per game. Lyons has posted three 20-point performances in Big 12 play, averaging 11.3 points per game. Senior guard Kylee Kopatich is averaging 11.9 points and is shooting 41.1 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from the 3-point line. Kansas’ defense is led by sophomore center Bailey Helgren with 5.8 rebounds and 0.7 blocks, while Kopatich leads KU with 2.0 steals, which leads the Big 12 in league games. Senior Austin Richardson leads Kansas with 18 blocks on the season and serves as KU’s second-leading rebounder with 5.5 rebounds per game, while adding 10.5 points per game. Collectively, the Jayhawks limit their opponents to 64.3 points per game, while holding them to 29.3 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
SCOUTING THE LADY BEARS
Baylor boasts an overall record of 23-1 and a 13-0 mark in the Big 12 Conference. The Lady Bears faced four ranked opponents during nonconference play, notching wins in three of those outings, beating then-No.23 Arizona State, then-No. 18 South Carolina and then-No. 1 UConn. Baylor’s victory over UConn snapped a 126 game regular season winning streak for the Huskies, a record that dated back to 2014. The Lady Bears rank first in an astounding 13 of the 21 statistical categories kept by the Big 12 and are the only team with an undefeated league record in the conference. BU leads the nation in assists per game (23.5), blocked shots (168), blocked shots per game (7.0), defensive rebounds per game (33.0) and rebounding margin (16.6). Senior Kalani Brown boasts a team-best 15.9 points per game, followed by junior Lauren Cox (12.4), fifth year Chloe Jackson (11.1) and junior Juicy Landrum (10.7). Cox and Brown lead the team with 7.6 and 7.5 rebounds per game, respectively. Cox blocks a Big 12 leading 2.4 shots per game.
TEXAS TECH LEFTOVERS
Senior Austin Richardson stepped up in the final minutes of the game, nailing a critical 3-pointer to even the score with Texas Tech, but the Lady Raiders halted KU’s come-from-behind attempt and defeated the Jayhawks, 75-71. Kansas finished with three Jayhawks netting double figures. Senior Kylee Kopatich led the way with 19 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and a team-high five assists. Freshman Brooklyn Mitchell contributed 12 points, while Richardson added 10 points.
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. The Olathe, Kansas native is on track to make the most 3-pointers by a senior in KU history. Kopatich is 16 triples away from surpassing fellow Olathe South High School grad Natalie Knight for the most 3-pointers by a Kansas senior. The 5-10 guard has made 217 career 3-pointers and is just 21 treys away from surpassing Angie Halbleib and becoming Kansas’ all-time 3-point field goal leader. Her 217 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 10 steals away from passing Jaclyn Johnson and moving into 10th all-time for steals with 191 through her career thus far. Additionally, Kopatich needs to play 62 minutes to pass Sade Morris and move into seventh all-time for minutes played with 3,716 minutes played to date.
The Jayhawks have forced an impressive 437 turnovers on the year and have forced at least 20 turnovers on 11 occasions this season. Kansas forced a season-high 26 turnovers twice this season against Iona (11/25) and at TCU (1/27). While Kansas has been forcing a lot of turnovers, the Jayhawks have limited their own. KU has the third-fewest turnovers in the Big 12 with 353, averaging 14.7 per game. The Jayhawks boast the best turnover margin in the league (+3.5).
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Senior Austin Richardson has been a key component for the Jayhawks on both ends of the floor, providing consistent scoring and rebounding for KU. Richardson has posted 16 double-digit scoring games this season, including 10 in Big 12 play and in each of the last six games. The six-foot forward has recorded three 10-point rebounding performances, while grabbing at least eight rebounds on six occasions. Richardson is the only Jayhawk to register a double-double this season, recording two double-doubles during her senior campaign and falling just shy of her third double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds against Texas Tech (2/17).
FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
The Jayhawks have been making 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 72.6 percent during league games. Through 13 Big 12 contests, Kansas ranks third for free throw shooting percentage. 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 five games during league play. KU shot 75 percent or better from the free throw line in six of the last nine games, shooting 75 percent (12-of-16) against Oklahoma State (1/19), 78.6 percent (11-of-14) at TCU (1/27), 94.1 percent (32-of-34) against Oklahoma (1/30), 78.6 percent (11-of-14) against K-State, 100 percent (6-of-6) at Oklahoma (2/13) and 77.8 percent (14-of-18) against Texas Tech (2/17). 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 80.8 percent (42-of-52) in Big 12 contests and Kopatich improving her 76.2 percent in nonconference to 88.6 percent (31-of-35) in league matchups. Kopatich has the third-best free throw percentage in Big 12 contests, while Lyons ranks 12th. Kopatich made a perfect 10-of-10 free throws against Oklahoma (1/30), tying her for first for a single-game free throw percentage.
KU’s three freshman stepped up against then-No. 14 Texas, as the trio combined for 19 points off the bench. Aniya Thomas led the way with 15 points, while Brooklyn Mitchell added four points. Thomas’ performance against Texas earned her the third start of her career on the road at Oklahoma. The Duncanville, Texas native posted her second-straight double-digit scoring performance with 11 points against the Sooners (2/13). Following back-to-back double-figure scoring effots, Thomas remained in the starting lineup against Texas Tech, contributing five points. Mitchell scored 12 points against the Lady Raiders for her first double-digit scoring performance since November, marking the third-straight game a Kansas freshman has scored in double figures.
The Jayhawks complete a two-game road trip at Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m., inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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