Kansas set to play West Virginia on Sunday
|at West Virginia|
|Feb. 3 // 2 p.m. (CT)|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball is set to face off with West Virginia for the first time in 2019 on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m., inside WVU Coliseum.
The Jayhawks are looking to win their second-straight game and snap a three-game West Virginia winning-streak in Morgantown. The game can be watched on AT&T SportsNet or listened to on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
- 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 Kansas this season.
- Three Jayhawks notched 20-point performances against Oklahoma, which was the first time since Feb. 19, 1995 against the Sooners that Kansas had achieved the feat. Senior Christalah Lyons led win 23 points, while seniors Austin Richardson and Kylee Kopatich added 20 points each. Richardson’s 20 points marked a career best, while Kopatich’s 20 points were a season high.
- Kansas has held its opponents to shooting only 27.9 percent from the 3-point line, which is second in the Big 12 and ranks 47th best in the nation. The Jayhawks have limited their opponents to making just 76 total 3-pointers this season with the next closest Big 12 opponent allowing 90 treys.
- The Jayhawks’ win over Oklahoma improves them to 12-7 overall, matching their win total from a season ago.
- With five players in double figures, KU’s double-digit scorers combined for 83 of Kansas’ 88 points against the Sooners.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY
Record on Feb. 3: 9-4
On February 3, 1988, Kansas topped Oklahoma, 71-68, shooting 54.7 percent from the field, while Oklahoma shot just 35.0 percent. Sandy Shaw led the Jayhawks with 24 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the 3-point line.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Coming off of their second Big 12 Conference win, the Jayhawks look to earn their second league road victory of the season and first win against West Virginia since 2015. Kansas’ offense is paced by senior guard Christalah Lyons who is dishing out 3.5 assists per game. Lyons has posted three 20-point performances in Big 12 play, averaging a team-leading 15.1 points per game against conference opponents and 11.9 points overall. Two-time 2018-19 Big 12 Player of the Week Jessica Washington leads Kansas in scoring with 15.1 points per game, while connecting on 37.7 percent of her attempts from the floor and 41.9 percent of her shots from beyond the arc. Senior guard Kylee Kopatich is averaging 11.9 points and is shooting 41.3 percent from the floor and 38.7 percent from the 3-point line. Kansas’ defense is led by sophomore center Bailey Helgren with 6.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks, while Kopatich leads KU with 2.2 steals, the second-best in the conference. Senior Austin Richardson leads Kansas with 15 blocks on the season and serves as KU’s second-leading rebounder with 5.6 rebounds per game, while adding 10.0 points per game. Collectively, the Jayhawks limit their opponents to 60.9 points per game, while holding them to 27.9 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS
West Virginia enters Sunday’s matchup with the Jayhawks fourth in the Big 12 boasting a 15-5 overall record and a 6-3 mark in league games. After starting Big 12 play off 0-2, the Mountaineers went onto win six of their next seven games and are currently riding a three-game winning streak, coming off a win at No. 12 Texas. With the fifth-best offense in the league with 71.6 points per game, the Mountaineers rely on their experienced players to get the offense going. Redshirt junior Tynice Martin averages a team-best 17.7 points per game, while seniors Naomi Davenport and Katrina Pardee chip in 13.9 and 13.0 points per game, respectively. While WVU’s upperclassmen take on the scoring mentality, the Mountaineers depend on freshman Madisen Smith to pace the offense. Smith leads West Virginia with 3.8 assists, while scoring 6.7 points per game. Defensively, West Virginia has three players averaging six or more rebounds in Davenport (8.2), freshman Kari Niblack (6.5) and Martin (6.0). Niblack and senior Theresa Ekhelar lead the team with 22 blocks each. Collectively, West Virginia’s defense is among the best in the Big 12, holding their opponents to 33 percent from the field (second) and 25.3 percent from long range (first).
The Jayhawks have forced an impressive 357 turnovers on the year and have forced at least 20 turnovers on 10 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 is one of three teams in the Big 12 with less than 270 turnovers on the season with 265. Baylor, who has 254 turnovers and Oklahoma State who has 253 on the season are the only other teams with less than 270 turnovers. KU’s 13.9 turnovers per game are the third fewest turnovers in the Big 12. The Jayhawks boast the best turnover margin in the league (+4.8) and 23rd best in the nation.
THE FLOOR GENERAL
Coming off of an impressive junior campaign where she garnered All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors, senior Christalah Lyons has settled into a groove leading Kansas’ offense this season. The 5-5 guard has posted three 20-point performances in Big 12 play, beginning with a career-best 24 points against Iowa State (1/5). Two games later, Lyons followed up with another 20-point performance scoring 20 points in KU’s first Big 12 win of the season against K-State (1/13). In her third 20-point performance of the season, 20 of Lyons’ 23 points came in the second half to lead the Jayhawks past Oklahoma (1/30) in their second league win of the year. Lyons has posted double-figure scoring efforts in six of KU’s eight league games to date and is averaging a team-best 15.1 points in Big 12 play and 11.9 points overall. Lyons is dishing out 3.5 assists per game so far this season which is 12th in the Big 12, with a team-high 66 during her senior campaign. The Dallas native has 29 turnovers thus far and has had zero turnovers in three games this season. Lyons’ 29 turnovers are tied for the second fewest in the Big 12 among players in the top 15 for assist to turnover ratio. With an assist to turnover ratio of 2.3, Lyons is fifth in the Big 12, trailing only four Baylor players. Lyons is 38th in the nation for assist to turnover ratio.
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 has ranked among the top five for 3-point field goals made by a freshman with 45 (4th), sophomore with 53 (3rd), junior with 69 (2nd) and is on track to make the most 3-pointers by a senior in KU history. Kopatich is 25 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 208 career 3-pointers and is just 30 treys away from becoming Kansas’ all-time 3-point field goal leader. Her 208 career 3-pointers are the most by a Jayhawk since 2015, when Knight ended her career with 178 triples. With 632 3-point field goal attempts, Kopatich is second all-time for 3-point attempts and is just 27 attempts away from becoming the all-time 3-point field goal attempts leader in Kansas history. Beyond the 3-point line, Kopatich is 18 steals away from moving into 10th all-time for steals with 183 through her career thus far. Additionally, Kopatich needs to play just 84 minutes to move into 10th all-time for minutes played with 3,537 minutes played to date.
FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
The Jayhawks have been making improvements from the free throw line throughout Big 12 play. After shooting 75 percent or better from the charity stripe only twice through 11 nonconference games, Kansas has surpassed that mark in eight games during league play. KU shot 75 percent or better from the free throw line in three of the last four games, shooting 75 percent (12-of-16) against Oklahoma State (1/19), 78.6 percent (11-of-14) at TCU (1/27) and 94.1 percent (32-of-34) against Oklahoma (1/30). 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 82.9 percent (34-of-41) in Big 12 contests and Kopatich improving her 76.2 percent in nonconference to 87.0 percent (20-of-23) in league matchups. Kopatich made a perfect 10-of-10 free throws against Oklahoma (1/30), tying her for first for a single-game free throw percentage.
Senior Chelsea Lott had a career-night against Oklahoma (1/30), scoring a career-best 10 points. Lott went 2-of-2 from the field and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe and was the only player to shoot 100 percent from the floor and from the free throw line. The Fresno, Texas native also added five rebounds and three steals for the Jayhawks.
STEPPING UP OFF THE BENCH
Kansas’ bench players have provided key minutes for the Jayhawks in Big 12 play as of late. Junior Niccolly Ramalho made a key bucket at TCU (1/27) to pull the Jayhawks within one and dished out five assists against Oklahoma (1/30) to help Kansas to their second league win. Senior Chelsea Lott and junior Mariane De Carvalho scored 20 of the Jayhawks’ 88 points off the bench against Oklahoma (1/30). KU’s bench accounted for over half of the Jayhawks’ points at No. 12 Texas (1/23) with four players contributing 23 points.
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 11 double-digit scoring games this season, including five in Big 12 play. The 6-0 forward has recorded three 10-point rebounding performances, while grabbing at least eight rebounds on five occasions. Richardson is the only Jayhawk to register a double-double this season, recording two double-doubles during her senior campaign.
Kansas set a single-game 3-point record making 14 treys against the then-No. 2 Lady Bears. KU connected on 50 percent (14-of-28) of its attempts from long range with five Jayhawks notching threes in the process. Sixth year Jessica Washington and senior Kylee Kopatich combined for 11 of the 14 triples, while sophomore Micaela Wilson and seniors Christalah Lyons and Austin Richardson added one 3-pointer each. Washington (6) and Kopatich (5) each tied their season highs for 3-pointers made in a single game.
1,000 POINT CLUB
Two senior Jayhawks have reached the 1,000 career point milestone in back-to-back games this season. Senior Kylee Kopatich was the first player to achieve the feat, hitting the 1,000 point mark against George Mason (11/21). Sixth year Jessica Washington followed, hitting the mark against Iona (11/25). All of Kopatich’s 1,000 points come from her time playing at Kansas, while Washington’s points are split between Kansas and her time at the University of North Carolina.
RELYING ON THE RETURNERS
The Jayhawks return seven seniors to the 2018-19 roster, accounting for 46.6 percent of the total roster. Kansas has the largest senior class in the Big 12 Conference this season with the next closest Big 12 school having four seniors. The Jayhawks boast the largest senior class in KU history since the 2008-09 season when Kansas had eight seniors on the roster. Kansas is going to rely heavily on its experienced players this season with 10 players from a season ago returning to the Jayhawk roster. Kansas returns 93.8 percent of scoring from the 2017-18 season as well as its leading scorers from the last two seasons with senior Christalah Lyons (14.8 ppg) from the 2017-18 season and sixth year Jessica Washington (17.1 ppg) from the 2016-17 season.
Kansas returns home to play Kansas State in the second edition of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN+ and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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