Kansas tips off with George Mason for first time
|vs. George Mason|
|Nov. 21 // 7 p.m.|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas women’s basketball welcomes George Mason to Allen Fieldhouse for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 21 for a 7 p.m. tipoff. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
The Jayhawks look to extend their winning streak at the start of the 2018-19 campaign to four with a victory of the Patriots, the first ever meeting in program history. Fans who bring a nonperishable food donation to the game will receive $5 admission.
- The Jayhawks have started the season off 3-0 for the second-straight year with wins over UMKC (11/7), Oral Roberts (11/13) and Alabama A&M (11/18).
- Seniors Christalah Lyons and Austin Richardson have each notched double-figure scoring in two out of KU’s three games this season and are leading the Jayhawks with 11.7 points per game each.
- Redshirt-senior Jessica Washington notched her 39th career double-digit scoring effort with 12 points in her season debut.
- Sophomore Bailey Helgren is leading the Big 12 Conference with eight total blocks and 2.7 blocks per game in the first three contests of the season.
- Lyons boasts the best field goal percentage among the Jayhawks with 20 attempts, connecting on 54.2 percent of her shots from the field.
- Freshman Aniya Thomas registered her first career start against Oral Roberts, marking the third time in the last two seasons that a freshman has appeared in the starting lineup.
- Freshman Brooklyn Mitchell and senior Brianna Osorio are tied for sixth in the Big 12 for free throw percentage, each connecting on 80 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.
- Lyons is second in the league for assist to turnover ratio with just two turnovers through three games, while dishing out 11 assists.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HISTORY
Record on Nov. 21: 6-3
Kansas is playing on Nov. 21 for the 10th time in program history. In 1998, Kansas women’s basketball defeated Minnesota, 62-53, behind a 20 point outing from Lynn Pride. Jaclyn Johnson and Suzi Raymant added 12 points each.
SCOUTING THE PATRIOTS
After finishing the 2016-17 season with a 13-17 record, George Mason put in the work during the following offseason to improve to 24-10 in the 2017-18 season. Last season’s performance earned the Patriots a fourth place finish in the Atlantic 10 and their third trip to the WNIT. After a 82-75 victory over Stephen F. Austin in the First Round of the WNIT, George Mason fell 78-69 to Virginia Tech in the Second Round, ending turning-point season for the Patriots. George Mason looks to continue building on last season’s success, opening the 2018-19 campaign with a 3-1 start. The Patriots return three of their starters from a season ago and nine total returners. Among those returning are GMU’s second, third and fourth leading scorers. Nicole Cardaño-Hillary is leading the Patriots with 23.8 points per game thus far this season, while also dishing out 2.8 assists per game and snagging 2.8 steals per game, also team-highs. As a team, George Mason is holding its opponents to 34 percent shooting from the field and 32.7 percent shooting from long range.
Redshirt-senior Jessica Washington made her season debut against Alabama A&M (11/18) after coming back from a season-ending knee injury last season. The former Big 12 Newcomer of the Year posted 12 points, six rebounds and one assist in 19 minutes of play to tipoff her senior campaign.
THE FLOOR GENERAL
Coming off of an impressive junior campaign where she garnered All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors, senior guard Christalah Lyons has settled into a groove leading the Kansas offense this season. Lyons is averaging a team-best 11.7 points, while dishing out 3.7 assists per game so far this season. The Dallas native has just two turnovers thus far, while dishing out 11 assists, for the secondbest assist to turnover ratio in the Big 12 Conference.
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP HERE
Sophomore Bailey Helgren has started her sophomore campaign on a high note, breaking career-high marks in each of the Jayhawks’ first two games. Helgren’s five blocks in the season opener not only were a career best, but also moved her to the top of the Big 12 blocked shots list. The 6-5 center is averaging 2.7 blocks per game with eight total blocks on the season. The Edina, Minnesota native is also averaging 8.3 rebounds per game, good enough for second on the Kansas team. Helgren also scored double figures for the first time in her career, scoring 10 points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the floor against Oral Roberts (11/13). The 6-5 sophomore was just one rebound shy of her first career double-double.
Kansas’ senior-heavy roster has garnered some national attention, as the Jayhawks are receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches’ Top-25 Poll ahead of the 2018-19 season. KU received 14 points in the preseason poll, voted on by The USA TODAY Sports Board of Coaches made up of 32 head coaches at Division I institutions. This marks the first time since the 2013-14 season that Kansas has received votes in the coaches’ poll.
RELYING ON THE RETURNERS
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 Lyons (14.8 ppg) from the 2017-18 season and Jessica Washington (17.1 ppg) from the 2016-17 season. Additionally, 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.
1,000 POINT CLUB
Senior guard Kylee Kopatich is quickly approaching the 1,000 point mark with 991 points with the Jayhawks. Just nine points shy of the accomplishment, Kopatich will become the 29th Jayhawk in Kansas women’s basketball history to join the 1,000 point club. Additionally, senior guard Jessica Washington is just 42 points away from scoring 1,000 points in her college basketball career. Washington scored 451 points at the University of North Carolina and scored 495 points in just one season with the Jayhawks. After scoring 12 points in her season debut, Washington’s collegiate total has now reached 958 points.
Kansas concludes its five-game homestand against Iona on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse. Fans can watch all of the action on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN+ or listen on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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