Trio of seniors spark Jayhawks in win over Alabama A&M, 65-54
LAWRENCE, Kan. — A trio of seniors ignited Kansas women’s basketball with double-digit scoring efforts in the 65-54 victory over Alabama A&M on Sunday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse.
After trading leads for most of the first quarter, it was a 12-0 Kansas run early in the second quarter, sparked by a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers by senior guard Jessica Washington, which gave the Jayhawks a boost as KU regained the lead and never relinquished it for the remainder of the ballgame.
In her 2018 debut, Washington made her presence known, finishing with 12 points and six rebounds. In addition to Washington’s double-figure scoring performance, senior Christalah Lyons netted a game-high 16 points, while senior Austin Richardson added 13 points. Both Lyons and Richardson have recorded double figures in two of three games this season.
Following a career-high performance in her last contest, sophomore forward Bailey Helgren led the team with seven rebounds. She also added a blocked shot and five points on the day.
Despite being outscored in the second half, the Jayhawks’ lead at the half was enough to improve to 3-0 with the 65-54 win over the Bulldogs.
Senior guard Jessica Washington
On the feeling she had waiting to check in to her first game back:
“It was great. That moment, I don’t really think I can bring it into words. I had a lot of jitters, but I knew that before the game my teammates were excited for me, my family was excited for me. I had a lot of support with the fans. It was a great moment.”
On adjusting to her first game back:
“I think that I had a lot of jitters, but just knowing that my teammates were excited for me to be out there really helped. I think those first two free throws were me getting my jitters out a little bit. I’ve played basketball my whole life, so the feeling of playing again came back to me pretty quick. It wasn’t brand new. It was a good team win today. I think we all did a pretty good job today.”
Senior guard Christalah Lyons
On being able to depend on each other (Jessica):
“All I have to say is, it’s going to be a scary sight.”
On Bailey Helgren’s improvement this season:
“Bailey has improved her game a lot both offensively and defensively. She’s put in the work. She’s gained a lot more muscle, she’s a lot more knowledgeable about the game and I believe she’s better prepared this year than ever.”
Head Coach Brandon Schneider:
“I thought Alabama A&M did a great job of playing downhill all night and keeping us on our heels. They were very aggressive, attacking the paint and the basket. When we did play a little bit of zone, I thought Nigeria Jones did an excellent job of playing with confidence and stepping into some shots. I thought they played really well. We were really choppy, didn’t play with a lot of rhythm, but I think that is to be expected as we get some people back, who either have been injured or have been out for a variety of reasons. It will take us a while to develop some chemistry and rhythm.”
On Jessica Washington’s performance:
“I thought she made effort plays, took a charge, got six rebounds, loose balls, made a couple of baskets to get a run started for us. She’s rusty, which is to be expected. It’s been a long time since she played in a game. When you’re not able to play in some exhibitions and kind of knock some of those off, I really think these next few games will be a lot like exhibition games for her, getting back and playing with some confidence and knocking some of that rust off.”
On Washington and Christalah Lyons’ dynamic:
“I think they are a group that we definitely want to play together. I think it’s tough to stay in front of both those guys, they can both get to the rim. We’re going want to have them on the court together as much as we can.”
On the team’s unselfishness on the court:
“Tonight, I thought we passed up a lot of shots. So maybe we were too unselfish, and not particularly those two (Lyons and Washington), but I thought other players, once we got the ball moving, we passed up on some opportunities. That will be some good film for us.”
On difference of scoring in the first half and the second half:
“I think it’s an overall mentality that we haven’t taken the next step in the development and the progress of our program. When you’re not very good, winning can be good enough. As you get better, you have to understand that there are a lot of nights where winning just isn’t good enough, that there’s a standard of play that you have to told yourself and your teammates accountable for and we haven’t taken that step yet.”
On how he expects Washington to integrate herself with the team:
“I hope the transition goes smoothly, but we have to understand that it’s going to take some time. Our goal is to really be clicking and to find the right combinations, the right rhythm if you will, going into Big 12 play.”
- Redshirt freshman center Brittany Franklin’s two blocks mark the first two of her career.
- In her first game back following a knee injury in the 2017-18 season, senior Jessica Washington poured out 12 points, her 39th career double-digit scoring effort, while grabbing six rebounds.
- Seniors Christalah Lyons and Austin Richardson each posted their second double-figure scoring performance of the season with Lyons contributing a team-high 16 points and Richardson adding 13 points.
- Kansas shot an impressive 85.7 percent (12-of-14) from the field in the second quarter, while connecting on a perfect 4-of-4 of their attempts from beyond the arc.
- Freshman guard Aniya Thomas made her first collegiate start after scoring a team-high 19 points against Oral Roberts (11/13) last Tuesday.
The Jayhawks continue a five-game homestand with George Mason on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse.
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