Jayhawks to Face TCU at Big 12 Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In a rematch of the 2015-16 regular-season finale, Kansas women’s basketball will face TCU in the first round of the 2016 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, at 8:30 p.m., on Friday, March 4, inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Following the Jayhawks
Kansas’ third match-up with TCU will be broadcast on FOX College Sports and the Jayhawk Radio Network, along with audio streaming via KUAthletics.com. Live stats are available through the Big 12’s website, big12sports.com. For the most up-to-date information, follow Kansas women’s basketball on Twitter (@KUwbball).
- Since the inception of the Big 12 Championship in 1997, Kansas has recorded a 13-19 mark in conference postseason action. Dating back to 1983, the Jayhawks are 32-30 in league postseason play. KU played in the championship game in 1998, but lost to Texas Tech, 71-53. The last championship title that Kansas won was in 1993.
- TCU took a 6-4 lead in the all-time series over Kansas after posting a 55-52 victory in the regular-season finale on Feb. 29.
- The Jayhawks are 1-0 against TCU in the Big 12 Championship, claiming an 83-61 win over the Horned Frogs in the first round of the 2013 tournament.
- When Brandon Schneider-coached teams are leading with less than five minutes to play, his overall record is 351-12, and 5-0 at Kansas.
- Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge leads Kansas in scoring with 10.7 points per game and has netted 19 double-figure scoring efforts in 2015-16, more than any other Jayhawk.
- Aldridge netted a career-best 20 points against Oklahoma (2/20), the most points by a Jayhawk in a single game this season. She has logged double-digit scoring performances in five of the last seven games.
- Aldridge needs just one more three-pointer, currently with 57 on the year, to move into a four-way tie for the ninth-most triples made in a single season.
- Redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal averages a team-best 41.3 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. The Raytown, Missouri native is on pace to record the seventh-best three-point shooting performance in Kansas history. O’Neal’s career-average (.411) currently ranks second in Kansas history, and well ahead of Natalie Knight’s .382 average, which sits in third.
- Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich is averaging 32.7 minutes per game during her rookie season. Her minutes per game rank eighth in the Big 12 and second among freshmen in the league.
About the Jayhawks
The Jayhawks (5-24, 0-18 Big 12) will get another shot at TCU in the first round of the Big 12 Conference Championship, after the Horned Frogs escaped with a 55-52 win on Feb. 29. TCU cruised to victory in the first matchup of the season, 70-44, but Kansas’ defense caused problems all night for the Horned Frogs in the second installment, and the Jayhawks nearly stole the road win. TCU leads the all-time series 6-4, but the two teams are level at 1-1 in neutral-site games. The Jayhawks are 3-5 in Big 12 Conference Championship games in the last five seasons, but 1-0 against TCU in the conference tournament, claiming an 83-61 win on March 8, 2013.
Kansas outpaced TCU in several categories Monday night, including field goals, rebounds, assists and points in the paint. The Jayhawks’ 43 rebounds, led by freshman forward Tyler Johnson with seven boards, tied their season-high, and marked just the second time in the last eight games to outrebound an opponent. For the seventh-straight game, Kansas logged double-digit assists, its longest streak of the season. Freshman guard Aisia Robertson led the way with four dimes, and the Jayhawks finished the night with 11 in total.
Kansas shot 32.8 percent from the field against TCU, slightly above the Horned Frogs’ .320 average. Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge and freshman guard Kylee Kopatich each tallied 10 points to tie for the team-high mark. It was Aldridge’s 19th double-figure scoring performance of the season, and Kopatich’s 15th game reaching the 10-point plateau. Neither team found a rhythm from beyond the arc on Monday; the Jayhawks went 5-of-19 (.263) from long distance, while TCU connected on just 4-of-18 (.222) attempts.
Free throw disparity, a consistent issue for the Jayhawks this season, once again manifested on Monday night. Kansas earned 13 trips to the line, slightly more than its season average (12.31/gm.), but found the bottom of the net on only seven attempts, a .538 average. Kansas ranks fifth in the Big 12 in free throw percentage (.675), but earns trips to the charity stripe far less often than its opposition. Kansas’ 357 free throw attempts are the least among conference opponents, and 98 fewer than Texas Tech (455), the team ranked ninth in free throws attempted. The Horned Frogs own the second-best average in the Big 12, sinking 73.7 percent of their free throws. In Monday’s matchup, TCU shot 19-of-25 at the line (.760), including 10-for-12 inside the last three minutes of action.
Five of the last six contests between the Jayhawks and Horned Frogs have ended in favor of TCU. A Kansas win would be its first since the 19-point comeback, overtime victory over Navy on Dec. 13. Kansas’ magic number for Saturday might be 65; when allowing more than 65 points from opponents this season, the Jayhawks are 0-14. In Kansas’ five wins this season, the Jayhawks netted 65 or more in four of them.
Scouting the Horned Frogs
TCU is 17-13 on the season, and 8-10 in the Big 12 after edging out Kansas for the win in its regular-season finale on Monday night, 55-52. Kansas held the Horned Frogs to 32 percent shooting from the field, the lowest for a Big 12 opponent all season. TCU’s six points in the first quarter were its fewest in an opening frame this season, and Kansas’ best defensive effort in the first 10 minutes of action as well. The second quarter mirrored the first, with the Horned Frogs pulling within one point by holding Kansas to just eight points. The two teams wrestled the lead back and forth in the second half, but TCU’s superior free throw shooting in the late moments of the game secured the victory.
The Horned Frogs were picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 by the coaches’ preseason poll, after tying with Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas for the third-best conference record (9-9) a season ago. In her first season at the helm, head coach Raegan Pebley helped the Horned Frogs earn a bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT), and win their first postseason game since 2008. Nine letterwinners and three starters return from last year’s squad, including senior guards Zahna Medley, who was named to the preseason All-Big 12 First Team for the second-consecutive season, and Veja Hamilton, who was named a preseason Honorable Mention All-Big 12 selection.
Last season, Medley led the Horned Frogs in points per game (15.6), assists (129), free throws (102), free-throw percentage (.879), three-pointers (72), and three-point percentage (.381). Medley currently leads the team in each of those categories again, and recently etched her name in TCU’s record books as the all-time leading scorer. Among the Big 12, Medley ranks fifth in points per game (16.4), seventh in assists (3.66), fourth in free throws made (95), first in free throw percentage (.880), second in three-point percentage (.431) and second in three-pointers made (78).
Hamilton currently averages 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Shooting just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc on the season, Hamilton is the only starting guard for TCU that isn’t a threat from three-point range. Redshirt sophomore guard AJ Alix shoots 41.1 percent from long distance, just a fraction lower than Medley’s average, and ranks seventh in the Big 12, while sophomore guard Toree Thompson’s mark of 39.6 percent is ninth in the conference.
TCU and Kansas now sit tied for eighth in the Big 12 in scoring defense, allowing opponents to average 66.3 points per game. However, the Horned Frogs shoot a conference-best 39.0 percent from beyond the arc, which may be problematic for the Jayhawks, who own the worst three-point defense in the Big 12 (.339). TCU and Kansas rank ninth and 10th, respectively, in rebounding margin. Kansas will look to continue its improved effort on the glass after collecting 14 offensive boards and outrebounding the Horned Frogs, 43-39, in the regular-season finale.
This Day in KU Women’s Basketball History
Record on March 4: 5-7
Kansas women’s basketball will play on the fourth day of March for the 13th time in program history. In 2009, Kansas won its fourth-straight Big 12 Conference game after defeating No. 5 Baylor, 69-45, inside Allen Fieldhouse. Danielle McCray led the Jayhawks with a career-high 35 points on 11-of-21 shooting and 6-of-7 from behind the arc. Krysten Boogaard chipped in 18 points and a team-high 11 rebounds as KU held Baylor to its lowest field goal percentage of the season at 26 percent.
One – Two – Three!
On the season, Kansas is connecting on 31.3 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. Both redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal and sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge are shooting above average, making 41.3 and 35.4 percent of their long-range shots, respectively.
With a win over TCU, the Jayhawks would face the No. 2 seed Texas Longhorns in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Championship. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m., on Saturday, March 5. The game will be broadcast on the Fox Sports Network as well as the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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