Texas Tech Holds On, Tops Kansas 69-58
Coach Brandon’s Press Conference
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball trailed by just a single point late in the game against Texas Tech, but could not break through as the Lady Raiders hung on for a 69-58 victory inside Allen Fieldhouse Saturday night.
In a fourth quarter that played out much like the previous matchup between the two conference foes, Texas Tech held firm at 57-56 with 3:39 left in the contest and sealed the victory at the free throw line, thanks largely to freshman guard Japreece Dean. On three-straight trips to the free throw line in the waning moments, Dean connected on all six attempts.
KU freshman guard Aisia Robertson put forward a career-night, collecting 14 points and three blocks, both career-high marks. The San Francisco, California native also led the Jayhawks (5-23, 0-17 Big 12) in rebounding for the first time in her career, gathering seven boards. Kansas’ leading scorer, sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge, recorded her 18th double-digit scoring effort this season, finishing the night with 16 points. Aldridge also dished out a team-high four assists and shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe.
Freshman G Aisia Robertson scored a career-high 14 points
The Lady Raiders (12-16, 3-14 Big 12) were led by redshirt junior guard Ivonne CookTaylor, who gathered 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting and 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. Dean finished just behind her teammate with 17 points, and tallied four of Texas Tech’s seven assists. Junior Center Leashja Grant was tenacious on the glass, pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds and a team-leading three offensive boards.
Kansas jumped out to an early 5-0 lead less than 90 seconds into the game. A three-pointer from redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal at the 6:29 mark pushed the Jayhawks’ advantage to six points, at 10-4. The Lady Raiders answered with a 7-0 run to claim their first lead. On Texas Tech’s last possession of the opening quarter, Robertson swiped the ball away but could not capitalize on the fast break bucket before the buzzer.
Texas Tech missed its first five shots to start the second period, allowing the Jayhawks to score the first six points of the quarter and extend their lead to double digits just past the seven-minute mark. The Lady Raiders slowly chipped away at the deficit, pulling within one possession with 2:35 left in the half. Back-to-back baskets brought the margin to seven points, but Grant scored the final four points before the break and left the Jayhawks clinging to a three-point lead, 33-30.
The Lady Raiders opened the second half on a 6-2 run to regain the advantage for the first time since the 2:53 mark of the first quarter. After Johnson netted her fourth field goal of the evening, Texas Tech strung together seven unanswered points. Free throws from Aldridge and sophomore guard Chayla Cheadle broke up the scoring slump but Kansas would go seven minutes between made field goals.
With just seconds left in the period, the Lady Raiders looked to grow their lead after a steal by senior guard Rayven Brooks. A fast-break layup from Grant looked likely, but Robertson had other plans. After elevating for the come-from-behind block, Robertson then raced down to the other looking to turn the defensive effort into points before the clock hit zero. Aldridge found her in the corner, where she launched a three that found the bottom of the net just as time expired.
Robertson stayed in the zone in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, scoring Kansas’ first four points. An 8-1 run capped off by Aldridge’s only triple of the night brought the game to within a single point with 3:39 left in the game. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, Texas Tech went on to outscore the home team 12-2, including the final eight points of the contest. Six-straight made free throws from Dean sealed the win for the visitors, 69-58.
- Texas Tech extended its lead in the overall series to 18-9.
- KU is 5-8 against the Lady Raiders when playing inside Allen Fieldhouse.
- The Jayhawks are 119-210 all-time against Big 12 Conference foes.
- The Jayhawks shot 42.9 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, the highest halftime average since shooting 50 percent at Texas on Jan. 27.
- Kansas’ 33 points scored in the first half were the most in the first half since dropping 41 against Oral Roberts on Dec. 22.
- Kansas held a halftime advantage for the first time since leading 28-18 against Iowa State on Feb. 2.
- Kansas dished out at least 10 assists for the sixth-consecutive game.
- Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge’s block on Rayven Brooks at 7:13 in the second quarter was her first of the season.
- Aldridge recorded her fifth game this season with four or more assists.
- This was Aldridge’s fourth time this season playing at least 39 minutes.
- Freshman guard Aisia Robertson notched a career-high for points with 14.
- Robertson led the team in rebounds for the first time this season after tying her career-high with seven boards.
- Sophomore guard Chayla Cheadle recorded her sixth game this season with at least six rebounds.
- Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich tallied her fifth-career game with three or more steals.
Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider
“The difference in the second half was offensive rebounds, loose balls and free throws. I felt like those were areas in the first half where we were the better team. I credit Texas Tech in the second half because they really took charge of those areas, but both teams missed 40 shots, so neither team shot particularly well, but they were able to create a few more possessions.”
On the turning point in the second half:
“Just missing shots for the most part, they did a good job with (Japreece) Dean really controlling the second half of the game and forcing rotations. When you force rotations like that, we’ve got some trouble on the boards. I think that’s what created offensive rebounds for them. I thought we got good looks, but we took some bad shots from the post and took too contested turnaround, not very fundamentally sound jump hooks that didn’t draw iron and we didn’t think those were good shots. We had a lot of open threes and 15-footers that we just didn’t make and obviously I thought that was the difference. You just can’t shoot 26 percent in the half and expect to win.”
On looking forward to this game as a win:
“I think we’ve looked forward to every game, I think our team has felt like after the TCU game we’ve played better. We played much better against Oklahoma, we thought we played much better in the second half against Oklahoma State. We had a close ballgame in Lubbock with Texas Tech, so I’m sure it was a game we felt like we had a chance to be competitive in and had a chance to win and we just didn’t make enough plays. They made more plays, especially in the second half, than we did.”
On the shots taken in the second half:
“I felt like we wasted some possessions. We had a silly turnover at half court with Timeka (O’Neal) trying to get the ball to Lauren (Aldridge). We had silly turnovers after getting rebounds and we took a couple bad shots in the post. At the end of the day, we just have to make plays.”
On his goals for the remainder of the season:
“Right now we are guaranteed two more games. We’re going to be on a plane tomorrow headed to TCU. I know our players and our staff were really disappointed with how we competed against TCU (the first time this season), so hopefully we will go there and give them a better version of ourselves.”
Kansas sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge
On not having a conference win at home this season:
“Obviously it is disappointing, losing is never fun. We’ve got prep tomorrow and two games left so no matter what has happened this season, we’ve got to come out with a lot of energy against TCU on Monday.”
On handling quick turn arounds:
“For quick turn-arounds, you always have to be dialed in mentally. Usually we have a two-day prep; now we have a one-day prep, so everything that we do on the court might be shorter, but everyone’s got to stay dialed in. Everyone just needs to take care of their bodies on quick turn arounds. That’s what’s important.”
Kansas freshman guard Aisia Robertson
On her new career high:
“I just took the shots when my teammates gave me the ball. You have to shoot with confidence and that’s what I did tonight.”
Texas Tech Head Coach Candi Whitaker
“Great win for us on the road in a situation that we had to battle. I thought both teams played well. So I’m proud that we could take the lead and then hold them off there at the end.”
On the team’s performance in the closing minutes of the game:
“I saw a sense of urgency. Down the stretch they got key stops and key rebounds. I thought they executed with poise. We had that kick down low that was just a big time play at that moment in the game that gets us back up and gives us a little bit more of a cushion. I thought we were crashing the boards extremely hard on the offensive end for a period. We just couldn’t get them to go even with three or four looks at times. But the boards defensively really sealed it for us.”
On what adjustments Kansas made since the two teams last meeting:
“Kansas plays how they play. They’re extremely tough defensively. They’re going to get up in you and deny everything because that’s who they are and how they play. So not a ton of adjustments as far as their defensive play goes. Offensively they were looking to get it inside a little bit. They execute their stuff well. Kansas does what they do and will continue to come at you in those ways.”
On Kansas’ Coach Brandon’s first season as the head coach:
“I’ve known Brandon since I was a third grader. He’s going to do a great job. He comes from a great basketball family. Basketball is what he knows.”
On looking back at her first season and comparing it with Coach Brandon’s as both were winless in the Big 12:
“I mean it’s tough. I think what Brandon and Kansas has going for them is that he’s inherited some young kids that are good and he can build a program with. They have extremely high character and will show up every day and play extremely hard. I think there’s a lot of great things he can build on with what he’s inherited. He came in at a decent enough time to recruit as far last spring. There’s some good things he can build upon and obviously has the transfers already sitting on the bench.”
On the team’s offensive performance:
“I loved our tempo. I thought we pushed the ball really well and got out and ran. We had a lot of offensive transition positions and we need that. We need to get some easier shots. We don’t want to play five-on-five against their pressure all the time. I really loved how we ran. It’s important that we continue to play with tempo. That starts with how well we are with the ball, rebounding and outletting it. A lot of it’s on Japreece [Dean] to really push the tempo.”
Texas Tech redshirt-junior guard Ivonne CookTaylor
On the defensive adjustments in the second half:
“We were just sticking to our fundamentals. Like Coach said, we had a sense of urgency. We stressed a few things in the beginning of the season and definitely made the adjustments this game.”
On how important it was not to be the only conference win for Kansas:
“Yeah of course. We definitely didn’t want to give them their first win.”
Kansas finishes the 2015-16 regular season on the road with the final meeting against TCU on Monday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m., inside Schollmaier Arena. The game will be broadcast on FSN and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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