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Washington carries Kansas over Washburn in exhibition finale, 81-57

LAWRENCE, KS – The individual scoring numbers weren’t quite as balanced against Washburn on Sunday as they were against Fort Hays State last weekend, but one thing did remain the same: Jessica Washington turned in another amazing performance.

The Jayhawks defeated Washburn 81-57 with relative ease, and the junior transfer from North Carolina once again played a huge role. Washington finished the game with 21 points (7-15, 2-5), while also converting on 5 of 6 free throws in 25 minutes. Long time Washburn head coach Ron McHenry was very impressed with the talented guard.

“I think she had 9 points in a row. She can really shoot it.”

Technically, it was only 8 points, but indeed, one of the biggest stretches of the game took place in the 3rd quarter.

With Washburn only down by 13 points and still hanging around, Washington, on three straight possessions put in a mid range jumper, a three pointer, and another three pointer to stretch the lead to 19. From there, Kansas never really looked back.

Washington was not the only player that Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider was happy with in this game, as Aisia Robertson also drew praise from Schneider post game.

“I thought Jess and AR (Robertson) were both players that sparked significant runs for us.”

Robertson, a player known very well for her defense but not as much for her offense, averaged 13.5 points per game in KU’s 2 exhibition games after scoring 14 points on 5-7 shooting versus Washburn. Robertson shot only 30% from the field last season, but Schneider will be depending on players like her to provide a scoring boost off of the bench.

“The big thing for AR this year is she just understands her game a lot more than she did a year ago. She understands how to get to her certain spots on the floor. That’s back to back games now that we’ve gotten double figures from her off the bench. We need that.”

In addition to the 14 points, Robertson recorded 4 rebounds and 4 assists, and, of course, 3 steals.

Kansas got off to a very slow start offensively in the first quarter versus Washburn, scoring only 4 points in the first five minutes. KU finished the opening quarter on a flurry, however, ending the period with 21 points and a seven point lead. From there, it was mostly smooth sailing en route to the 81-57 victory.

Starting guard Kylee Kopatich scored 12 points (2-5, 2-2), while McKenzie Calvert struggled mightily after playing an excellent game last weekend, scoring just 7 points (3-11, 0-5), including a 1-9 performance from the free throw line, in which she began 0-8 from the charity stripe.

Starting forward Caelynn Manning-Allen played 15 minutes (6 more than last weekend), scoring 7 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. Schneider mentioned post game that Manning-Allen is still recovering from a groin injury.

After last week’s 98-71 victory versus Fort Hays State, Schneider criticized the defense, mostly focusing on the poor transition defense. This week, Schneider mentioned that the offense was a little bit lackluster at times. Going forward, it will be up to the Jayhawks to put together more complete games as the competition gets tougher.

KU kicks off the regular season next Sunday versus Missouri State at Allen Fieldhouse at 2 PM.

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