One team entered Saturday afternoon with a 7-1 record, and the other walked into Allen Fieldhouse with a record of 4-5. Despite being at the short end of that particular statistic, the Kansas women’s basketball team wasted no time in dispatching of the Arizona Wildcats.
Kansas (5-5) dominated play from virtually the very beginning, and it started with their floor general in the backcourt, Jessica Washington. The junior transfer from North Carolina scored the first six points for her team, including a couple of nice driving layups.
Washington finished the game with 16 points on 6-11 shooting, and also added 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Arizona head coach Adia Barnes threw plenty of praise the way of the junior.
“She’s good…. She can shoot it, she can drive it a lot. I think she’s drive first but she has a good three point shot. I thought she passed the ball pretty well today. She found posts on our mismatches. I think she’s a really good player.”
At the other guard spot, KU’s leading scorer so far this season McKenzie Calvert did not start versus Arizona, but looked really comfortable off of the bench in her return from a one game absence due to illness.
The sophomore guard drained her first shot midway through the first quarter, putting in a three pointer to give KU a 12-6 lead. Calvert would not stop there, ending the game with 14 points on 5-10 shooting from the field and 3-7 shooting from the three point line.
For Arizona (7-2), the shooting struggles of leading scorer for the season LaBrittney Jones would be symbolic of their overall team effort from the field. The senior forward shot just 3-11 from the field, and the Wildcats together combined for a putrid 31%.
After racing out to a 10 point lead to end the 1st quarter, the Jayhawks would extend it every subsequent period, outscoring the Wildcats by four points in the 2nd quarter, five in the 3rd, and five in the 4th, en route to a 75-51 victory.
Sophomore guard Kylee Kopatich has turned into a really good defender over the course of the last two games. She did not have the offensive performance on Saturday that she did last Sunday against Rhode Island, but she has now combined for 8 steals in the last two contests. In addition to that, Kopatich has been active on the glass, as she pulled down 7 rebounds versus Arizona after grabbing 9 versus Rhode Island.
Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider has been happy with Kopatich of late.
“She’s active. She’s playing with high, wide hands. There were times when she didn’t get steals but she got deflections out of bounds where we can reset our defense.”
The sophomore guard finished with 8 points on 3-7 shooting from the field and 2-5 shooting from the three point line.
At the forward position, senior Caelynn Manning-Allen made her return from a three game absence after sustaining a head injury versus Creighton on November 30th. In 13 minutes, Manning-Allen scored 9 points on 3-5 shooting, adding 4 rebounds and a block. Coach Schneider acknowledged after the game that the senior’s return is huge, as KU is not very deep in the frontcourt.
Next Game Information:
Kansas will conclude non-conference play on Wednesday, December 21st as they welcome in the 5-3 UC Riverside Highlanders.