KU women’s hoops knocks off Arkansas State

Courtesy: KU Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Multiple career highs fell for Kansas freshman guard Chayla Cheadle en route to a 62-48 Jayhawk victory over Arkansas State Sunday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.

The Columbia, Missouri native shot 50 percent from the floor and registered career highs in points (19), free throws made (six), field goals attempted (12) and minutes played (30). The rookie tied career highs in nearly every other stat with three assists, six free throw attempts and six field goal attempts.

With 15 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and her first collegiate double-double, senior guard Natalie Knight also helped deliver the Kansas (8-3) win over Arkansas State (3-4). Senior forward Chelsea Gardner didn’t have her usual eye-popping game with just two points and two rebounds, but the DeSoto, Texas provided a stifling presence in the paint with a game-high three blocks. Gardner’s three blocks moved her into second place on KU’s all-time block leaderboard with 150 swats, passing Aishah Sutherland (2009-12) who had 149 over her career.

“It was good for us to find a way to win an ugly one with foul trouble and rotation issues,” head coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “I think Natalie, Bunny and Chalya as well, stepped up defensively. We brought more pressure and were able to disrupt them more in the second half. I felt like if we got into them and forced them to turn it over,giving us a chance to go score layups in transition, which is where we got the separation. We certainly have to clean some things up, but sometimes there’s value in being able to find a way to win an ugly one and with people in foul trouble.”

Two double-digit scorers led Arkansas State. Redshirt junior guard Aundrea Gamble totaled 20 points and seven rebounds, while senior forward Jasmine Hunt tallied 10 points and four rebounds. The Red Wolves were held to a below-average 30 percent from the field, managing just two made shots from three-point land.
Natalie Knight turned in 15 points
and a career-best 13 rebounds for her
first-career double-double on Sunday.
Just 13 seconds into the contest Arkansas State nailed one of its two three-point shots right out of the gate. The Red Wolves struggled offensively as they attempted eight more shots before connecting once again. Kansas held Arkansas State silent for over three minutes before the first media timeout and led 8-5.

After the break, the Red Wolves continued to struggle making baskets, shooting only 18 percent from the field within the first 10 minutes of the game. KU was also experiencing a tough time from the field as it suffered a scoring drought of its own for nearly four minutes. Freshman guard Lauren Aldridge brought the scoring insufficiency to an end by sinking a shot from beyond the arc just prior to the shot clock expiring bringing the game to a 14-9 Kansas advantage.

At the seven-minute mark, Gardner made a contested layup in the paint and senior guard Asia Boyd quickly followed by knocking in Kansas’ fourth trey of the night. That highlight would be the last for the Jayhawks for the next five minutes. Arkansas State went on an 8-0 run and caught back up to the Jayhawk lead trailing by only one, 23-22. KU wouldn’t relinquish its lead that easily with the help of Knight and sophomore forward Jada Brown, who sank three collective shots in the final seconds as KU headed into the break with the lead 27-22. The Jayhawks are 8-1 when heading into the locker room with the lead.

It was a Knight’s tale in the first half as the senior led the Jayhawks on both offense and defense with nine points and nine rebounds. Aldridge was close behind her with eight points. The Red Wolves were held to a well-below average of 24 percent from the floor. Kansas also led from beyond the arc, shooting 4-for-8 in the first half.

Knight came out strong again to start the second frame by netting a jumper to catapult her into double figures for the eighth time in 2014. The two teams went back-and-forth in the minutes following. Just before the under-16 timeout Kansas passed it coast-to-coast that resulted in a Cheadle layup.

Arkansas State slumped into another scoring drought that lasted almost five minutes, but the Jayhawks struggled offensively as well, making only two baskets in eight attempts. This kept the Red Wolves from falling too far behind along with help from Gamble, who put up a layup, which brought the score to 38-33 and forced a KU timeout.

With 11 minutes remaining, the Jayhawks passed the ball around before Boyd would get it to Knight in the paint, who completed a layup. Kansas continued to hang onto the energy hitting two more shots back-to-back. This performance sparked Kansas’ first significant run of the game, going 11-2. During the run, Boyd put up a layup and a shot behind the arc in a matter of 30 seconds. The run put Kansas ahead, 49-38.

After stopping the run, the Red Wolves hit two unanswered shots. Cheadle wouldn’t allow Arkansas State to build a run when she connected a three-point shot despite being fouled. At the line, she knocked in a freethrow, turning the Jayhawk possession into a four-point play as Ku regained its double-digit advantage. On the next trip down, she hit another shot, this time a two-point jumper. Of Cheadle’s career-high 19 points 16 of them came in the later half behind 50 percent shooting.

“I just shot it with confidence and it went in,” Cheadle said. “I feel like it was a momentum play for our team, which helped us grow the lead.”

Both the Red Wolves and the Jayhawks found a shooting groove and traded baskets deep into the remaining time. Kansas’ lead proved to be too much to overcome as the Jayhawks sealed the win, 62-48.

NOTES:
• Freshman guard Chayla Cheadle recorded career highs in points (19), field goal attempts (12), free throws (six) and minutes (30). She also tied career highs with three assists, six free-throw attempts and six field goal attempts.
• With three rejections against the Red Wolves senior forward Chelsea Gardner elevated herself past Aishah Sutherland (2009-12) to second all-time on KU’s career blocked shots list with 150. Lisa Tate (1991-94) holds the Jayhawk record for blocks with 269.
• Senior guard Natalie Knight tied her season-high 15 points and posted a career-best 13 rebounds to chalk up her first-career double-double.
• Kansas held Arkansas State to a below-average 30 percent from the field and allowed the Red Wolves to make only 19-of-63 shots.
• The Jayhawks also outrebounded the Red Wolves, 46-36, marking the seventh game this season Kansas has pulled down more rebounds than its opponent.

UP NEXT:
The Jayhawks will take a weeklong break before hitting to road to face Creighton on Monday, Dec. 22. The opening tip is set for 6:05 p.m., inside D.J. Sokol Arena.

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