Kansas women’s hoops falls at No. 6 Texas

Courtesy: KU Athletics

AUSTIN, Texas – It was a tale of two halves for Kansas women’s basketball, as the Jayhawks kept pace with No. 6 Texas in the second half, but costly turnovers by KU in the opening half aided to the Longhorns mounting a 24-point advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, as Texas defeated Kansas, 70-46, on Wednesday evening inside the Frank Erwin Center.

Kansas struggled to get offensive production from multiple Jayhawks, as only five players connected on at least one field goal. In contrast, 10 different Longhorns tallied at least one made field goal on the night. The early turnovers hurt Kansas’ offensive momentum, but the Jayhawks bounced back and stuck with the Longhorns for the entirety of the second half.

Freshman Lauren Aldridge led Kansas (5-15, 0-9 Big 12) in scoring for the 11th time this season, and reached double-figure scoring for the 14th time, collecting 15 points and tying her career-high with five three-pointers. Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen tallied 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, her best scoring performance in Big 12 play this season. Freshman Kylee Kopatich finished the night with eight points, but her three-point shooting provided a jumpstart for the Jayhawks in the second half.

Texas (19-1, 8-1 Big 12) was led by senior center Imani Boyette, who posted her 12th double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Big 12’s leading blocker lived up to her reputation, swatting away four Kansas shot attempts. Sophomore guard Brooke McCarty reached double-digit scoring with 13 points, sinking three of Texas’ six long-range baskets. Senior guard Empress Davenport dished out a game-high five assists and tacked on three points.

A sloppy first quarter left the Jayhawks facing an early uphill climb. Over the last 3:26 of the opening period, Kansas turned the ball over six times and failed to score a basket. By the quarter’s end, the Jayhawks had amassed 12 turnovers. Junior F Caelynn Manning-Allen logged her best Big 12 performance of the season with 14 points.

A quick 6-0 run on triples from Aldridge and Kopatich turned a double-digit hole into just a five-point deficit less than three minutes into the second quarter. Texas answered with a 17-0 run, holding the Jayhawks scoreless for the last 7:45 of the half. Kansas committed only four turnovers in the second quarter, all coming during the scoreless stretch, but the Jayhawks could not get a basket to fall.

The last seven field goal attempts before the intermission missed the mark, leading to Kansas’ largest halftime deficit of the season. Trailing 39-15, the 24-point disadvantage topped the previous season-high mark of 19 points, which came in the Jayhawks’ first game against the Longhorns on Jan. 13.

Kopatich’s second three-ball of the evening pulled the Jayhawks out of the skid early in the third quarter, injecting a much-needed spark into the Kansas offense. Kopatich’s bucket ignited what would become a 14-2 scoring streak, cutting the Longhorns’ lead back to 16 points.

Once again, Texas had an answer. The home team grabbed 11 of the quarter’s final 14 points, boosting its lead back to the halftime margin of 24 points.

In the final 10 minutes of action, both coaches went to their bench in order to get Big 12 experience for the future talent of their respective teams. In an encouraging display for the Jayhawks, the two teams remained deadlocked for the entire quarter.

Kansas did not budge at any point in the second half, matching the Longhorns shot for shot despite going long stretches with three freshman on the court. In total, Kansas employed at least two freshman Jayhawks in the lineup for over 83 percent of the game. At the final buzzer, Texas claimed the 70-46 victory and the 1,000th win for the program, a feat only accomplished by four other schools in history.

POSTGAME NOTES
Texas 70, Kansas 46
Jan. 27, 2016 – Lawrence, Kansas

Frank Erwin Center
Attendance: 3,126 (Capacity: 16,734)

SERIES INFORMATION
• Kansas drops to 10-21 against Texas in the all-time series.
• KU is 4-10 when facing the Longhorns inside the Frank Erwin Center.
• The Jayhawks own a 119-202 all-time record against Big 12 Conference foes.
• Kansas has a record of 364-407 away from Allen Fieldhouse.

TEAM NOTES
• Kansas fell to 0-4 against nationally-ranked opponents in 2015-16.
• The Jayhawks shot 44.4 percent from the three-point line, marking the second time that KU has shot 40 percent or better against a Big 12 foe from the three-point line. On the season, Kansas has shot above 40 percent from beyond the arc on six occasions.
• KU shot 34 percent from the field at the Frank Erwin Center, marking the highest team field goal percentage since the Jayhawks shot 34.6 percent at Iowa State (1/9/16).
• Kansas swiped nine steals compared to the Longhorns’ seven.
INDIVIDUAL
• Junior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen netted 14 points against No. 6 Texas, one shy of her career high. Manning-Allen’s 14-point performance is the highest scoring output for the Chicago native since non-conference action.
• Manning-Allen finished the night shooting 66.7 percent (6-of-9) from the field, marking the second-highest field goal percentage in a single game. She connected on 83.3 percent of her shots at Arizona (11/23/15).
• Manning-Allen has logged nine double-digit scoring efforts this season and 10 in her career.
• Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge tied her career best mark of makes behind the three-point line with five. Aldridge last recorded five treys against Northern Illinois (11/27/15).
• Aldridge’s 15-point performance against the Longhorns was one point shy of the game leader. She has netted double digits in 14 games this season and 28 over the last two seasons. Aldridge has a career three-point field goal percentage of 36.3, which is the ties Shandy Robbins (1998-99) for eighth in KU history.
• Other than Aldridge’s previous contest with five makes from the three-point line, the last time a Jayhawk made five buckets from beyond the arc was Natalie Knight against TCU (2/17/15).
• Freshman forward Chelsea Lott tied her career high of two points against No. 6 Texas.

POSTGAME QUOTES
Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider
Opening Statement:
“First, I’d obviously like to congratulate Coach Aston, her staff, and the program on the 1,000th win. My family has a long history with Coach Conrad and many of the coaches that have coached at this university and been part of the women’s basketball program here, and that’s obviously a tremendous accomplishment. For the game tonight, I thought the difference was the first half and the sixteen points they got off of our sixteen turnovers. We did a poor job taking adequate care of the basketball, but Texas can be disruptive, obviously points are hard to come by for us in the paint with the size that they can present.”

On twelve first-quarter turnovers:
“Our leader, our best player, had six [turnovers]. I don’t know if they were all in that quarter, but she stepped out of bounds a couple times. But I will commend her for coming back and being mentally tough enough to snap out of it and play really well in the second half.”

On relationships with Texas coaches:
“Not so much me as my father, he’s been a coach at Cannon High School for a long time, had a lot of players that played here. Lynn Davis Pool was an assistant coach that played for him and was on the staff here when they won the National Championship in ’86. There’s just a lot of ties in this state, a lot of coaches, obviously.”

NEXT UP
The Jayhawks continue their road trip and travel to Lubbock, Texas, for a matchup with Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 30. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. Fans can follow the action on the Jayhawk Radio Network.

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