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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Kansas-Washington State women’s basketball preview

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When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Allen Fieldhouse

Who: Washington State

Series: First meeting

New starting lineup (?): When Kansas University’s women’s basketball team last played — an overtime victory against Navy a week ago — coach Brandon Schneider gave freshmen Tyler Johnson and Jayde Christopher the first starts of their careers.

A point guard from Federal Way, Washington, Christopher replaced another first-year Jayhawk, Aisia Robertson, and had four points, two assists and one turnover in 18 minutes.

A post player from Leavenworth, Johnson started instead of junior Caelynn Manning-Allen and had four points and one rebound in 11 minutes.

“Tyler’s been playing well,” Schneider said. “We kind of wanted to give Caelynn a chance to come off the bench and give us a spark. I just like our tempo when Jayde’s in the game and wanted to make an adjustment there. Also, that had a little bit to do with Aisia Robertson being hurt (missed practice a couple days leading up to that game).”

Manning-Allen’s impact: Coming off the bench for the first time this season, 6-foot-4 forward Manning-Allen responded with a double-double (10 points, career-high 11 rebounds) in 32 minutes against Navy.

Schneider thinks KU’s best inside scorer (9.8 points per game) is still developing.

“Caelynn’s a junior, but we have to remember she’s still a very young player,” the coach said. “For one, she hasn’t been playing basketball that long. And two, she hasn’t played (a lot) in her time here until this year.”

Streaking: Washington State freshman forward Borislava Hristova has proven to be almost unstoppable since joining the Cougars. The 6-foot freshman has scored in double figures in every game, averages 19.4 points and is shooting 51.7 percent on the season.

Slumping: KU has struggled to knock down three-pointers the past two games. In 43 tries, just 10 of the Jayhawks’ three-point shots have dropped (23.2 percent). On the season, Kansas is shooting 32 percent from long range.

Probable starters

Kansas (5-4)

G — Lauren Aldridge, 5-7, soph.

G — Jayde Christopher, 5-8, fr.

G — Kylee Kopatich, 5-10, fr.

G — Jada Brown, 6-0, jr.

F — Tyler Johnson, 6-2, fr.

Washington State (8-2)

G — Caila Hailey, 5-10, soph.

G — Dawnyelle Awa, 5-9, sr.

F — Louise Brown, 6-2, soph.

F — Borislava Hristova, 6-0, fr.

C — Bianca Blanaru, 6-5, soph.

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