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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Kansas-West Virginia women’s basketball preview

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When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Allen Fieldhouse

Who: West Virginia (11-3, 0-1) at Kansas (5-7, 0-1)

Series: Tied 4-4

Television: Jayhawk Network (WOW! channels 37, 226)

Big 12 eye-opener: The Kansas women’s basketball team’s first foray into Big 12 play under new head coach Brandon Schneider served as a reminder about how difficult it can be to win conference games.

After Oklahoma handled the Jayhawks, 67-44, in Norman, Oklahoma, Schneider said KU showed its youth.

“Well, I think with this particular team, regardless of time or score, you have to coach these young guys every possession,” KU’s coach said. “Every opportunity is a chance to get better. Jayde (Christopher, a freshman point guard) sometimes can get the ball up the court really quickly, and she just needs to make sure that everyone is in their spot before she gets us into a particular set.”

Tough to score: Kansas (5-7 overall, 0-1 Big 12) hasn’t shot the ball well this season, overall. The Jayhawks have made only 38.8 percent of their field-goal attempts. Things won’t be any easier with West Virginia (11-3, 0-1) visiting Allen Fieldhouse. The Mountaineers have held opponents to 33.5 percent shooting, which ranks 17th in the nation.

Streaking: WVU senior guard Bria Holmes enters today’s matchup shooting 53.2 percent from the floor and averaging 17.1 points per game. The 6-foot-1 senior, who is on the Wooden Award Top 30 List, has scored in double figures in 13 consecutive games.

Slumping: KU has lost three straight games and five of its last six. Even the team’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge (11.9 points per game), finds herself in a shooting funk. Aldridge missed all seven of her tries at OU, shot 1-for-8 in a loss to Oral Roberts and has made just five total field goals on 28 attempts (17.9 percent) during KU’s three-game skid.

Probable starters

Kansas (5-7 overall, 0-1 Big 12)

G — Lauren Aldridge, 5-7, so.

G — Jayde Christopher, 5-8, fr.

G — Kylee Kopatich, 5-10, fr.

F — Jada Brown, 6-0, fr.

F — Caelynn Manning-Allen, 6-4, jr.

West Virginia (11-3, 0-1)

G — Chania Ray, 5-8, soph.

G — Katrina Pardee, 5-9, fr.

G — Bria Holmes, 6-1, sr.

F — Arielle Roberson, 6-1, sr.

C — Lanay Montgomery, 6-5, jr.

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