Shooting woes haunt KU women in loss to Oklahoma

Sunday, February 11, 2018

After a cold shooting start, Kansas women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider saw his team fall into a hole he was hoping they could avoid.

The Jayhawks were never able to dig themselves out of it.

The shots just wouldn’t fall for KU on Saturday against Oklahoma. The Jayhawks lost their 10th straight game in a 72-52 loss to the Sooners at Allen Fieldhouse. KU shot just 16 of 59 (27 percent) from the floor.

Early offensive struggles arose for the Jayhawks in the first quarter, where they committed 11 turnovers and failed to make a field goal on eight shot attempts.

Six of KU’s 11 first-quarter turnovers were offensive fouls, and juniors Brianna Osorio and Austin Richardson each had two fouls after the quarter. Oklahoma (13-12, 7-6 Big 12) took advantage of KU’s early miscues and held a commanding 10-point lead after the first quarter.

“We had a very strange first quarter, in terms of ball security,” KU coach Brandon Schneider said.

KU (11-13, 2-10 Big 12) had most of its offensive success in the second quarter, when the Jayhawks scored 20 points and shot 7 of 17 from the floor to cut the deficit to 35-27 at the half.

It was Christalah Lyons who did her best to keep the Jayhawks close by scoring 14 of her team-high 16 points in the first half. Many of her drives resulted in made shots around the basket, and her aggressive play helped her shoot a perfect 6 of 6 from the free throw line.

But Schneider thought she was having to carry too much of the load offensively.

“She stayed aggressive, made her free throws, we just have to get her a little more help,” Schneider said.

Lyons didn’t receive much of it on the night. The Jayhawks can point to the shooting woes of Kylee Kopatich and Richardson, who shot a combined 6 of 26 from the floor.

“(When players get in foul trouble) Christalah has to really carry more of the load than what we’d like,” Schneider said. “Just because I think that takes a lot out of her, when you’re talking about over the course of 40 minutes.”

Lyons, who shot 5 of 11 in the game, scored a mere two points in a second half that quickly got away from the Jayhawks.

KU came out of the intermission on a 7-0 run, but the team missed its final 12 shots of the quarter and went into the final period down 12.

In the fourth, Oklahoma proved to be too much and put the game out of reach by scoring 24 points on an efficient 10 of 13 shooting.

“I was happy with how we defended for three quarters, (we) just didn’t sustain the type of defensive mindset necessary to really position ourselves to win it in the fourth quarter,” Schneider said.

With an opportunity to bounce back at West Virginia on Wednesday, Schneider said he is hoping to see more offensive production from his players, especially Kopatich and Richardson.

“We’ve got to find a way to get more contribution from the offensive end out of those two,” Schneider said.