After a season-opening win over Drake, 83-78, Friday night the South Dakota women’s basketball team will challenge the Big 12’s Kansas Jayhawks. The Coyotes are trying to start the season 2-0 for the first time under Amy Williams and for the first time since the 2011-2012 season when the team won its first four games of the season.
Kansas will be playing for the first time this season after a tough 2013-2014 campaign that saw the Jayhawks post a 13-19 record. Prior to last season Kansas made two straight Sweet 16 appearances.
Kansas has posted a 124-58 record in Allen Fieldhouse under Bonnie Henrickson, who enters her 9th season as the KU head coach. The Jayhawks are 9-1 in season opening games under the coach and have won nine straight. The last time Kansas lost its season opener was Nov. 21, 2004 in a 53-49 setback to Texas-Arlington. Overall the Jayhawks are 19-3 when opening their season at home.
Kansas is led by senior Chelsea Gardner – an All Big 12 preseason selection – who needs just 20 points to reach the 1,000 point club. The also hope for big play from Natalie Knight, who is second all-time at Kansas with a .384 mark from behind the arc. Knight made 63 shots from long range last season – 4th best in school history.
The Coyotes are fresh off a win over Drake that saw the bench explode for 41 points. The bench scoring was led by Kelly Stewart who scored 15 points in 20 minutes of play. Bridget Arens scored 11 points off the bench and was a perfect 3-3 from the field. The sophomore recorded a big steal late in the game that helped USD hold on to a win. Freshman Kate Liveringhouse was solid in her Coyote debut with nine points and three rebounds in 11 minutes of play.
The Coyotes will need to get their starters going if they are going to knock off the Jayhawks.
Kansas leads 2-0.
Last meeting: Kansas def. South Dakota 73-40 in 2010.