MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University women’s basketball team will face a Big 12 team for the first time on its home court as the Mountaineers take on No. 21/20 Kansas on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 7:30 p.m.
The Mountaineers (8-4, 1-0) look to bounce back from a 71-68 loss at the hands of Oklahoma on Wednesday, while the Jayhawks (10-2, 1-0) defeated Kansas State, 72-63, at home for its league opener on Jan. 2.
Kansas returns four starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 21-13 and 8-10 in the Big 12, and went to the NCAA Regionals. KU was chosen by the league head coaches to finish No. 4, just behind WVU and Oklahoma, in the Big 12 Conference preseason poll.
In the Jayhawks’ last outing with Kansas State, KU had five players in double figures behind sophomore guard Natalie Knight’s 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and 6-of-8 shooting from the free throw line.
Kansas averages 71.7 points per game as a team, which is the fourth-highest average in the Big 12, while matching WVU in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 58.2 points per game.
As a team, Kansas is accurate from the field, shooting a team field-goal percentage of 45.7 percent, the 19th-highest team field-goal percentage in the nation.
Senior forward Carolyn Davis holds the seventh-highest scoring average in the Big 12 as she averages 15.8 points per game, while senior guard Angel Goodrich as the only other KU player to average double-figure numbers with 13.7 points per game.
Davis is accurate from the field, shooting 59.8 percent (76-127) the league’s third-highest field goal percentage. Goodrich is the Jayhawks’ assist leader as she has collected 80 this season, averaging 6.7 assists per game—the third-highest average in the league. Goodrich is also known for her stealing efforts as she leads the league with 3.2 steals per game, collecting 38 total this season.
Knight proves to take care of the ball as she holds a 5.3 assist/turnover ratio with 37 assists to a mere seven turnovers this season; good enough to lead the nation. Junior forward Tania Jackson averages 6.8 rebounds per game, the 11th-highest average in the league, as Kansas’ rebounding leader.
The Mountaineers are led in scoring by junior guard Taylor Palmer
, who is coming off a 30-point performance at Oklahoma on Wednesday. Palmer averages 11.5 points per game and is the Mountaineers’ leading 3-point shooter as she shoots 34.1 percent from the field with 28 threes this season. Behind Palmer, junior guard Christal Caldwell
averages 11.4 points per game and is 37 percent accurate from the field.
Senior center Ayana Dunning
rounds out the top three scorers for WVU as she averages 10.6 points per game and remains WVU’s rebounding leader at 7.3 boards a game. Sophomore Crystal Leary
provides a spark off the bench as the second-leading rebounder with 5.8 rebounds per game to go along with 5.2 points per game.
The last time Kansas and West Virginia played was on Jan. 2, 1994, when KU defeated WVU 84-64 at the Coliseum. WVU trails 2-0 in the all-time series.
Saturday’s game is a United Bank Dollar Night - fans can print out a coupon on the official WVU women's basketball Facebook page that can be redeemed for $1 admission. Fans can listen to the game live on WAJR. Live stats and a recap of the game can be found at WVUsports.com.