Kansas women's basketball returns a senior-laden team with the likes of center Chelsea Lott, forward Austin Richardson, guard Christalah Lyons, guard Brianna Osorio, guard Kylee Kopatich and redshirt guard Jessica Washington. Having roster continuity is going to be key considering the struggles of the team from the previous season.
In coach Brandon Schneider’s fourth year on the sidelines for Kansas basketball, the Jayhawks will look to bounce back after going 12-18 last season, dropping 14 of their final 15 games.
Offensively, the emergence of Lyons and Kopatich as scorers should help take some of the burden away from Washington as the primary scorer and hopefully even create some opportunity for her to elevate the play of the team as a whole.
Kansas opens the season favorably, spending the first month of the season at home before they travel to Baton Rouge to take on LSU, followed by a trip to Lincoln to play Nebraska.
The emphasis will be to come out of the non-conference portion of the schedule in good shape, as the Jayhawks look to improve upon their dismal 3-15 conference record from the previous season. Schneider needs a strong showing this season with a career record of 26-64 at Kansas. If he doesn’t improve the team quickly, he could be looking for another job.
Senior guard Christalah Lyons – ★★★
Leading the Jayhawks in 14.8 points per game a year ago, Lyons looks to shine in her final year in Lawrence alongside a highly experienced lineup.
Her non-conference numbers translated well to Big 12 conference play, as she went on to rank 10th in the conference in averaging over 15 points a game, as well as being one of two Jayhawks to start all 30 games in 2017-18.
She also managed to make her presence known on the defensive side leading the team with 97 steals in her junior season. With a solid season behind here, Lyons hopes to not only surpass her totals from a year ago but also push for an elusive bid in the NCAA tournament.
Redshirt senior guard Jessica Washington – ★★★★★
After averaging 17.0 points per game and 4.1 rebounds in 2016-17, Washington sat out all of last season due to a knee injury. After transferring from North Carolina back in 2015, the redshirt senior earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
In 26 starts, Washington recorded 20 or more points 10 times, and scored 30 or more points twice. With an injury giving her a fifth year, Washington hopes to return to being the top player for Kansas as she was just two years ago.
Senior guard Kylee Kopatich – ★★★★
Starting in all 30 games last season, Kopatich is one of many returning players who started for the Jayhawks a year ago. Scoring a total of 399 points and averaging 13.3 points per game, the local kid from Olathe South High School will begin her final year at Kansas with high expectations.
Despite her size at only 5-foot-10, she managed to finish second on the team in rebounding, snagging 125 throughout the course of the season. Off the court, she's earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team and honorable mention in her past two years with the Jayhawks, as well as being nominated for the All-State Good Works Team.
Senior forward Austin Richardson – ★★★★
Ranking 20th in the Big 12 in rebounding and playing in all 30 games, Richardson is arguably the top forward returning for coach Brandon Schneider and the Jayhawks.
After coming from Johnson County Community College, she provided solid playing time and excelled in the rebounding category, leading the team with 158, along with averaging 8.5 points a game to go with it. Although she spent time at the forward position, Richardson became one of four Jayhawks to knock down 20 or more three pointers on the season with 27.
Senior center Chelsea Lott – ★★★
With the center spot likely the least experienced position in the lineup, Lott comes in appearing in 27 games, including six starts, last season. Scoring a total of 56 points and bringing down 67 rebounds, she seems to be the deserving candidate to earn some early starts for Kansas this season.
If Lott is picked as the team's top center, the lineup for the Jayhawks would showcase five seniors, ranking as one of the more veteran units in the nation. The center position may be a revolving door throughout the season, but look for Lott to get the start for Kansas as the season rolls around.