KU women’s basketball routs Italian Select in first exhibition

photo by: Damon Young/Kansas Athletics

The Kansas women's basketball team huddles during its game against Italian Select in Rome on Aug. 9, 2023.

The Kansas women’s basketball team began the earliest stages of its highly anticipated 2022-23 campaign with a bang Wednesday in Rome, jumping out to a 14-point lead following the first quarter and extending it all the way to a 99-58 victory over an Italian Select team.

Highly touted freshman guard S’Mya Nichols led the way with 22 points in her first collegiate action, and senior center Taiyanna Jackson, one of three of four returning starters who came back for a fifth year, added 21 while going 7-for-8 at the free-throw line. Fellow returnee and guard Wyvette Mayberry was close behind with 19 points.

In a press release, KU coach Brandon Schneider said he was impressed with Mayberry and Jackson, but also how quickly Nichols and fellow freshman Laia Conesa have gotten acclimated. (Conesa scored 8 points total, including three baskets in rapid succession in the third quarter). Alabama transfer Ryan Cobbins, who Schneider said has “been with us for about three practices,” made it to double figures with a pair of late 3-pointers, her second and third of the game, and finished with 12 points.

“I was really encouraged by our new additions in how quickly they have acclimated themselves to a group of veterans,” Schneider said.

Jackson and Nichols tallied 8 points apiece to put KU up 26-12 at the end of the first quarter. The second period was much more even in scoring but saw Mayberry hit a late 3 as the Jayhawks retained a 15-point lead at the break.

KU doubled up Italian Select in the second half to boost its margin dramatically, as seven different Jayhawks, of the 12 present on the trip, joined in on the scoring in the fourth quarter.

The team has one more game remaining on its European journey, which will take place in Athens, Greece, at noon Central Time on Sunday.

photo by: Damon Young/Kansas Athletics

Kansas guard Laia Conesa drives during the game against Italian Select in Rome on Aug. 9, 2023.

photo by: Damon Young/Kansas Athletics

Kansas guard Wyvette Mayberry takes a three-point shot during the game against Italian Select in Rome on Aug. 9, 2023.


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