McCray's Heroics Lift Jayhawks Past Nebraska, 62-61
Feb. 17, 2008
<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Danielle McCray hit a free-throw with 1.4 seconds remaining, sending the University of Kansas, who donned pink jerseys in honor of breast cancer awareness, to a 62-61 victory over conference-rival Nebraska on Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The victory improved Kansas to 15-9 (4-7), while NU fell to 17-8 (6-5). It was KU’s third win in its last four outings.
After the Huskers’ Tay Hester hit one of two from the line with 12 seconds left to tie the game, McCray took the ball at the top of the key, crossed over and drove into the lane, drawing a foul and setting up the game-winner.
The Olathe, Kan., native calmly stepped to the line after Nebraska had called two timeouts, and her first shot didn’t graze the rim. McCray would miss the second, but a full-court heave by NU fell well short.
KU got off to a quick start and held a lead for the majority of the first half. The Jayhawks led 20-14 with 11:17 remaining in the opening frame after going on a 10-4 run, but the Huskers held Kansas scoreless for the next 4:29 to cut the deficit to one. However, the Jayhawks never lost their lead and eventually took a 31-26 cushion into the break.
Kansas took advantage of a Nebraska full-court defense that sped up the game in the first half, scoring seven fast-break points while notching eight assists on 12 made field-goals.
The Jayhawks continued to slowly increase their lead early in the second. KU’s margin extended to 46-38 midway through the half on a jumper by sophomore Sade Morris, but NU again came back by picking up its defense, this time holding Kansas without a point for a stretch of 4:08 to get within three.
McCray had an answer, though, as she connected on a three-pointer on the next possession, which was then followed by a three-point play by senior Taylor McIntosh to give KU its largest lead of the game at 52-43 with 6:08 remaining.
But the Huskers would again battle back, going on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to take their first lead since the score was 5-4 in the game’s opening minutes.
After McCray tied the game at 58-58 with a runner at the 1:14 mark, the Jayhawks got a stop and Morris drew a foul on KU’s next possession. The Norman, Okla., native made just one of two, but McIntosh rebounded the miss and hit a put-back to give KU a 61-58 lead with 54 seconds left.
Nebraska then got a pair of free-throws from Kelsey Griffin to close to within one, and after a stop, Hester drew a blocking foul on Morris to set up a chance to take the lead. However, she made only one of two, setting up McCray’s heroics.
Overall, the Huskers were just 17-of-34 from the line, while KU finished a solid 10-for-13. McCray led the Jayhawks with 13 points and 10 rebounds – her fifth double-double of the season – while McIntosh finished with 11 points and seven boards.
Sophomore LaChelda Jacobs scored 10 points and recorded a career-high six assists, while freshman Nicollette Smith also added 10 points.
Kansas will next be in action when it travels to Texas Tech on Feb. 20. The game is set to tip at 7 p.m. in Lubbock.