🏀 Jayhawks Fall to No. 25 West Virginia in Conference Opener
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Women’s Basketball dropped its Big 12 Conference opener Saturday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, falling to No. 25 West Virginia, 85-60.
The Jayhawks moved to 7-4 on the season and 0-1 in Big 12 play, while West Virginia stayed perfect on the season at 12-0 and is now 1-0 in league play.
Taiyanna Jackson collected the 34th double-double of her career in the loss for Kansas, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. Holly Kersgieter led the Jayhawks in scoring with 19 points, knocking down four of five from deep in the game.
“None of them are going to be easy,” Kansas coach Brandon Schneider said when alluding to Big 12 Conference play. “Last time I checked, we were the only Power Five league that had every team in the conference ranked in the top 100 of the NET. We feel like we can compete to win every game, but we need to play with better effort than we did today.”
The first quarter was tight throughout, featuring four lead changes by the Jayhawks and Mountaineers in the game’s first 10 minutes. West Virginia opened the game with a 3-pointer before Jackson scored five straight points to give KU a very early lead. Leading 7-6, the Jayhawks extended their lead to three when Ryan Cobbins got on the board with a layup nearly four minutes in.
Cobbins hit a jumper a couple of minutes later to give KU an 11-8 lead. But West Virginia closed the quarter on a modest 6-1 run to grab a 14-12 lead after the first. Jayla Hemingway’s 3-pointer with just more than a minute remaining in the quarter capped the mini-run.
The 25th-ranked Mountaineers stayed hot in the second quarter and extended their lead throughout the frame. West Virginia shot 60 percent (9 for 15) in the quarter and went 4-for-6 from deep. Kansas was also solid from the floor in the second, connecting on 6 of 12 shots, but didn’t attempt any 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, West Virginia got a pair of threes from Lauren Fields and one each from Jordan Harrison and Ja’Naiya Quinerly. The Jayhawks cut the lead to eight when Wyvette Mayberry connected on a layup with with 2:20 left in the half, but WVU scored the final five points of the half on a Fields 3-pointer and a bucket from Danelle Arigbabu to make it a 13-point advantage of 38-25 at the break.
After not attempting a 3-pointer in the second quarter, the Jayhawks connected on their first two from deep in the third quarter – courtesy of S’Mya Nichols and Kersgieter – cutting the deficit from 13 to 9 in less than 90 seconds. But West Virginia had an answer for every Kansas run in the third and shot 56 percent from the floor in the quarter to extend their lead to 18 by the end of the third at 62-44.
The Jayhawks attempted to cut into the lead in the fourth, but the Mountaineers had an answer each time to finish off the win and stay perfect on the season. West Virginia was led in the win by Harrison, who finished with a game-high 21 points in the win. The Mountaineers had three others score in double figures in the win.
Kansas opens the 2024 calendar year with a road trip to Ames, Iowa to face Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Tipoff from Hilton Coliseum is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+.