🏀 Kansas Picks up 20th Win of Season; Tops No. 19 Oklahoma
NORMAN, Okla. – The Kansas Women’s Basketball team earned its 20th victory of the season Saturday as the Jayhawks went into the Lloyd Noble Center and defeated No. 19 Oklahoma 73-67.
With the win, Kansas improves to 20-8 on the year. The Jayhawks finished fifth in the Big 12 standings with an 11-7 conference record. It’s the first time since 1999-2000 that Kansas posted 20 wins in the regular season and the 22nd 20-win season in program history, and the first since 2012-13.
Aniya Thomas led the Jayhawks with 19 points off the bench, while Taiyanna Jackson matched her career-high with 18 points in addition to six rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals. Zakiyah Franklin also reached double figures, scoring 12 points with seven rebounds, and Ioanna Chatzileonti pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds.
The first quarter saw the teams go back-and-forth, with six lead changes and two ties. Oklahoma hit four 3-pointers in the opening 10 minutes and outscored KU 9-2 over the final four minutes to lead 23-18 at the end of one.
Jackson opened the second quarter with a basket and converted the three-point play, which jumpstarted a 9-2 run for the Jayhawks, who regained the lead after Franklin found Holly Kersgieter behind the defense for a fast-break layup that put KU up 27-25. The Jayhawks closed out the quarter even stronger, outscoring OU 15-3 over the final 4:04, including a 10-0 run to close the half with a 44-35 lead.
Both teams settled in defensively in the third quarter, holding the opponent to less than 35% shooting. Kansas pushed the lead to 13 at 54-41 following a pair of free throws from Jackson, but OU closed the quarter on a 6-0 run, getting back within five at 55-50.
The Jayhawks had to hold off a strong push from OU in the fourth quarter as OU used a 10-0 run to take a 64-62 lead with 2:37 to play. Kansas responded, however, with an 8-0 run that put the Jayhawks up six, 70-64, with less than a minute to play. The Jayhawks would hit three free throws down the stretch to hold off the Sooners by a final margin of six.
The Jayhawks have secured the No. 5-seed for the upcoming 2022 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship, which begins on Thursday, March 10 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas will face the No. 4 seed in the quarterfinal round at 11 a.m. CT on Friday, March 11.