🏀 Kansas Powers Past No. 4 Baylor 87-66
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Women’s Basketball earned its first win against a top-five ranked opponent since 2009 as the Jayhawks defeated the previously unbeaten No. 4 Baylor Bears in dominant fashion, winning 87-66 on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
The win is the third all-time victory for Kansas against a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 5 and marks KU’s first victory against Baylor since 2014, snapping a stretch of 19 consecutive defeats.
Kansas (8-7, 1-3 Big 12) secured its first Big 12 win of the season behind a career night from super-senior Taiyanna Jackson, who finished with a career-high 27 points and a season-high 19 rebounds. Freshman S’Mya Nichols was one point shy of her career with 22 points, while adding six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Super-senior Holly Kersgieter added 19 points and six rebounds as the trio of Jackson, Nichols and Kersgieter combined to outscore Baylor’s entire team.
“We talked about how this presented the opportunity to be a turning point moment for us,” said Head Coach Brandon Schneider after the game. “Not only are they celebrating the win, they are celebrating and having fun. Win or lose, we have got to have more fun, and I thought we had some outstanding individual performances that needed to be celebrated.”
After Kansas opened the contest with a free throw by Zakiyah Franklin, Jackson converted consecutive putbacks followed by a contested layup to give Kansas an early 7-3 lead. Baylor immediately responded with a three to cut KU’s lead down to just a point. Baylor then went on a 9-3 run to take a 21-15 lead late in the first quarter. S’Mya Nichols hit a three-pointer with 26 seconds left in the quarter to cut the deficit to three heading into the second.
Following her record-setting performance last Saturday at Texas Tech, Kersgieter caught fire in the second quarter, as she made three-straight baskets for KU. However, Baylor would convert some timely shots and took their largest lead of the half at 35-26 heading into the media timeout in the second quarter.
Kansas closed the half on an 8-0 run, tying the game at 37 on a late driving layup from Nichols as time expired in the first half. Jackson led the way as she recorded her eighth double-double of the season heading into halftime with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Kansas continued its momentum into the second half by opening the third quarter with another 8-0 run, as the Jayhawks got out to a 45-37 lead early in the period. The Jayhawks totaled 26 points in the third while holding the Bears to just 10 points in the quarter.
Up 53-44 with 3:39 left in the third, Kansas went on another run, scoring six unanswered points to extend its lead to 59-43. The third period ended in back-and-forth fashion, but KU maintained a healthy lead and went into the fourth quarter with a 63-47 advantage.
Kansas continued to take it to Baylor, as Nichols and Kersgeiter both knocked down three pointers in the fourth quarter. A Nichols jumper late in the fourth quarter would give Kansas a 21-point lead, its largest lead of the game.
The game presented historical milestones for the Jayhawks as well. With her career-high scoring night, Jackson became the 32nd player in Kansas Women’s Basketball history to surpass 1,000 career points and she’s the fifth player on KU’s current roster to have scored over 1,000 points in college.
Jackson also recorded her 35th career double-double, which is fourth in school history, one away from tying Vickie Adkins for third. After moving into the top 10 in career rebounds last Saturday at Texas Tech, Jackson climbed two more spots on the all-time rebounding list, surpassing Nakia Sanford and Jaclyn Johnson to move to seventh in school history with 849.
Kansas is back at home for the second straight game on Saturday, Jan. 13, to host Oklahoma State. Tipoff at Allen Fieldhouse is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+.