🏀 Kansas Takes Down Georgia Tech in Convincing Fashion, 77-58
STANFORD, Calif. – The eighth-seeded Kansas Women’s Basketball team moved into the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament on Friday with a convincing 77-58 first-round win over ninth-seeded Georgia Tech at Maples Pavilion.
Kansas improved to 21-9 on the season and will now face the winner of Stanford and Montana State on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16 in the Spokane Region. The NCAA Tournament win is the program’s first since its last appearance in 2013 and the Jayhawks have now moved onto the second round in six of their last seven NCAA Tournament appearances. The 19-point margin is the largest margin of victory in NCAA Tournament history for Kansas.
The Jayhawks were led by their leading scorer on the season, Holly Kersgieter, who had a game-high 19 points and five rebounds in 32 minutes. Sophomore Ioanna Chatzileonti had her first double-double of the season and fourth of her career with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The first half of the Kansas win featured several runs by both teams in an entertaining first 20 minutes. The Jayhawks struck first, opening the game on a 10-0 run. Taiyanna Jackson hit a layup on the team’s opening possession, before Zakiyah Franklin connected on a 3-pointer to make it 5-0 less than two minutes into the game. Chatzileonti then scored five straight points, courtesy of a layup and a 3-pointer, to make it 10-0 just two minutes and 56 seconds into the game.
But Georgia Tech then hit back with a run of its own, outscoring Kansas 22-3 over the next six-plus minutes. Lorela Cubaj hit a layup with 53 seconds left in the opening quarter to cap the run and give the Yellow Jackets a 22-13 lead after the first.
Georgia Tech maintained its lead to start the second quarter, holding a 28-20 advantage over Kansas with 6:51 to play in the half. But Kansas then went on its second substantial run of the game when it ended the half on a 14-3 run and a 7-0 spurt.
The run started with a driving layup from Chandler Prater and continued with a jumper from Julie Brosseau to make it 28-24. Kersgieter, a first-team All-Big 12 selection, then canned a 3-pointer off a pass from Prater to make it a one-point game at the 4:47 mark. Georgia Tech’s Sarah Bates responded with a 3-pointer of her own to put the Yellow Jackets up four.
But Kansas ended the half on the aforementioned 7-0 run. Kersgieter and Chatzileonti scored back-to-back buckets to tie the game at 31 with 2:41 left in the half. Kersgieter then hit her second 3-pointer of the half to give Kansas a 34-31 lead at the half. Kersgieter had 10 points and four rebounds in the first half.
The Jayhawks controlled the third quarter, leading by double digits for the final three-plus minutes. The lead got up to 15 points with 38 seconds left in the third when Danai Papadopoulou connected on a layup to make it 58-43. Georgia Tech closed it to 12 with a 3-pointer right before the buzzer.
In the fourth, Kansas led by double digits for all but one possession. The Jayhawks shot 8-for-14 from the floor in the final quarter, with Prater having eight points in five minutes on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting from the floor.
In addition to Kersgieter and Chatzileonti finishing in double figures, Jackson had 14 points and seven rebounds to go with two more blocks. Prater had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Kansas will await the winner of the Stanford-Montana State game for Sunday’s Round of 32 matchup.