🏀 Strong Finish Leads No. 22 Jayhawks to Win in Big 12 Opener
STILLWATER, Okla. – A 12-0 run early in the fourth quarter propelled the No. 22 Kansas Jayhawks to an 80-65 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Jayhawks improved to 11-1 on the year with the win and open Big 12 play 1-0 for the second time in the past three seasons.
Holly Kersgieter matched a season-high with 23 points and Taiyanna Jackson recorded her eighth double-double of the season, finishing with 17 points and 19 rebounds. Jackson had eight points and 10 points in the fourth quarter alone, as the Jayhawks outscored OSU 22-13 in the final period to decide the game. KU had four players in double figures, with Wyvette Mayberry adding 12 points and Ioanna Chatzileonti chipping in 11 off the bench.
"I thought our team did a really good job at responding today, whether it be at halftime or out of timeouts. We made good adjustments, responded to coaching throughout the day and I felt like we finished the game really strong."Kansas Coach Brandon Schneider
The first quarter featured eight lead changes and two ties as the Jayhawks and Cowgirls played within a five-point margin for the first 10 minutes. Kersgieter scored the final five points of the quarter – and seven overall – to put KU up 22-18 after a three-pointer on the Jayhawks’ final possession. KU scored the first seven points of the second quarter, using a 12-0 run to build a 29-18 advantage with 6:19 to play in the half. OSU hit its last four field goals of the first half, including two three-pointers, to cut KU’s advantage to four, 38-34, at halftime.
OSU tied the game at 40-all less than two minutes into the third quarter and took their first lead since the first quarter at 43-42. Kersgieter responded with a quick basket, for her first two of nine points in the third quarter, as KU went back on top, 44-43. The Jayhawks led for the rest of the quarter, extending the advantage to six as KU carried a 58-52 lead into the fourth.
KU’s advantage was 60-55 with less than eight minutes to play when the Jayhawks used a 12-0 run to take control of the game for good. Mayberry started the run with a three-pointer and added three free throws after being fouled on another attempt from long range. Kersgieter added a layup and Jackson had two baskets in the run, which ended with KU leading 72-55 with 4:49 to play. KU pushed the lead to as high as 19 at 80-61 before OSU scored the last four points of the game to end it at 80-65.
The win is KU’s third-consecutive victory over Oklahoma State and the second-straight win over the Cowgirls in Stillwater. The Jayhawks won the conference opener for the eighth time in the 27-year history of the Big 12 and the second time in the past three seasons.
Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse for the first game of 2023 as the Jayhawks host Texas Tech on Wednesday, Jan. 4, in the first of two consecutive Big 12 home games for the Jayhawks. That game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT and be broadcast on Big 12 NOW.