TCU Downs Kansas, 80-63
LAWRENCE, Kan. – TCU only outscored Kansas by five points in the second half, but costly miscues ultimately led to a TCU victory, 80-63, as Kansas remains winless in the Big 12 conference, Wednesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
In the third-most efficient shooting performance of her four-year career, senior forward Chelsea Gardner brought home a game-high 21 points after knocking down 10-of-13 shots for a sizzling 77 percent mark from the field. Senior guard Natalie Knight recorded her 100th-career start for the Jayhawks and posted 17 points and seven rebounds. Kansas (9-8, 0-4) allowed 27 points off of 22 turnovers. Nearly half (29) of Kansas’ points came from players off the bench, compared to only five from TCU’s bench. The Jayhawks shot well going 26-for-55 (47 percent) from the field. Chelsea Gardner controls one
of her game-high eight rebounds.
TCU improved to (11-4, 3-1) with the win. Reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, junior guard Zahna Medley, who had 21 points, led the Horned Frogs. Chelsea Prince and Veja Hamilton each added 19 and 20 points, respectively. From the field, TCU shot 48 percent and tied an opponent season-high by swiping 14 possessions away from the Jayhawks.
In just the first two and a half minutes of the game, TCU posted five points resulting from three Kansas turnovers. The mark was 7-0 before Kansas could answer, but answer it did. The Jayhawks ignited a 9-0 run and overtook the early Horned Frog lead.
Before long, both teams fell into a slump offensively, each going 1-for-5 from the field at one point. Kansas even entered into a scoring drought that lasted over two-minutes before senior guard Asia Boyd brought it to an end with a layup.
Then TCU took control. In just 30 seconds, the Horned Frogs went on a 7-0 run and forced two Kansas timeouts in less than a minute. The Jayhawks already had 11 turnovers and there were still five minutes left to play in the first half. The Horned Frogs capitalized off of this, by scoring 15 points off of Kansas turnovers and establishing another lead, 28-22. TCU continued on its run, 19-6 in all, to end the half. Kansas trailed 38-26 at the halftime break.
The Jayhawks struggled in more ways than one in the first 20 minutes of play, posting a total of 16 turnovers and allowing 19 points off of those turnovers. The KU defense allowed the Horned Frogs to shoot better than average at 41 percent from the field. Kansas shot 42 percent from field goal range with an 11-for-26 mark. Kansas’ bench, however, chalked up 14 points compared to TCU’s three. The Jayhawks were 38 percent from behind the arc (3-for-8).
Kansas did not see the change it was looking for in the first minutes of the second half. The two teams traded baskets and Kansas kept trying to chip away at the TCU lead, but couldn’t get the defensive effort it needed. Then Kansas found the change it was desperately searching for. Gardner laid in three-straight shots in just 30 seconds and just a minute later, Aldridge followed with a shot behind the arc.
Answering with a three of their own, the Horned Frogs didn’t allow the Kansas rally to last long and the battle continued. As the result of shooting 5-for-5, Kansas came back within four, 53-49. TCU didn’t collapse under pressure, though, and rejected Kansas’ request to start a run by answering on offense.
Keeping the game close, and control of the ball, Kansas only had three turnovers in the second frame with five minutes remaining. But that didn’t stop TCU from imposing a three-minute scoring silence on KU and going on an 8-0 run to build back its lead, 72-57.
The two teams fought deep into the final minutes of the game. Kansas shot a well above average 52 percent from the field in the second frame, but it wouldn’t prove to be enough to overcome the TCU lead. The Jayhawks fell 80-63.
- Wednesday’s 10-of-13 performance by senior forward Chelsea Gardner was the third most efficient shooting game of her career connecting on 77 percent of her attempts. Gardner previously nailed 13-of-16 shots (81 percent) against Texas Southern on Dec. 12, 2013 while her best shooting night came against Grambling State on Nov. 28, 2012 when she made 11-of-13 attempts (85 percent).
- Gardner has now attempted more than 10 shots 38 times in her four-year career and with Wednesday’s performance, Gardner now averages an astounding 52 percent conversion rate in games she has attempted more than 10 shots.
- Senior guard Natalie Knight recorded her 100th-career start against the Horned Frogs. Behind that experience she chalked up 17 points and seven rebounds; her 14th game this season in double digits.
- Senior forward Chelsea Gardner had her best game since Incarnate Word on Dec. 4 with 21 points and eight rebounds.
- Players coming off Kansas’ bench greatly outscored TCU’s bench 29-5.
- The TCU defense forced 22 Kansas turnovers, resulting in 27 points for the Horned Frogs. Tonight’s game marked Kansas’ second game in a row with 20 or more turnovers.
Kansas will continue its home stretch when the Jayhawks take on No. 5 Baylor on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. It marks the second top-five opponent for Kansas in the past five matchups.
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