Late Surge Lifts Cowgirls Over Jayhawks, 64-56
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Chelsea Gardner recorded her sixth double-double of the season and second in as many games but Kansas’ bid for another top-10 upset was denied in a 64-56 loss to No. 8 Oklahoma State in Allen Fieldhouse Wednesday night.
The espnW Player of the Week put up 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Cowgirls (17-1, 6-1 Big 12), but the Fieldhouse magic that helped the Jayhawks upend No. 7 Baylor Sunday dissipated late Wednesday evening. Gardner was also strong at the free throw line, making all five of her free throws. Senior guard CeCe Harper contributed 13 points and three rebounds. Kansas (9-10, 2-5 Big 12) also saw a strong offensive performance from freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez who chalked up 10 points for the first time since against Texas Southern when she set a career-high of 18 points.
Oklahoma State shot 43 percent from the field and was led by junior forward Liz Donohoe, who had a double-double of her own with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Brittany Atkins was the second Cowgirl to score in double figures with 11 points. Sophomore guard Brittney Martin helped the Cowgirls defensively by pulling down 9 rebounds.
After winning the opening tip, the Cowgirls were the first on the board with a layup by Donohoe. Freshman guard Keyla Morgan was the first Jayhawk to put up points for the home team when she hit a long two-point basket. Harper followed her lead when she completed a three-point play after drawing a foul on a layup to tie the score 5-5 early in the first half.
Junior guard Asia Boyd brought energy off the bench after the first media timeout when she pulled down an offensive rebound that resulted in a layup by Harper. Harper’s basket sparked a 12-2 run that included a trey from Gonzalez and forced Oklahoma State to use its first timeout. Prior to the timeout, the Cowgirls had hit just one of their last 10 shots and allowed Kansas to lead, 14-7.
At the 10:45 mark, Boyd connected a long pass to Harper who made an uncontested layup at the Jayhawk end and less than a minute later, Boyd knocked in a jumper to put Kansas ahead, 18-10, which would be the largest Jayhawk lead of the game. Although pulling down several rebounds and closing in on the Jayhawks, Oklahoma State’s efforts were brought to a halt when junior guard Natalie Knight knocked in a three-point shot.
The Jayhawks struggled defensively and allowed the Cowgirls to tie the game going into the final media timeout of the first 20 minutes. Gonzalez answered Oklahoma State’s determination by making another shot from behind the arc. This inspired Boyd to hit a three of her own less than two minutes later. A long jumper by the freshman at the buzzer made the score 34-28 to end the half with the Jayhawks on top.
In the first half, Gonzalez led the Jayhawks with eight points, while Boyd and Gardner both pulled down 4 rebounds. Kansas shot 41 percent from the field compared to Oklahoma State’s 39 percent in the first 20 minutes. Kansas is only the third team this season to lead OSU at the half.
The Cowgirls came out strong in the second half hitting their first three shots, including a three-point basket by senior guard Tiffany Bias. Now only ahead by one, Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson called for a timeout.
After the break, Gardner was fouled and completed a three-point play that initiated a 9-2 run to help the Jayhawks to a 45-37 lead. During the run, Gardner knocked in four points and grabbed four rebounds.
Donohue ignited a 9-4 run for OSU to reclaim the lead for the first time since the first few minutes of the contest.
Both Oklahoma State and Kansas continued to answer each other’s baskets late into the second half with neither team able to pull ahead. The Cowgirls found a spark needed to seal the win late in the game with a 9-3 run to defeat the Jayhawks, 64-56.
Kansas will travel to Manhattan, Kan., to face in-state rival, Kansas State, on Jan. 25, inside Bramlage Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.
KANSAS STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER): Fr. Jada Brown (5/5), Sr. CeCe Harper (14/35), Fr. Keyla Morgan (9/9), Jr. Chelsea Gardner (18/46) and Jr. Natalie Knight (19/72)
• Makes the Jayhawks 1-3 against opponents ranked in the top 10 during the 2013-14 season and 3-25 against top-10 teams under Bonnie Henrickson.
• Makes KU 1-4 during the 2013-14 season, when playing a team ranked in the top 25, and 13-60 all-time under Henrickson, when playing a ranked foe.
• Makes Kansas’ all-time record 766-543.
• Makes the Jayhawks’ all-time conference record 233-241.
• Makes KU’s all-time Big 12 record to 110-173 and 53-102 in conference play under Henrickson.
• Gives the Jayhawks a 31-28 advantage in the all-time series with Oklahoma State.
• Makes Kansas 398-154 all-time in Allen Fieldhouse and 119-55 at home under Henrickson.
• Makes Henrickson’s record 167-145 at KU and 325-207 overall.
• Makes KU to 25-53 under Henrickson during the month of January.
• Makes the Jayhawks 1-5 when playing on Wednesday during the 2013-14 season and 44-45 when playing on Wednesday under Henrickson.
• After Oklahoma State scored the game’s first five points, the Jayhawks recorded the next seven points, to take their first lead of the game, 7-5, with 15:29 left in the first half.
• With the game knotted at seven, KU went on a 7-0 run to double up the Cowgirls, with 12:43 left in the first half.
• OSU cut the Kansas lead to one, 29-28, with 1:35 left in the first half, but the Jayhawks closed out the first half with five-straight points, including a buzzer-beating jumper from freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez, to give KU a six-point lead, 34-28, at the break.
• The Kansas halftime advantage marks just the third time this season that Oklahoma State has trailed after the first 20 minutes.
• The Kansas bench recorded 23 points, marking the ninth time this season that the Jayhawk reserves have scored at least 20 points.
• Junior Chelsea Gardner scored the Jayhawks first five points of the second half, capped off by a three-point play, with 17:48 left in the game. The DeSoto, Texas, native finished the contest with 15 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals for her sixth double-double of the 2013-14 season and second in as many games. Gardner has posted back-to-back double-doubles twice this season and has a total of 11 double-doubles in her career.
• Senior CeCe Harper knocked in three points the old-fashioned way for her first bucket of the game, with 16:18 left to play in the first half. The San Antonio, Texas, native finished the game with 13 points and tied a career-high with seven rebounds, matching her total against Lamar (11/25/11).
• Freshman Caelynn Manning-Allen tied a season-high with two blocked shots. The Chicago, Ill., native has recorded two blocks in a game, three times this season, with the previous one coming against SIU-Edwardsville (11/13/13).
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