Kansas Stays Hot; Downs Iowa State, 61-56
AMES, Iowa – For the first time in nine years, Kansas went into Ames and knocked off Iowa State on the road, 61-56, to extended its win streak to three games. The Jayhawk victory on Wednesday night inside Hilton Coliseum ended a 10-game win streak for the Cyclones at home.
It once again came down to the final seconds on the clock. A pair of clutch free throws from senior guard Natalie Knight gave the Jayhawks a three-point advantage with 13 seconds remaining and would force the Cyclones to shoot a three in an attempt at sending the game into overtime. Instead, senior forward Chelsea Gardner pulled down the board on the three-point attempt and was fouled. Gardner headed to the line and sank both of her free throws to increase Kansas’ lead to two-possessions and sealed the victory with three seconds before the clock would expire.
Gardner led the way for KU for the third game in row, posting her 24th-career double-double and sixth double-double this season with 23 points and 11 rebounds. The DeSoto, Texas native has netted 20 or more points eight times this season, including the past three contests. Fellow classmates Asia Boyd and Knight contributed 15 and 11 points, respectively. Three or more Jayhawks have posted double digit efforts in 15 of Kansas’ 21 games.
Kansas (12-9, 3-5) shot 41 percent from the field with a 23-for-55 mark. After shooting only 33 percent in the first half, the Jayhawks came back and shot well-above average, 52 percent (13-for-25), in the second frame. The late rally highlights include four three-point shots and a 9-for-12 mark from the charity line that helped seal the victory. The Jayhawks also outscored the Cyclones 39-32 in the final 20 minutes to head back to Lawrence with the win.
At the helm of Iowa State’s (14-5, 5-3) offense was sophomore guard Seanna Johnson, who scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Senior guard Nikki Moody chalked up 13 points, while junior guard Kidd Blaskowsky added 11 points and nine rebounds. After making 3-for-5 (60 percent) from beyond the arc, the Cyclones were held 4-for-11 (36 percent) in the second half.
The clock read 17:11 before the Cyclones were able to connect a shot, but they quickly matched the four points Kansas had already put up on the board. Kansas allowed Iowa State to take over the lead, but not for long. The Jayhawks fought back and kept ahold of its advantage into the halfway point of the first frame, 15-12.
The score remained the same as both teams struggled to establish momentum. In fact, both the Jayhawks and Cyclones were averaging just 39 percent from the field behind a three-minute scoring drought. Iowa State broke the silence for the two teams and tied the score yet again.
A much-needed change of pace for KU came from Boyd when she drained a three that sparked a 7-2 run. ISU answered with momentum of its own and managed to tie the game yet again. The Cyclones took control in the final seconds of the first half due to a pair of free throws. KU was unable to reply before halftime and trailed ISU, 24-22.
Despite Kansas’ disadvantage going into the break, Gardner was not disappointing with an astounding 6-for-7 mark from the field and leading all scorers with 12 points. Collectively, the Jayhawks were held to 33 percent from the field after going 10-for-30, while the Cyclones posted a 9-for-21 mark (43 percent). However, Kansas kept control of the ball with only three turnovers in the first 20 minutes. Iowa State posted 11, which Kansa took advantage of netting 11 points off ISU turnovers.
Strong out of the gate, the Cyclones posted a 6-0 run to start the second half and built their first substantial lead of the game. ISU would extend its advantage to as much as eight (34-26), but Kansas netted consecutive shots behind the arc, which helped the Jayhawks come back within four.
Although the two teams battled back and forth and both teams took turns making baskets, Iowa State still averaged a seven-point lead over Kansas throughout the second half. Mostly as the result of a strong three-point shooting effort, already posting seven shots beyond the arc, four of which were in the final frame.
A wide-open shot at three-point range from Knight brought Kansas within three, the closest they had been since the beginning of the half. Just a few seconds later, Knight hit another three and tied the game 49-49. A traditional three-point play by Gardner put the Jayhawks ahead. Then the same story of trading baskets continued deep into the final minutes.
A layup by Seanna Johnson with only 25 seconds left put the Cyclones within one. ISU resulted to taking its chances on the Jayhawks missing free throws, a strategy that wouldn’t prove successful. As the remaining time ticked away, the Cyclones were unable to pull ahead as KU ran away with the victory, 61-56.
- Kansas’ win marked the first time the Jayhawks defeated the Cyclones in Ames since the 2005-06 season and ended a 10-game win streak at home for Iowa State.
- After shooting only 33 percent in the first half, the Jayhawks came back and shot a well-above average 52 percent (13-for-25) in the second frame. The late rally highlights include four three-point shots and a 9-for-12 mark from the charity line.
- With 23 points, senior forward Chelsea Gardner posted her eighth game with 20 or more points and 17th game with 10 or more points this season. She ended the night with 11 rebounds and her 24th-career double-double and sixth double-double this season.
- Senior guard Natalie Knight registered her 17th game in the 2014-15 campaign in double figures with 11 points.
- With 13 points, senior guard Asia Boyd recorded her ninth game this season with 10 or more points.
The Jayhawks continue their road stand when they travel to Baylor on Feb. 1. The game will air on FSN and tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.
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