Kansas Unable To Overcome Oklahoma, Falls, 81-71
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior guard Natalie Knight poured in a career-high 25 points, but Kansas couldn’t stop an aggressive Sooners squad in an 81-71 loss in the annual Jayhawks For A Cure game in Allen Fieldhouse Sunday afternoon.
In her third-career game with 20+ points, Knight led the Jayhawks making 6-of-9 shots from three-point range. She was one of four Jayhawks in double figures as both junior forward Chelsea Gardner scored 10 and senior guard Markisha Hawkins scored 16, which tied her career-high. Kansas (11-13, 4-8) shot 45 percent from the field.
Senior guard Aaryn Ellenberg led the Sooners with 19 points and four rebounds. Ellenberg was one of four Sooners with 10 or more points. Fellow classmate Nicole Griffin had a double-double with 10 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. Oklahoma (15-9, 6-5) shot a 48 field-goal percentage and only missed two shots from the free throw line.
Three minutes into the game, Knight made a lay-up and put the Jayhawks up on the board first. Kansas quickly went up 4-0 with a jumper by Hawkins. Oklahoma answered by making two unanswered shots within a minute. Knight clinched the lead for just a while longer when she knocked in a trey, making the score, 4-7.
The Sooners found a spark after sophomore guard Nicole Kornet sank a pair of free throws. Oklahoma followed with a defensive stop and took its first lead of the game when senior guard Morgan Hook made a three-point shot and freshman guard Gioya Carter answered with a quick lay-up, making the score 11-7.
The Sooner lead continued to widen into the lower half of the first frame. The Jayhawks would not give up easily, with 6:01 left to play before the break, Hawkins drove to the basketmaking a lay-up and was fouled. At the line, she completed a three-point play and put the Jayhawks within four, 26-22. After the Jayhawks held the Sooners scoreless for three minutes, Ellenberg dished in a lay-up and the Sooners held onto their lead.
Knight hit a shot behind the arc and ignited the crowed to drive the Jayhawks into the final minutes of the half. In the final seconds, Kansas narrowed the lead to two with a lay-up by Lamaria Cole and the Jayhawks headed into the locker room at half time trailing 31-29.
Kansas was quick to attack the basket at the start of the second half as Knight knocked in her fourth three-point shot of the game and gave Kansas its first lead since early in the first half. Oklahoma answered with a lay-up by Griffin and went on a 7-0 run. Knight ended the Sooner run and continued her hot three-point shooting with her fifth trey of the afternoon. Her shot shortened the Oklahoma lead to four, 42-38.
Oklahoma fought to go back up by as much as nine until Knight hit yet another three-pointer and got the crowd back into the game with 10 minutes left to play in the game. With energy Knight dished the ball to Hawkins who knocked in a three-point shot of her own. Hawkins would go on to put up another two points within a minute by driving the lane and knocking in a lay-up.
Refusing to relinquish their lead, Oklahoma answered nearly every Jayhawk shot with points of their own. At the 6:39 mark, Oklahoma hit back-to-back three-point shots and pulled away 66-55. After a Kansas time out, Hawkins hit a pair of free throws, but Oklahoma knocked in three unanswered shots and expanded its lead to 15.
Freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez made two jumpers in a row to lessen the Sooner advantage to nine points, but Oklahoma closed out the final minutes and went on to win 81-71.
Kansas will host its second home game in a row on Wednesday, Feb. 12, in historic Allen Fieldhouse. The first tip is set for 7 p.m.
KANSAS STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER): Fr. Jada Brown (10/10), Sr. CeCe Harper (19/40), Sr. Markisha Hawkins (7/13), Jr. Chelsea Gardner (23/51) and Jr. Natalie Knight (24/77)
• Makes Kansas’ all-time record 768-546.
• Makes the Jayhawks’ all-time conference record 235-244.
• Makes KU’s all-time Big 12 record to 112-176 and 55-105 in conference play under head coach Bonnie Henrickson.
• Gives Oklahoma a 32-29 advantage in the all-time series over the Jayhawks.
• Makes Kansas 395-157 all-time when playing in Allen Fieldhouse and 123-56 under Henrickson when playing at home.
• Makes Henrickson’s record 169-148 at KU and 327-210 overall.
• Makes Kansas 1-2 during the month of February. KU is 29-43 all-time under Henrickson when playing in the year’s shortest month.
• Makes KU 5-3 during the 2013-14 season when playing on Sunday and 51-26 when playing on Wednesday under Henrickson.
• The Jayhawks finished the game with 71 points, marking back-to-back times they have lost a game in which they scored at least 70. The Jayhawks had won the previous eight games when scoring more than 70 and are 8-2 during the 2013-14 season when reaching at least 70 points. Kansas is 112-15 under Henrickson when scoring 70 or more.
• Kansas swatted four shots for the second game in a row, and have blocked at least four shots in three of the last four contests.
• The Jayhawks drained 9-of-19 three pointers in the game for a 47.4 clip from long range. It was the sixth time this season that Kansas has shot greater than 40 percent from behind the three-point line.
• The Kansas defense held the Sooners scoreless for the first four minutes of the game.
• After an Oklahoma layup with 7:36 left in the first half, the Jayhawks held the Sooners scoreless for more than three minutes, until the 4:25 mark.
• With the Jayhawks trailing by nine, 31-22, Natalie Knight sparked a 7-0 run with five-straight points to pull Kansas within two, 31-29, with 43 seconds left in the first half. The run continued into the second half with another three from Knight to give the Jayhawks a one-point lead, 32-31, with 19:51 left in the game.
• Junior Chelsea Gardner reached double-figures in points for the 20th time this season with 10 on Sunday. The DeSoto, Texas, native, tied her career best with two assists, matching her previous total at Texas (1/15/14) earlier this season. Gardner also redirected three shots and has at least three blocks in three of the last four games.
• Junior Natalie Knight scored 10 of the Jayhawks first 16 points on her way to a career-high 25 points to best her previous mark of 21 against Iowa State (1/30/13). Knight reached her career-best, with a career-high nine field goals to pass her previous mark of eight against Iowa State (1/30/13) and tied her career-best six three-point makes, which she set earlier this season at TCU (1/8/14).
• Knight shot 66.7 percent (6-of-9) from three-point range, the ninth time this season and third straight game with a clip higher than 50 percent. For her career, Knight has made 95 of 252 treys and her 37.6 percentage from beyond the arc is fifth on the Kansas career charts.
• Knight’s double figure effort was her fifth straight and 15th of the year. The experienced guard has been hot lately with double figures in eight of the last 10 games for Kansas.
• Senior Markisha Hawkins scored three points the old-fashioned way with 6:02 left in the first half on her way to 16 points to tie her career best, which she previously set against Central Michigan (11/28/13). Hawkins was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line to pass her career high of six, which she recorded twice, previously against Central Michigan (11/28/13). Defensively, the Little Rock, Ark., native, tied her career-highs with two steals and one block, matching her totals against Texas Southern (12/12/13) and at TCU (1/8/14), respectively. Hawkins has four double-digit efforts this season.
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