TCU Outlasts Kansas, 73-67
FT. WORTH, Texas – A career high fell for senior guard Natalie Knight as she chalked up 29 points against TCU, but ultimately Kansas’ rally was cut short and KU was unable to overcome the Horned Frogs, 73-67, inside the University Recreation Center
An 18-point deficit was too much for Kansas to handle despite a strong second-half fight, where Kansas cut TCU’s lead to 2 points in the final minutes. The Jayhawks shot 54 percent in the second half, while holding the Horned Frogs to just 43 percent. KU outscored TCU in the second half 46-37 and saw a 12-point performance from senior forward Chelsea Gardner, who finished the night with 20 points. Knight tallied 18 points in the final 20 minutes to solidify her career-best performance.
Behind Gardner and Knight’s stellar second frame efforts, the Jayhawks nearly came from behind to down TCU on its home court. Back-to-back layups from Gardner narrowed the Horned Frogs lead, but it was a pair of free throws from senior guard Asia Boyd that allowed KU to close in on TCU and trail by 2 with just under a minute to play. However, the Horned Frogs halted KU’s comeback and outlasted the Jayhawks for the victory.
At the helm for the Jayhawk offense was Knight’s, 29 points, but Gardner posted a total of 20 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double with nine rebounds. Gardner posted her ninth game this season with 20 or more points. Kansas (13-14, 4-10) finished shooting 47 percent from the field with a 23-for-49 effort.
TCU (15-10, 7-7) ended the night shooting 46 percent from the field with a 27-for-59 mark. Junior guard Zahna Medley (19) and sophomore guard Veja Hamilton (18) led the Horned Frogs with double-digit scoring efforts. Senior guard Natalie Ventress was also in double figures with 14 points.
Kansas’ defense didn’t allow TCU to attempt a shot until two minutes had passed, it was scoreless for even longer. The first points from the floor for the Horned Frogs weren’t allowed until 14:24 and they committed six turnovers in that amount of time. In the meantime, the Jayhawks hit four of their first seven shots and posted a 10-2 scoring advantage over TCU.
The Horned Frogs bounced back quickly sparked a 17-2 run, overcoming the Jayhawks lead. In the midst of the TCU run, Kansas slumped into a four-minute scoring silence. KU struggled to keep ahold of the ball and surpassed TCU’s turnover mark of six during the Horned Frogs’ domination.
Kansas finally got shots to fall, but TCU was there to answer the Jayhawks’ efforts. The Jayhawks allowed TCU to build a 15-point lead before time expired in the first half. Thus far, TCU forced 12 Kansas turnovers that resulted in 15 points for the Horned Frogs. In the waning minutes of the first half, the Horned Frogs managed an 8-0 run and forced another four-minute scoring drought from the Jayhawks to take a 36-21 advantage over Kansas.
Knight led all scorers in the first half with 11 points, but TCU’s Hamilton was close behind with 10 points. Kansas struggled offensively shooting only 39 percent from the field with a 9-for-23 mark. The Horned Frogs completed 48 percent of their shots from the field, going 14-for-29.
The Horned Frogs picked right back up where the left off to start the second half, widening their lead to as much as 18. Knight came to Kansas’ rescue with back-to-back shots from long range. Unfortunately, the Jayhawks still struggled to connect shots after her spurt of success, missing three attempts in a row.
The two teams entered into a scoring battle, as KU attempted to chip away at the TCU lead. Knight’s career-best performance and Gardner’s second-half surge aided in Kansas’ comeback in the latter half of the second frame. The Jayhawks closed the gap and narrowed TCU’s lead behind the hot shooting of Knight and Gardner, who each shot 66 percent from the field in the second half.
The fight continued for Kansas, dealing with a 61-55 mark, with less than five minutes to play. The intensity picked up and the Jayhawks were still shaving away the Horned Frog advantage, hitting 8-of-10 shots in the final minutes. Kansas went on a 6-0 run with under a minute to play, but Medley halted the rally with a tip-in as the Jayhawks were unable to complete the rally and fell, 73-67.
- Senior guard Natalie Knight ended with a career-high 29 points and tallied her 21st game this season in double digits. It also marked her second-straight double-digit effort. The Olathe, Kansas native surpassed her previous career high of 25, set against Oklahoma on Feb. 9, 2014.
- Chalking up 20 points, senior forward Chelsea Gardner posted her 23rd game during the 2014-15 campaign in double figures and ninth with 20 or more points.
- Tonight’s game marked the first time this season and since March 7, 2014 against K-State that two Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points in a single contest.
- The Jayhawks shot 54 percent in the second half, while holding the Horned Frogs to just 43 percent. Kansas also outscored TCU, 46-37, in the second half.
- The Jayhawk defense held junior forward Chelsea Prince to just five points, despite averaging 11.1 per game.
The Jayhawks continue their road swing on Saturday, Feb. 21 at Oklahoma State. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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