Kansas Comes Up Short At Oklahoma State, 80-76
STILLWATER, Okla. – Three Jayhawks posted 10 or more points, including senior guard Natalie Knight, who had her second-straight game with 20 or more points, as Kansas dropped a another battle in Stillwater, 80-76, Saturday night inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
It was a one-point game with just under five minutes to play. The contest had been close for the whole 35 minutes leading up to this point, as neither team ever led by double digits. After 10 lead changes, Kansas couldn’t seal the final lead, as Oklahoma State constructed a four-point advantage to end the contest.
“We have to get people off the glass and we have to get offensive rebounds in this league,” head coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We didn’t have horrific turnovers numbers, but they only had six, so we’re minus eight on turnovers and minus nine on offensive rebounds. It’s a game of possessions and numbers. If you score 76 points on the road, you have a pretty good chance to win, but we just couldn’t finish. We forced a tough game.”
Kansas (13-15, 4-11) shot above average with 48 percent of shots connecting from the field; good for a 24-for-50 mark. Two Jayhawks joined Knight, who ended with 20 points, in the double-figure club. Following the Olathe, Kansas native was senior forward Chelsea Gardner with 18 points, while Freshman Lauren Aldridge was close behind Gardner’s mark with 16 points on the night.
Oklahoma State (18-8, 8-7) had four Cowgirls in double figures, including two with 20 or more, marking the first time a Kansas opponent has accomplished the feat since the Jayhawks played Minnesota on Nov. 20, 2013. Senior forward Liz Donohoe led with 22 points, while junior guard Brittney Martin had 20 points and 10 rebounds, which is good for her fifth double-double this season. Senior center LaShawn Jones was close to the 20-point mark with 19 points
Both teams immediately entered into a shooting battle, resulting in three ties in just the first five minutes of the game. To the Jayhawks’ dismay, Kansas committed four quick turnovers, which dulled the momentum for KU and allowed Oklahoma State to pull away just slightly by three. Kansas still attacked the basket when it got the chance and halted any chance of a Cowgirl run.
The battle continued, as neither team was able to build an advantage that tallied more than four. That was until Martin completed a traditional three-point play to put OSU ahead by five. Kansas fought back but its efforts were stopped short due to a scoring drought that lasted more than three minutes. The Cowgirls took advantage of Kansas’ struggling offense and sparked a 6-0 run to put OSU ahead 28-20.
The Jayhawks roared back with a 9-2 run of their own and forced a 2-for-9 shooting effort from the Cowgirls during the last five minutes of the game. Try as it might, KU wasn’t completely able to pass the 8-point slump from the OSU run and were down 37-31 at the break.
Martin, who averages 13.3 points per game, was already in double digits and led all scorers in the first frame with 12 points, while senior guard Asia Boyd was at the helm for Kansas with nine points. The Jayhawks shot better than the Cowgirls with a 47 percent completion rate from the field, but took less shots than Oklahoma State with a 9-for-19 mark. On the other hand, OSU chalked up a 15-for-38 effort to bring, making 40 percent of shots taken.
Kansas came out hungry in the second half and quickly sparked an 8-0 run to make it a tie ball game. The Cowgirls returned the favor with a scoring run of their own and ended the Kansas surge by putting up nine unanswered points, to establish their largest lead of the game, 48-39. KU entered into a scoring deficiency during this time, attempting five shots before it could get a bucket to fall.
The momentum continued to change directions, as the Jayhawks followed their scoring silence by chalking up eight points that the Cowgirls were unable to answer. OSU suffered a four-minute scoring drought of its own and allowed Kansas to come within one of its advantage. A three-pointer from Knight gave Kansas its first lead since the first half.
The fight continued and OSU took back the lead and added a six-point cushion over KU. Time dwindled and Kansas fought to stay close, but the Cowgirls stayed hot from the field and Kansas went down by seven points with less than 30 seconds to play. Oklahoma State’s lead proved to be too much for the Jayhawks to overcome as KU fell, 80-76.
- Senior guard Natalie Knight led the Jayhawks with 20 points, second-straight game to score 20 or more, and tallied her 22nd game this season to reach double figures.
- Senior forward Chelsea Gardner added 18 total points for Kansas and logged her 24th contest of the 2014-15 campaign in double figures; her sixth-straight.
- Freshman guard Lauren Aldridge posted double figures for the 11th time this season with 16 points against the Cowgirls.
Kansas will host Kansas State at home in Allen Fieldhouse for the second part of the Sunflower Showdown on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.