Kansas Falls in Home Finale, 87-79
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In her Allen Fieldhouse finale, senior CeCe Harper recorded her second career double-double with 14 points and 10 assists as Kansas fell to Iowa State, 87-79, on Saturday night.
Junior forward Chelsea Gardner led the offensive charge with a game-high 19 points along with 10 rebounds. Gardner’s 13th double-double of the season and 18th of her career couldn’t propel Kansas (12-17, 5-12 Big 12) past a balanced Iowa State team (20-8, 9-8 Big 12) that saw five players score in double-figures.
Juniors Asia Boyd and Natalie Knight also recorded double figures on the night. Boyd landed 18 points and nine rebounds, while Knight dropped in six baskets from beond the arc for the third time on the season and gave her 18 points. Kansas out-rebounded Iowa State 37-21 and shot 49 percent from the floor, but ultimately turnovers slowed the Jayhawks momentum.
Iowa State benefited from shooting 56 percent from the field while having five players score in double figures including four players scoring more than 16 points. Junior guard Nikki Moody led the Cyclones with 18 points after Iowa State controlled the ball inside the paint with 44 points in the game coming down low. Iowa State forced 19 Jayhawk turnovers and converted 24 points from the KU errors.
After the Cyclones hung four quick points on KU to begin the game, the Jayhawks reeled off seven straight to take the lead with 17:35 to play in the first half. From that point both teams would continue to trade buckets in a back-and-forth affair registering four ties and three lead changes in the first 11 minutes of play.
Hot shooting from the perimeter, particularly from three-point land helped Kansas counteract Iowa State’s potent attack in the paint. The Jayhawks connected on 5-of-8 three’s helping to ward off the Cyclone’s 24-8 advantage down low with 4:45 left in the first half. Nearing the end of the first half, both teams were shooting well over 50 percent, Iowa State was hitting 55.6 percent of its shots (15-27) while Kansas was connecting on 63.2 percent of its attempts (12-19).
The only thing keeping the Jayhawks from building up a lead were the numerous turnovers plaguing the team. KU committed 10 turnovers in the first half leading to nine Iowa State points.
Tied at 30 with 4:54 left in the first half and her team needing a little bit of an offensive spark, Gardner hit a variety of jump shots to cap off eight-straight individual points while boosting Kansas to a one point halftime advantage over the Cyclones, 38-37.
The end of the first half became an indication for how Gardner was going to perform in the second half. The DeSoto, Texas native came out of the intermission with a scoring mentality dropping in seven more points just five minutes into the second half to give KU a 48-44 lead. After a Kansas turnover on an inbound pass Iowa State guard Jada Buckley converted the turnover into a three-point play after successfully making a layup and free throw tying the score, 48-48.
Iowa State, who had been cold from three in the first half found its range near the midway point of the second period hitting back-to-back triples to take a six point lead, 55-49, with just over 11 minutes to play.
Kansas found success cleaning up on the glass, nearly doubling up Iowa State on the boards (33-17). KU’s 10 offensive rebounds midway through the half gave the Jayhawks second chances to kick out to a hot-handed Knight who gave Iowa State a little bit of its own medicine from three-point range. Beginning with 9:40 left to play Knight drilled three in a row from deep, the third of which brought the Jayhawks back within one point 65-64.
Kansas never seemed to be able to get back over the hump and regain the lead. After a steal and a layup in transition with slightly over four minutes to play cut the Cyclone lead down to one point, 71-70, a poised Iowa State team rebuilt the lead back up to four points, 76-72, by the next media timeout.
One point is as close as the Jayhawks could get to reclaiming the lead.
Iowa State buckled down and with the Cyclone lead at four, Buckley drove the lane and finished a layup through contact. Buckley would make the free throw extending the lead to seven points, 81-74, with 1:46 to go. Kansas had to resort to fouling in a hope to extend the game, but clutch free throw shooting (17-18 overall) by Iowa State gave the Cyclones the victory 87-79.
At the conclusion of the game, Kansas honored it’s senior class of Harper and Markisha Hawkins. Hawkins finished the night with five points, while Harper scored 14 and collected her second double-double.
Kansas will face off against West Virginia on Tuesday in the concluding game of the 2013-14 regular season. Tipoff is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. from Morgantown, W. Va.
KANSAS STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER): Jr. Asia Boyd (13/13), Sr. CeCe Harper (23/44), Sr. Markisha Hawkins (11/17), Jr. Chelsea Gardner (27/55) and Jr. Natalie Knight (28/81)
• Makes Kansas’ all-time record 769-550.
• Makes the Jayhawks’ all-time conference record 236-248.
• Makes KU’s all-time Big 12 record 113-180 and 56-109 in conference play under head coach Bonnie Henrickson.
• Extends Iowa State’s win streak over the Jayhawks to four and brings them closer to KU in the all-time series, 45-32.
• Makes Kansas’ all-time record 396-159 when playing in Allen Fieldhouse and 124-58 under Henrickson.
• Makes Henrickson’s record 170-152 at KU and 328-214 overall.
• After Iowa State scored the game’s first four points, the Jayhawks answered with seven-straight to take a, 7-4, lead with 17:35 left in the first half.
• Kansas shot 65.2 percent (15-for23) from the field in the first half, which is the second highest percentage they have recorded in a first half this year. The Jayhawks highest percentage in the first half came against Creighton (11/17/13), where they shot 75 percent (15-for-20).
• The Jayhawks grabbed 13 offensive rebounds in the second half, compared to just 10 defensive rebounds. The team recorded 15 offensive rebounds for the game, which is the most since they grabbed 16 at Texas Tech (2/1/14).
• Kansas went the entire game without recording a blocked shot for the first time this season. Its previous game-low of two happened four times, the most recent at Texas Tech (2/1/14).
• Iowa State scored 87 points against the Jayhawks’ defense, which is the highest total they have given up all season. The previous high was 81 against Oklahoma (2/9/14).
• Junior guard Asia Boyd recorded a three-point play with 14:09 left in the first half. The Detroit, Mich., native finished the game with 18 points and nine rebounds and tied her career-high with seven field goals, which she recorded six times, most recent at Iowa State (2/15/14).
• Freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez recorded career-highs in rebounds (five), assists (four) and steals (three), to eclipse her previous highs of four, three and two, respectively.
• Junior forward Chelsea Gardner scored the last eight points of the first half for the Jayhawks and finished with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds for 13th double-double of the season and 18th of her career. Gardner’s 13 double-doubles this season are the most since Shyra Holden had 14 in the 1978-79 season. Gardner’s 19 points also extended her streak of double-figure scoring games to 14.
• Senior guard CeCe Harper finished the game with 14 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for her second double-double of the season and career.
• Junior Natalie Knight knocked in six shots from downtown on 10 attempts, marking seven of the last eight games that she has shot 50 percent or better from beyond the three-point line. Saturday’s game marks the third time this season Knight has hit six shots from deep, with the other coming against Oklahoma (2/9/14) and at TCU (1/8/14). The Olathe, Kan., native is now within two threes from sixth place on KU’s single-season three pointers list. Knight recorded all 40 minutes against the Cyclones, marking the seventh time this season she has played the entire game.
• Saturday’s game marked the last game in Allen Fieldhouse for seniors CeCe Harper and Markisha Hawkins.
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