Kansas Sends Seniors Off With A Bang, Downing Iowa State 68-64
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Reserve senior forward Bunny Williams earned her first start of the year and within two minutes of the game’s beginning, with the score knotted at zero, snatched an offensive rebound in the post and then kissed the ball softly off of the glass giving Kansas a lead it would never look back on over the next 38 minutes. The Jayhawks sent their quartet of four-year members off with a victory in their home finale, beating Iowa State, 68-64, Monday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
“Bunny was flying around and blocked a shot, got an offensive rebound and really guarded,” head coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “She did a great job but everybody fed off of that and that’s what seniors should do, she had tears running down her face in the starting lineup. She blocked a shot and the bench was going nuts, it was good for everybody.”
Senior forward Chelsea Gardner gave yet another signature performance everyone has grown accustomed to over the previous four seasons leading the floor with 25 points and 12 rebounds – good for her 27th-career double-double. Defensively, Gardner added five blocks giving her 17 rejections over the last five games. Freshman guards Lauren Aldridge and Chayla Cheadle followed the seniors’ lead, each adding 10 points apiece. Kansas (15-16, 6-12) finished by shooting 37 percent from field goal range behind a 22-for-59 effort. The Jayhawks were strong on defense, outrebounding the Cyclones, 43-34.
Iowa State (18-11, 9-9) connected on 41 percent of its attempts with a 24-for-59 mark. Senior guard Nikki Moody, who chalked up 24 points, drove the Cyclones’ offensive efforts. Sophomore guard Seanna Johnson followed her by adding 16 total points. Bonnie Henrickson congratulates
Terriell Bradley on her game-sealing three
with 33 seconds to play.
“I’ve said it and I’m sure they’re tired of hearing it but it’s a possession game,” Henrickson said. “If we get enough shots or we’re within three or four we have a chance. Iowa State is a team where you have to be able to defend the three. We’ve always felt like if you don’t let them shoot as many then they can’t make as many.”
Kansas started strong with momentum coming from two blocks and a quick six-point lead in the opening minutes. The Jayhawks held the Cyclones to a 2-for-9 mark in the first seven minutes. Suddenly the momentum slipped away from KU, as it entered a scoring drought that lasted over three minutes, which allowed Iowa State to go on a 6-0 run to tie the game.
Iowa State was pushed into a three-minute scoring silence of its own, which helped the Jayhawks to a 10-2 scoring effort over the Cyclones, giving them back an outright lead, 21-13. To this point in the game, four different Jayhawks netted shots behind the arc for a 4-for-6 effort, ultimately adding to the Kansas lead, which was now 11 points.
ISU fought back against the Jayhawks, going shot-for-shot with Kansas deep into the first frame. Kansas started to struggle offensively, missing four shots in a row and allowing Iowa State to lessen the KU advantage. In all, they missed six of their last seven to end the half. Yet, Kansas still had the lead at the break 31-25.
Gardner and Moody were tied for leading scorers in the first 20 minutes, each with 11 points. The marks were even from the field, as well. Both Iowa State and Kansas had an 11-for-26 shooting effort from the field to equal a 42 percent shooting effort. Kansas was 100 percent from the free-throw line thus far, 5-for-5.
The first minutes of the second half were characterized by a scoring battle between the two teams. Then, the pace slowed, as both teams took a tumble on offense. At one point, Kansas missed 9-of-11 shots from the field, while ISU was also cold and missed six shots in a row.
Every time Iowa State attempted to go on a scoring run, Kansas was there to end the energy. Especially by quieting the Cyclones following a five-point effort in two-seconds with Jayhawk free throws at the other end. KU held steady, yet ISU managed to decrease the Kansas lead to four, 50-46.
Three Kansas turnovers in just over a minute of action opened the door for ISU to come within one. The Jayhawks refused to give up in the charge against Iowa State, but allowed the Cyclones to stay close behind as time dwindled. With just under a minute to play, the scoreboard read: 58-56.
Bradley drained a shot from behind the arc just as the shot clock was getting ready to expire to ignite the crowd and give the Jayhawks a four-point advantage with 25 seconds left of action. Iowa State resulted to fouling the Jayhawks in an attempt to gain more time on offense. This lead to Gardner and Knight taking multiple trips to the free throw. Unfortunately for the Cyclones, Kansas was boasting an 80 percent shooting effort from the charity line. The trend only continued as Kansas took home its second-straight win, 68-64.
- Kansas’ sweep over Iowa State is the first time that the Jayhawks have gone 2-0 against the Cyclones since 2006.
- Senior forward Chelsea Gardner tallied 25 points against the Cyclones to post her 27th game in double figures and her 11th with 20 or more points. In nine straight games, the DeSoto, Texas native has accomplished the 10-plus feat.
- Freshman guard Lauren Aldridge ended the night by chalking up her 13th game in double digits with 10 points against Iowa State. She also recorded 10th game in the last 13 to dish out five or more assists.
- Freshman guard Chayla Cheadle added 10 points for Kansas, scoring 10 or more points for the first time since the beginning of February. Her efforts tonight marked the eighth time she has finished in double digits.
Kansas travels to Dallas, Texas for the 2015 Big 12 Championships March 6-9. Matchups for the championship will be released once the conference slate concludes.
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