Kansas Falls in Big 12 Quarterfinals to Baylor, 81-47
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Junior forward Chelsea Gardner followed up her record-setting first round performance with a game-high 21 points as Kansas fell, 81-47, against No. 9 Baylor Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Gardner, a DeSoto, Texas, native also added nine rebounds and a block for Kansas (13-19, 5-13 Big 12) against top-seeded Baylor (27-4, 16-2 Big 12), who avenged its loss to the Jayhawks in January.
Freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez was the only other Jayhawk to finish in double figures, scoring 10 points and tying her career-high with five rebounds, matching her total against Iowa State (3/1/14). Playing in the last game of her Kansas career, senior guard CeCe Harper dished out seven assists to give her 173 for the season and move her into a tie for fourth-place on Kansas’ all-time list for assists in a single season.
Baylor was led by freshman forward Nina Davis, who scored a team-high 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Lady Bears. Big 12 Player of the Year Odyssey Sims scored 15 points and grabbed three rebounds, while freshman Khadijiah Cave was the only other Lady Bear in double figures with 10, for a Baylor team that received an offensive contribution from 10 different players on its way to the semifinal game.
Looking to avenge their loss to the Jayhawks in Lawrence earlier this season, the Lady Bears came out hot to start the game, connecting on their first three shots to take a, 6-2, lead. Baylor took it inside early, scoring its first 10 points in the lane to taking a 10-4 lead into the first media timeout.
The Lady Bears continued to dominate early on, going on a 10-0 run out of the timeout to extend the lead to 16 and force Kansas to call a timeout with 12:16 remaining. Gardner did everything she could to follow up her performance against Kansas State by scoring the Jayhawks first nine points. The Jayhawks shot just 19 percent over the first 12 minutes of the game.
With 6:18 left in the first half, the Kansas offense finally started to find its rhythm and the Jayhawks went on a 7-1 run to pull within 20, 38-18, with 4:47 left in the first half. A three point play from Sims got the Lady Bears back-on-track and they took a 46-20 lead into the break. Gardner led the Jayhawks with 11 points in the first half.
Baylor continued its run after the break, scoring the first four points before Gonzalez answered with a three. After a BU bucket, the Jayhawks continued to stay hot by scoring the next eight points to cut the deficit to 21 with 13:43 to play. Baylor responded with seven unanswered of its own to widen the margin back to 28 heading into the under 12 media timeout.
The teams traded buckets over the next six minutes, before the Lady Bears put six-straight points together to extend their lead to 32. Over the final six minutes, Baylor maintained its lead, before finally putting the cap on Kansas’ season, 81-47.
KANSAS STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER): Jr. Asia Boyd (16/16), Sr. CeCe Harper (26/47), Fr. Dakota Gonzalez (4/4), Jr. Chelsea Gardner (30/58) and Jr. Natalie Knight (31/84)
• Makes Kansas’ all-time record 770-552.
• Makes the Jayhawks 13-19 all-time in Big 12 Championship games.
• Makes Baylor 21-8 in the all-time series against Kansas.
• Makes Kansas 370-391 all-time when playing on the road and 47-94 under Henrickson away from Allen Fieldhouse.
• Makes Henrickson’s record 171-154 at KU and 329-216 overall.
• Kansas scored just 20 points in the first half, matching their lowest total for a first half this season, which came against Duke (11/30/13).
• The Jayhawks trailed the Lady Bears by 26 after the first 20 minutes, marking their largest halftime deficit of the season, the previous high was 13 against Kansas State (2/26/14).
• Trailing 52-23 with 16:40 to play, the Jayhawks scored eight-straight points to cut the deficit to 52-31 with 13:43 remaining.
• Kansas finished the game with just 47 points, marking the first time in league play that the Jayhawks were held under 50 points. The last time KU finished a game with less than 50 points was against Duke (11/30/13) in the Virgin Islands.
• Baylor scored 81 points against Kansas, which is a tie for the second-largest point total by an opponent this season. The Jayhawks gave up a season high 87 to Iowa State on March 1, and 81 to Oklahoma on Feb. 9.
• Kansas’ eight free throws are the fewest for the Jayhawks in a game since they attempted just four at TCU (1/8/14). KU’s free throw total is the second lowest for the Jayhawks in Big 12 play and the third lowest all season.
• Sophomore guard Lamaria Cole scored five points for the Jayhawks, marking her largest total since she scored nine against Purdue (12/15/13).
• Freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez grabbed five rebounds to tie a career-high, matching her total against Iowa State (3/1/14).
• Junior forward Chelsea Gardner scored the first nine points for Kansas, including a three point play with 9:02 left in the first half. The DeSoto, Texas, native finished with a game-high 21 points, to extend her streak of double-figure scoring games to 16 and give her 29 double-digit scoring efforts for the 2013-14 season. She has scored 20 or more points 10 times this season and 11 times in her career.
• In the final game of her Kansas career, senior guard CeCe Harper dished out seven assists to give her 173 for her career and move her into a tie for fourth place with Lisa Brady (1990) on KU’s all-time single season list.
• Freshman Caelynn Manning-Allen tied her career-high with six points against the Lady Bears. The Chicago, Ill., native has now reached six points three times this season, with the previous one coming against Texas (1/15/14).
Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson
“Well, I mean, defensively didn’t matter what we were in. They just looked at us and said we’re going to rip it and drive on you and offensive rebound and get you in transition. Give them a tremendous amount of credit. They came out and ran a buzz saw and we didn’t have an answer defensively. I thought they were really, really aggressive with us in the first four minutes, got us out of sorts. We had no rhythm, we started dribbling around like crazy and tried to take what we liked to do and they clearly from a scouting report defense played some people and we got exposed a little bit and didn’t take lanes that were available and tried to play one-handed. Give them credit. Obviously they were the more aggressive team from the tip, and we just never got back in it.”
On the future of the program:
“Yeah, we obviously lost three really talented kids last year, and I think when we look back and look at it from a consistency standpoint, we struggled. These two up here, Chelsea and Natalie, were clearly by far the most consistent performers we had on the year. Chelsea, the one thing you look at Chelsea — for each of them I would say Chelsea has got to stay out of foul trouble and Nat needs to be consistently as aggressive as we need her to be. But we had too many guys that were one out of five games played well, will give us something. You can’t do that in this league. I said that, how consistent our returners would need to be, all of them, because we had very little room for error. But if you’re playing consistently and you’re playing aggressively and playing with discipline, there shouldn’t be a lot of error.
But we had so many that were in a different role, obviously, because these two had a different role and I thought executed and performed at a high level, considering how their roles changed. Natalie grew into — I think once she started get being out of the brace, get back to 100 percent, I think actually is playing better now than she ever was before, and Chelsea being able to play at a high level, but we’ve got to have — CeCe was probably the most next consistent in that group, but past that, from a returner standpoint — freshmen are inconsistent, that’s what they are. The thing about a freshman, they’ll become a sophomore. It wasn’t the group of freshmen, it was the returners around them not being consistent enough to sustain the success and the level of play to be successful in this league. I think that’s the most disappointing thing. But you can’t complain about the results you get overwork you didn’t do.
We’ve got to shoot the ball better to get Chelsea some room, you think about that, we’ve got to give her some room to play and we’ve got too many guys that defensively they’ll play in the paint and not guard well. Defensively, we’ve got to get better, tougher, and those things we’ll work on this spring and summer.
I think, from us moving forward about growing the returners and we’ve got a crop of young kids that I really believe will come in and help us.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.