Kansas Drops Overtime Thriller At Creighton 84-81
OMAHA, Neb. – Kansas led Creighton 68-67 with three seconds to play in regulation Monday evening inside D.J. Sokol Arena when freshman guard Lauren Aldridge headed to the free throw line. The freshman from Marshfield, Missouri stepped to the line for two shots with the chance to put the Jayhawks up by three after snaring her only rebound of the game.
Aldridge calmly sank both free throws extending the Jayhawk lead, 70-67, giving her 13 points over a game-high 44 minutes.
Creighton advanced the ball just past midcourt and called a timeout to draw up one last attempt at sending the game to overtime.
Out of the stoppage Creighton guard MC McGrory caught the inbound pass near the top of the key and took one dribble to her left before letting a shot go with a defender in her face. McGrory’s desperation three sailed through the net forcing overtime as time expired, the score knotted at 70.
Despite four Jayhawks scoring in double figures, Kansas was unable to overcome Creighton’s scoring output in extended time as the Jayhawks eventually fell 84-81.
Freshman guard Terriell Bradley reached a new career-high against the Bluejays with 21 points. The Arlington, Texas native shot 6-for-9 from the field and 2-for-4 from behind the arc. Senior guard Natalie Knight tied her season-high with 19 points – all of which came in the second half and overtime, while Aldridge chipped in 13 points. Senior forward Chelsea Gardner fouled out in overtime with 12 points and nine rebounds. Collectively, Kansas shot 45 percent from the field and held Creighton to 40 percent.
“We can’t be so different on the road than we are at home,” head coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “At some point we have to recognize and admit who we are and then play. Everyone can play. That’s the most disappointing thing. We didn’t have toughness and get them off the glass. We have to score on the offensive glass and our seniors have to be great. We’re only going to go as far as they take us.”
All but three of Creighton’s 84 points came from five players. Junior guard Marissa Janning led with 23 total points while going 8-for-24 from field goal range. Two Bluejays posted double-double performances. Sophomore forward Brianna Rollerson had 16 points and 13 rebounds, while senior forward Alexis Akin-Otiko put up 13 points and 10 rebounds. Rounding out the double-digit club were guards Sydney Lamberty with 15 points and McGrory chalked up 14.
Creighton took a 5-2 lead to begin the game, as a result of Kansas going 1-for-7 from the field throughout the first five minutes. At the 13-minute mark, Aldridge passed the ball to Gardner in the paint, who successfully put in a layup to end a Jayhawk scoring drought that lasted over three minutes. After its initial five points, Creighton struggled to complete shots as well. The Bluejays went 1-for-10 from the field and suffered a four-minute silence.
A traditional three-point play by Bradley gave Kansas its first lead of the game before the halfway point of the first frame. Then the Jayhawks ran into trouble. Coupled with turnovers and fouls, the Jayhawks allowed the Bluejays to go on a 9-0 run and take back the lead.
KU continued to hustle and established a 12-3 run to take back a one-point lead. Foreshadowing a three that Creighton would convert at the end of regulation, freshman guard Chayla Cheadle connected on a three-point attempt as time expired in the first half to give Kansas a 32-30 advantage going into the halftime break.
Bradley led Kansas with 10 points – seven during the final Kansas run – during the first 20 minutes of action. Cheadle was close behind with nine points and five rebounds. The Jayhawks shot 33 percent from the field and held Creighton to just 28 percent.
Both teams came out attacking the basket, but within the first five minutes of the second half Creighton found a 10-0 run behind four-straight made shots. A bucket by Knight ended a three-minute scoring deficiency and brought Kansas back within four, 44-40.
The two teams then began to trade baskets, with neither able to pull away with a run. Amid nearly seven minutes left to play, Boyd sank a three and gave Kansas back the lead yet again and forced a CU timeout, 54-52. Creighton still battled back and the game remained close deep into the final minutes of the contest.
Points were traded back-and-forth in the dire minutes of the second half. Neither team could establish enough of a lead to pull away. Kansas converted a shot to go up by three points three times in the last two minutes, but Creighton responded all three times with shots cutting the lead to one leading up to Aldridge’s free throws and the game-tying three-point attempt by McGrory.
It was the Bluejays who took control of the extra time. Creighton took advantage of size in the lane after Gardner exited the game with her fifth foul on KU’s first possession in overtime. The Bluejays responded by putting up five unanswered points, but the Jayhawks refused to give up and kept shooting strong cutting the lead down to one, 80-79, with 44 seconds to play.
Creighton led the extra time until Knight knocked in a layup to give KU a one-point advantage with 15 seconds to play. Once again Creighton responded out of a timeout, this time with a layup by Lamberty to establish the 16th and final lead change of the game as Creighton would go on to win 84-81.
- KU’s overtime matchup with the Bluejays marked KU’s first game that wasn’t decided in regulation since defeating Kansas State in one overtime, 87-84, on March 7, 2014.
- Kansas fell to 1-2 when scoring 80 or more points and dropped to 0-3 when allowing an opponent to score 80 or more points in 2014.
- Both the Jayhawks and Bluejays shot poorly from the field in the first half. Kansas converted 10-of-36 attempts (36 percent) while Creighton made 8-of-24 shots (33 percent). However, the second half told a much different story as the teams both shot above 55 percent, Kansas 16-of-29 (55 percent), Creighton 13-of-23 (56 percent).
- After a last-second three-point attempt fell through the net for freshman guard Chayla Cheadle, the Jayhawks took a 32-30 lead into the half, marking the ninth time out of 11 games the Jayhawks have led at the half this season. KU is now 8-2 when leading at halftime in 2014.
- Freshman guard Terriell Bradley also set a career-high with 21 points thanks to a 6-of-9 effort from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
- After completing the contest with 12 points, senior forward Chelsea Gardner posted the 60th game of her career scoring 10 or more points. Gardner has scored in double figures in each of the 11 games in 2014.
- Senior guard Natalie Knight also registered double figures in the point column with 19 points giving her 43-career games with 10 or more points.
- All of Knight’s 19 points were scored in the second half and overtime.
- Creighton nearly captured KU’s season-high for blocks by the opposition after one half of play, registering five rejections on the Jayhawks. Kansas finished the game tying a season-high seven shots blocked by Creighton.
- Creighton also kept control of the ball on the offensive side only recording six turnovers on the night. Creighton’s six turnovers were the lowest by a Kansas opponent since the Jayhawks turned No. 7 Baylor over eight times on Jan. 19, 2014.
- Kansas did not record a steal in the first half of play and finished the contest with a season-low three takeaways. The previous low this season was four steals most recently at Purdue on Dec. 11, 2014.
- Four Jayhawks scored in double figures against Creighton (Terriell Bradley 21, Natalie Knight 19, Lauren Aldridge 13, Chelsea Gardner 12). Kansas has now had four players reach 10 or more points in five games this season and is now 3-2 this season when having four players reach double digits.
- Creighton’s 38 points in the paint were the most by a Kansas opponent this season and the most points scored in the lane by the opposition since Baylor racked up 50 points in the painted area on March 8, 2014.
Following a holiday break, the Jayhawks will return home when KU hosts Samford on Monday, Dec. 29. Game time is slated for 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The contest will air on the Jayhawk Television Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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