Fourth quarter run lifts Jayhawks over Iona, 72-58

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Kansas women’s basketball’s fourth quarter run lifted the Jayhawks to their ninth victory of the season, 72-58, over Iona on Wednesday night inside Hynes Athletics Center.

After Iona’s (0-11) 14-0 run in the third quarter to take a one-point lead, the Jayhawks (9-2) outscored the Gaels 17-8 in the final 10 minutes to end nonconference play on a good note. Kansas will head into its five-day break for the holidays having won nine of its first 11 games.

Junior guard Austin Richardson netted 18 points (8-of-14) and grabbed 10 rebounds, earning her first career double-double and led all scorers on the night. Freshman forward Micaela Wilson scored 13 points, one shy of her career-best mark, and pulled down five rebounds for Kansas.

Junior guard Christalah Lyons notched 12 points and dished out a career-high seven assists, while junior guard Kylee Kopatich scored 11 points to round out KU’s double-digit scorers. Kopatich also grabbed seven rebounds.

Iona was led by freshman guard Toyosi Abiola with 17 points, including three 3-point baskets. Junior guard Alexis Lewis and junior forward Treyanna Clay each added 13 points in the Gaels’ loss. Clay was one rebound shy of notching a double-double.

After a slow start, going scoreless for nearly three minutes to open the game and trailing 5-0, the Jayhawks got on the scoreboard with a free throw from Lyons and a layup from freshman center Bailey Helgren. Following KU’s first points of the game, Iona freshman forward Rebekah Justice nailed a jumper to extend the Gaels’ lead, 7-3.
Kopatich got the Jayhawks offense rolling with her first 3-point basket of the night, but Lewis immediately answered with five-straight points to put Iona up by six with five minutes to play. Kopatich’s bucket sparked an offensive presence as the Jayhawks made seven-straight buckets from the field following Kopatich’s 3-pointer. KU boasted a 66.7 shooting percentage in the first 10 minutes of the game, shooting 8-of-12 from the field.

Throughout KU’s hot-shooting streak, Lyons knocked in five unanswered points, including a 3-point play that would put the Jayhawks within one. Clay answered Lyons’ 5-0 run with a 3-point basket, but Kansas responded with an 8-0 run to gain its first lead of the game. Following KU’s run, Lewis knocked in a jumper, but redshirt-sophomore center Tyler Johnson netted two free throws to give Kansas a 21-17 lead to end the first 10 minutes of the game.

Following a Lyons layup to begin the second quarter, the Gaels netted back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game back up at 23. Johnson knocked down a jumper to put Kansas back on top briefly until Clay laid it in to keep the game tied.

The Jayhawks then went on a 13-2 run with five unanswered points coming from Wilson to take their first double-digit lead of the night, 38-27. Sophomore guard/forward Tilasha Okey-Williams attempted to cut KU’s lead with a 3-point basket, but a layup from Richardson and a pair of free throws from senior guard Sydney Benoit kept Kansas on top by 42-30 heading into the locker room at the half.

Richardson carried the Jayhawks throughout the first six minutes of the game, scoring Kansas’ only two buckets throughout the first seven minutes of the period. Abiola led the Gaels in the third quarter, netting 14 of Iona’s 17 points in the third period, including three baskets from behind the arc.

While Kansas went cold from the floor for five and a half minutes, Iona went on a 14-0 run to take a 47-46 lead over the Jayhawks. Kansas regained the lead after going on a 9-3 run, including seven unanswered points where Richardson and junior center Chelsea Lott traded off baskets. The Jayhawks’ run put them on top 55-50 going into the final 10 minutes of the game.

Iona attempted to keep the game close throughout the final quarter, but a 12-4 Kansas run to start the final 10 minutes prohibited the Gaels’ final comeback attempt. After senior guard Kristin Mahoney’s opening two jumpers, Iona went cold and Wilson, Kopatich and Lyons traded off buckets to put the Jayhawks on top by 13. Kansas held the Gaels to four points in the final eight minutes of the game to win its ninth game of the season, 72-58.

The Jayhawks travel to Ames, Iowa to begin Big 12 Conference play on Thursday, December 28 at 6:30 p.m. inside Hilton Coliseum.



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