Jayhawks remain undefeated, outlast Owls, 73-65

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Two teams entered Sunday’s matchup with undefeated records. And it was Kansas women’s basketball that emerged with its perfect mark still intact after outlasting Rice, 73-65, inside Allen Fieldhouse.

No matter how hard the Owls (5-1) tried to steal the lead, the Jayhawks (5-0) found an answer and held on to their lead late in the game. When Brandon Schneider-led teams are leading with five minutes or less to play, Kansas owns a 15-0 record. After maintaining its lead once again, KU finished the weekend by extending its season-opening win streak to five.

The Jayhawks were led by junior guard Kylee Kopatich’s 18 points, her fifth straight double-digit scoring effort of the season. Three other Jayhawks notched double-figure scoring performances, including junior guards Christalah Lyons and Brianna Osorio with 15 points and 13 points, respectively. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Johnson added 11 points and four rebounds. Three or more Jayhawks have netted double figures in each of KU’s first five games of the season.

Redshirt sophomore Erica Ogwumike led all scorers with 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Redshirt junior forwards Nicole Iademarco and forward Olivia Ogwumike each added 15 points in the Owls first loss of the season.

With both teams looking to extend their undefeated streaks, Kansas and Rice battled throughout the opening minutes of the game, trading off buckets. KU held a narrow 5-4 lead with Osorio’s game-opening 3-point basket, but two-straight baskets for Kansas from Lyons and Kopatich allowed the Jayhawks to extend their lead to five with five minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Owls never let the Jayhawks lead hit double figures, despite KU’s best effort to extend the advantage. Following a jumper by Iademarco, Kopatich knocked down the next five points, giving Kansas a 14-6 lead. Rice’s final three baskets of the quarter all came from behind the arc, including two 3-pointers by Iademarco. Despite the hot-shooting from long range to end the quarter, Kansas maintained an 18-15 lead. Defensively, the Jayhawks forced the Owls to five turnovers in the first period, two of which came from shot clock violations.

Rice was able to cut the Jayhawks lead to one point three times in the second period, but Kansas settled into an offensive groove to take a double-digit lead going into the locker room. Iademarco made Rice’s first two baskets of the quarter, but a layup by junior forward Austin Richardson and a free throw from Osorio split up the jumper and 3-pointer to keep Kansas on top 21-20. The Jayhawks took back a six-point lead following five unanswered points.

The Owls continued to hold the Jayhawks’ lead to single digits throughout the first nine minutes of the game, but three minutes without a field goal allowed Kansas to go on a 7-0 run to take a 35-26 lead. Iademarco knocked down another jumper for the Owls, but Lyons 3-point play put the Jayhawks up by 10 with under a minute to go in the half. Kansas ended the half with a 40-30 lead after Lyons nailed a jumper at the buzzer.

Rice tipped off the final half with a 3-point basket from Erica Ogwumike, followed by seven-straight points from Kansas, including two free throws and a 3-pointer from Richardson. Following the Jayhawks 7-0 run, the Owls took control of the quarter with a 13-2 run, cutting KU’s 14-point lead to two. Kansas went without a field goal for the final four minutes of the period, leading by just three points going into the final quarter.

Johnson took the lead on KU’s offense to start the final 10 minutes of the game, turning her offensive board into a bucket for the Jayhawks. Erica Ogwumike led the way through the opening minutes for the Owls, adding her second 3-pointer of the game to keep Rice within two. Johnson put up two more points with a jumper assisted by Kopatich, but Ogwumike answered with a basket of her own.

Kopatich and Osorio each notched 3-pointers for a 6-0 Kansas run, putting the Jayhawks up 61-53 in the first two and a half minutes of the quarter. Senior guard Wendy Knight added five-straight points for the Owls to pull within three, but the Jayhawks had an answer with Osorio’s fourth 3-pointer of the afternoon. Rice frantically tried to diminish KU’s lead to win the game by fouling, but five fourth quarter turnovers kept them from completing the task as the Jayhawks won, 73-65.

The Jayhawks continue their nine-game homestand against UMKC on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. KU’s matchup with the Kangaroos will air on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network.




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