Kansas ends 2017 with 86-77 victory over TCU
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In its 2017 finale, Kansas women’s basketball ended the year with an 86-77 victory over TCU in its Big 12 home opener on Sunday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas (10-3, 1-1 Big 12) took an early lead over the Horned Frogs (9-4, 0-2 Big 12) in its first home game since Dec. 10 and didn’t look back. The Jayhawks never relinquished its advantage and led by as many 15 early in the first half.
Four Jayhawk starters notched double-digit scoring efforts in KU’s first Big 12 win of the season. Junior guard Christalah Lyons led Kansas in scoring and rebounding, netting 18 points and grabbing six rebounds. Junior guard Kylee Kopatich fell one assist shy of her second-straight double-double, scoring 17 points and dishing out nine assists. Junior guard Brianna Osorio and junior forward Austin Richardson added 15 and 10 points, respectively.
Junior forward Amy Okonkwo led all scorers with 22 points for TCU, including 10 from the free throw line, while grabbing 10 rebounds.
After suffering a 71-69 loss in overtime at Iowa State in their Big 12 opener, the Jayhawks looked to start their conference home opener strong. Kansas jumped out to a 6-2 lead early on with a jumper from Richardson and four unanswered points from Lyons.
The Jayhawks held TCU to just two points until the seven-minute mark when sophomore guard Amber Ramirez knocked in the first 3-pointer of the game and put the Horned Frogs within one. KU answered with four-straight points with baskets from Richardson and Helgren to extend the lead, 10-5.
Okonkwo made eight of TCU’s next 10 points, including six from the charity stripe, but the Jayhawks continued making plays on the offensive end never letting their led fall below four, while shooting 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from the field.
Kansas ended the first 10 minutes on a 7-0 run with five points coming from Osorio, including a layup at the buzzer to give the Jayhawks a 27-15 lead going into the second quarter. Defensively, Kansas forced seven turnovers and held the Horned Frogs to shooting just 27.3 (3-of-11) percent from the floor in the first quarter.
TCU cut the Jayhawks lead to seven in the first minute and a half of the second period with five-straight points from Moore, but Kansas responded quickly with a 6-1 run to take back a double-digit lead, 33-21. Kansas and the Horned Frogs traded off a series of baskets before having a 3-point contest.
Kopatich netted the first 3-pointer followed by three long range baskets from TCU’s Vann, including two back-to-back to cut Kansas’ lead to eight. The Jayhawks outscored the Horned Frogs 6-1 to end the half and headed into the locker room with a 48-35 advantage after the first 20 minutes.
The Jayhawks and Horned Frogs matchup was consistent throughout the third quarter, trading off points every play until the one minute mark in the period when Kansas netted six-straight points with baskets from Richardson, Kopatich and Lott. TCU wasn’t backing down, however, as Ramirez knocked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to stay within 12 points going into the final 10 minutes of the game.
TCU cut the Jayhawks lead to as narrow as six points in the fourth thanks to six unanswered points from Okonkwo, but despite not making a field goal for six out of the final 10 minutes, KU’s clutch free throw shooting lifted them to its first Big 12 victory of the season, beating TCU, 86-77.
Kansas hits the road again to tip off with Texas Tech on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m., inside United Supermarkets Arena. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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