Harvard slips past Kansas with fourth quarter run, 69-59

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – After another closely contested matchup, Kansas women’s basketball wasn’t able to overcome a fourth quarter Harvard run, as the Crimson went on to record its first victory, 69-59, over the Jayhawks on Wednesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse. 

With the win, the Crimson (8-1) extended their win streak to eight games, while KU (3-5) dropped its third game in a row after having won three-straight. Sophomore guard Aisia Robertson scored five unanswered points to slow Harvard in the final minutes of the game, but the lead had grown too large to mount a comeback.

Junior guard Chayla Cheadle led the Jayhawks with 11 points, her third-straight double figure performance. Redshirt junior guard Jessica Washington and senior guard Timeka O’Neal each added nine points of their own with O’Neal shooting 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Senior forward Jada Brown grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds, her first double-digit effort off the glass as a Jayhawk.

The Crimson had four players score in double digits led by freshman forward Jeannie Boehm’s double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Senior forward Destiny Nunley also contributed 12 points, while sophomore guard Madeline Raster and freshman guard Katie Benzan scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. 

Harvard won the tip, but it would be all Kansas early on. A steal by sophomore center Chelsea Lott allowed Kansas to score first, a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Kylee Kopatich, who ended the night with five points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Jayde Christopher followed with five quick points, giving Kansas an 8-0 lead to start the game.

Harvard’s Benzan ended the Crimsons’ offensive drought with a 3-pointer, putting the first points on the scoreboard for the visiting team. After an early KU run to start the quarter, Harvard fought back to within one followed by three and a half minute scoring drought for both teams. The Jayhawks struggled offensively the rest of the quarter scoring only five points, a drastic change from the explosive start to the contest. After the first 10 minutes of play, the Crimson led, 17-13.

In the second period, Lott got the Jayhawks within two with a layup followed by an O’Neal 3-pointer to put Kansas back on top, but Harvard would answer with a 3-pointer of their own by junior guard Taylor Rooks. Cheadle responded with another KU trey to put the Jayhawks back on top, 21-20.

A pair of free throws by sophomore guard Sydney Skinner allowed Harvard to regain the lead, but not for long as Brown answered with yet another 3-point basket, becoming the third Jayhawk to score a three in the second quarter. O’Neal made her second three of the game, giving her six points and Washington added two more giving Kansas a five-point lead, 29-24, before the Crimson fought back with five straight points to even the score. In a back and forth half, the Crimson went into the locker room with a one-point advantage at the end of the first half, 34-33.

Kansas spent most of the first half behind the 3-point arc, as Kansas connected on six of their 10 attempts from long range. Washington and O’Neal headed into the break leading the Jayhawks with seven and six points, respectively. Cheadle and Christopher also added five points each in the first half, as Kansas shot 41.3 percent from the field.

The Jayhawks were the first to score in the third period with an easy layup from Cheadle, but the Crimson quickly regained a six-point lead, 41-35, after a 7-0 run. Sophomore guard Nani Redford added three more points for the Crimson before Kopatich ended the 10-0 run with an uncontested layup. Kansas cut the lead to five with two free throws from Washington. KU then answered Harvard with 6-0 run of its own, cutting the lead to three, 44-41. The Crimson responded with a quick layup by Nunley, but Brown answered with a layup to keep the game close. A jumper by Lott put Kansas within two at the end of the third quarter, 47-45.

Harvard would score the first basket of the fourth quarter, the first period of the game to score first, after Boehm hit a jumper at one end. Cheadle responded with a layup at the other end to keep the deficit within a possession. Harvard’s aggressive offense took the Crimson to the line twice, giving Harvard four-straight points from the free-throw line to extend its lead.

After three close periods, the Crimson pulled ahead with its first double digit advantage of the game. The Jayhawks continued to chip away at Harvard’s lead with the help of five unanswered points from Robertson to narrow the gap on the scoreboard. However, Harvard’s late 22-point fourth quarter performance proved to be too much for Kansas down the stretch, as the Crimson earned their first win over KU, 69-59.

The Jayhawks continue their five-game homestand with Rhode Island on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. The matchup will air on the Jayhawk Television Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network. Sunday is KU’s annual Toys for Tots game and those who bring an unwrapped toy to the game will receive $5 admission. It is also Jay Days inside Allen Fieldhouse with special offers at the concession stand.

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