Cold-shooting Jayhawks drop season opener to Missouri State

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball’s streak of season-opening victories came to a close as a late run in the fourth quarter proved to be enough for Missouri State to rally for an 87-64 win on Sunday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Prior to its 2016-17 season opener, KU had won 11-straight games to start the season dating back to 2004. The Lady Bears’ high-powered offense surged ahead late in the game after shooting 53.3 percent from the field. The Jayhawks, on the other hand, could only muster a 35 percent clip from the field, making only 6-of-24 3-point tries. 
The Jayhawks were led by redshirt sophomore guard McKenzie Calvert and redshirt junior guard Jessica Washington with 20 and 15 points, respectively. Calvert’s 20 points was just one shy of her career high set during her rookie campaign at USC. Along with her 15 points, Washington also led the team with four assists.
Offensively, Missouri State had four end the day with double-figure scoring efforts, led by Lexi Hughes, who netted 22 points. Also scoring double digits was Liza Fruendt (18), Brice Calip (14) and Aubrey Buckley (10).
A Lady Bears free throw gave MSU an early lead in the opening minutes. The Jayhawks went on to score seven of their first eleven points off of Missouri State turnovers, beginning with Calvert’s first basket in the Crimson and Blue. Calvert kept the momentum going on the defensive end with a charge following her basket. The Lady Bears went on a 12-0 run to end the first quarter with a 17-11 advantage.
Calvert started the second quarter the same way she started the first, driving to the basket. She followed up with back-to-back three pointers, giving her the first eight points of the quarter. Washington tied the game, 21-21, with a layup after Calvert’s early run. The Jayhawks and the Lady Bears battled basket-for-basket throughout the quarter with Calvert and Washington leading the way for the Jayhawks.
Sophomore guard Aisia Robertson ended Missouri State’s 7-0 run in the second quarter with a 3-pointer that brought the Jayhawks within four. Washington continued to narrow the Lady Bears’ lead with a layup at the two-minute mark, bringing the Jayhawks within two points.
Kansas stepped it up on the defensive end with back-to-back defensive plays as the clock wound down in the first half. Washington started the trend with a charge followed by Calvert’s steal leading to sophomore guard Kylee Kopatich’s game-tying layup. Missouri State ended the quarter with a 3-pointer that would give the Lady Bears a 37-40 lead at the half.
Calvert started the second half with four straight points, all coming from the free throw line to pull the Jayhawks within one point. Kansas took their first lead since the first quarter with a 3-pointer from Washington. Graduate transfer forward Sydney Umeri kept Kansas’ intensity on the defensive end up, taking Jayhawks’ third charge of the game. The Jayhawks continued battling on both ends throughout the third period, but still trailed by three, 52-55.
Kansas’ first points of the fourth quarter came from two free throws made by Washington. The Lady Bears intensity didn’t waiver, but Calvert answered their first basket with a basket of her own. The Jayhawks struggled to find an answer to Missouri State’s fourth quarter offensive run. The Lady Bears shot 100 percent in the first three minutes.  
Washington ended Kansas’ scoring drought with a layup at the five and a half minute mark, but Kansas couldn’t stop the Lady Bears’ offense late in the game. MSU followed with a 7-0 run in the next 30 seconds, which all but sealed the victory. Senior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen attempted to end the Jayhawks’ scoring drought for good with a put back jumper, but Missouri State’s offense proved to be too much for Kansas, as the Lady Bears closed out the game with an 8-0 run, to seal the victory, 87-64.

The Jayhawks continue their four-game homestand to start the 2016-17 campaign on Wednesday, Nov. 16 against SMU at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The contest will air on the Jayhawk Television and Jayhawk Radio Networks. Wednesday’s game is social media night at Allen Fieldhouse. Fans who share their photos on social media using #KUwbb will be entered to win an autographed basketball. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.