Resilient Kansas fights off North Dakota in overtime
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to claim its second overtime victory of the season, after completing the comeback over North Dakota, 76-71, on Sunday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks (3-2) come-from-behind victory is the largest deficit overcome by Kansas this season and with the overtime victory KU improves to 3-0 in overtime under head coach Brandon Schneider.
Kansas’ offense and defense soared to new heights in the win over the Fighting Hawks (1-4). Offensively, KU recorded its most productive first quarter of the 2016-17 campaign. In the opening period, Kansas netted 23 points behind 67 percent shooting, both highs in the first quarter for the Jayhawks this season. Along with productive first and fourth quarters, senior guard Timeka O’Neal sank timely 3-pointers to aid in KU’s comeback. Timeka O’Neal
Redshirt junior guard Jessica Washington led all scorers with 19 points, just one shy of her career-best mark of 20 points set at North Carolina. Manning-Allen turned in her first double-digit scoring effort of the season with 14 points, while O’Neal contributed a season-best 12 points behind 4-of-7 shooting from the 3-point line.
Defensively, the Jayhawks forced North Dakota to turn the ball over 23 times, which KU was able to convert into 25 points on the scoreboard. Coming into today’s game, KU averaged 4.5 blocks and against the Fighting hawks swatted away eight shots, including four from senior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen. Kansas’ defense also surpassed its average of steals per game after tallying 13 steals.
North Dakota had four Fighting Hawks finish the afternoon in double figures with senior guard Makailah Dyer lead the way after scoring 14 points. Sophomore forward Fallyn Freije added 11 points, while senior forward Samantha Roscoe and junior guard Chastity Franklin each scored 10 points.
North Dakota grabbed the lead early, but Washington’s defense allowed the momentum to swing in the Jayhawks favor. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native took a charge then brought the ball up the court for a layup, giving KU its first lead of the afternoon. Sophomore guard Kylee Kopatich continued to bring the momentum in KU’s favor with a 3-point jumper, as five unanswered points gave Kansas an 11-6 advantage. North Dakota continued to fight back, but each time Kansas responded, holding onto the lead, 23-15, as the first quarter came to an end.
Washington kicked off the second quarter with a 3-pointer, putting her in the double digits early. North Dakota chipped away at KU’s lead, coming within three, but redshirt sophomore guard McKenzie Calvert responded with a 3-point field goal to end the Fighting Hawks threat. After being down nine, North Dakota went on a 13-0 run in the final minutes of the second quarter to take the lead, 37-33, for the first time since the opening minutes of the game.
After a scoreless minute, KU defense added another block and ran away with a layup. O’Neal made one of her four clutch treys to help spark Kansas’ offense in the third quarter. On the next possession, junior guard Chayla Cheadle contributed a layup, cutting UND’s lead to one. After making it a one-possession ballgame, nearly four minutes ticked off the clock without field goals from either team. In the last minute of the third quarter, Manning-Allen added two points in the paint, but North Dakota responded with two more, ending the period with a five-point lead, 53-48.
Still attempting to mount a comeback, Washington changed the energy for the Jayhawks yet again, hitting a 3-pointer to bring Kansas within one once again. The following possession sophomore guard Aisia Robertson, sank a jumper, as KU’s offense began to heat up. With just five minutes remaining, North Dakota held on to an eight-point lead, but Robertson narrowed the deficit with another KU trey. Both Washington and Manning-Allen extended the run to 7-0, which brought the Jayhawks within three points of North Dakota with less than a minute to play. With only 27 seconds left on the clock, O’Neal knocked down a crucial shot beyond the arc, tying the game. Putting the pressure on, Manning-Allen blocked another layup and the Jayhawks forced yet another turnover to go into overtime for the second game in a row.
In overtime, North Dakota was the first to break the tie, going up 67-65 then forcing a turnover and adding a layup. O’Neal dropped another game-changing 3-pointer, bringing the Jayhawks back within one point. Manning-Allen drew a foul, and after knocking down both free throws, gave the lead back to the Jayhawks for the first time since the second quarter. With less than a minute to play, Manning-Allen swatted away another UND shot attempt and resulted in a layup at the other end of the court, as KU’s lead grew in the final seconds of overtime. Senior forward Jada Brown sealed KU’s back-to-back overtime win, 67-61, after knocking down a pair of free throws.
The Jayhawks head to Creighton for the first of two road games on Nov. 30. Tipoff against the Bluejays is slated for 7 p.m. on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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