Kansas outlasts No. 23 Oklahoma State, 66-59
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball held off a comeback attempt by No. 23 Oklahoma State in the final quarter to outlast the Cowgirls, 66-59, on Wednesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas (11-15, 3-13 Big 12) kept Oklahoma State (18-9, 9-8 Big 12) from completing a comeback, keeping the momentum in KU’s favor despite the Cowgirls best efforts to steal the advantage late in the game. The Jayhawks never relinquished the lead in the final 10 minutes and snapped their 12-game losing streak, while recording their first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since 2014.
The Jayhawks’ win over No. 23 Oklahoma State marks their first victory over a ranked-Big 12 foe since the 2014 slate when KU snapped then-No. 7 Baylor’s 53-game conference win streak. The last win over a nationally-ranked opponent came during the nonconference slate in 2014 when Kansas downed Cal on Dec. 7.
KU’s offense was led by four Jayhawks netting with double digits. Junior guard Kylee Kopatich scored a team-high 19 points, while connecting on 5-of-9 from behind the 3-point line. Junior guard Christalah Lyons notched her 24th double-figure scoring performance with 15 points, while junior forward Austin Richardson added 13 points and seven rebounds. Redshirt-sophomore center Tyler Johnson concluded KU’s scoring leaders with 11 points.
The Cowgirls were paced by Big 12 scoring leaders graduate guard Loryn Goodwin and senior center Kaylee Jensen. Goodwin netted a game-high 21 points, while Jensen notched a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Goodwin highlighted the stat line in the opening 10 minutes of play for the Cowgirls, knocking in half of Oklahoma State’s 22 points in the first quarter, including the first basket of the game.
Despite OSU starting the game on a hot streak, the Jayhawks never allowed the Cowgirls to take a double-digit lead in the first period, staying within six points of the lead until the 3-minute mark when a 3-pointer from junior guard Maria Castro put the Cowgirls ahead, 20-11.
Kansas narrowed the margin back to five with a pair of long range baskets from senior forward Chayla Cheadle and Richardson to outscore OSU 6-2 to end the period. Kansas headed into the second quarter Oklahoma State, 22-17.
After a 7-3 run to the second period, Oklahoma State owned a 29-20 advantage with just under five minutes remaining in the half. When it looked as if the Cowgirls were going to continue stretching their lead, the Jayhawks stopped OSU in its tracks and went on an 11-0 run to take a 31-29 lead with a minute and a half to go in the opening half.
KU’s 11 unanswered points were highlighted by six-straight points from Johnson to end the Kansas run. Goodwin tied the game up at 31 with a layup, but Johnson sank 1-of-2 from the free throw line to give Kansas a one-point lead at the half, 32-31.
The Jayhawks and Cowgirls battled back and forth to start the second half with neither team owning a lead larger than four for the first four minutes of the third quarter. Kansas took a 46-40 lead after going 4-of-5 from the floor and outscoring the Cowgirls 12-2. OSU’s junior guard Karli Wheeler knocked in back-to-back 3-point baskets to tie the game up at 46 with 1:50 remaining in the period.
After freshman guard Braxtin Miller connected on just one of her free throw attempts, the Jayhawks knocked in four-straight points to take a 50-47 lead before Miller responded by sinking a three to even the score at 50, heading into the final 10 minutes.
Kansas ran out to 59-52 lead to start the fourth quarter, after knocking in five-straight points to start the period. Oklahoma State never went away and netted the next seven points, including five from the charity stripe to tie the game back up, 59-59.
After nearly two minutes without a bucket from either side, Kopatich netted her fifth 3-point basket of the night to put Kansas ahead 62-59 with 42 seconds remaining. Richardson and Lyons sealed the KU victory with four-straight free throws to give the Jayhawks their third conference win of the season.
Kansas travels west on I-70 to face in-state rival Kansas State in the Manhattan edition of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m., inside Bramlage Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on the Fox Sports Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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