Stellar third quarter propels Kansas past Texas Tech in Big 12 win

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s basketball lived out its motto ‘Tough and Together’ in its first Big 12 Conference win under head coach Brandon Schneider after defeating Texas Tech, 66-60, inside Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon. 

Since his arrival on campus, Schneider has challenged his squad to be tough and together and for the past three games the Jayhawks have done just that. With gritty defense and a second-half offensive surge, Kansas’ tough and together mantra led KU to its first league victory since 2015. 

Redshirt junior guard Jessica Washington poured in a game-best 24 points in a contest Kansas refused to relinquish the lead, but with Texas Tech inching back into the game after the half, the Jayhawks caught fire in the third period with a 10-of-13 effort from the field to shut down any Lady Raider hopes of a comeback.

Redshirt junior Jessica Washington

In KU’s (7-14, 1-9 Big 12) first Big 12 Conference victory of the season, sophomore guard Kylee Kopatich chipped in 14 points and senior forward Caelynn Manning-Allen contributed eight rebounds, while eight of her 10-total points were scored in the final half. Manning-Allen finished the game with eight rebounds, two shy of recording her third double-double. Texas Tech (11-9, 3-6 Big 12) was led by Jada Terry and Ivonne Cook-Taylor, who each put 14 points on the scoreboard.

Senior forward Sydney Umeri dominated both ends of the floor in the opening minutes for the Jayhawks. After winning the tip, the six-foot forward followed up with a layup to get things started on the offensive end for Kansas. Defensively, Umeri contributed two rebounds and took a charge in the first period. Washington sparked an 8-0 run for the Jayhawks after the Lady Raiders got on the board, as Kopatich followed Washington’s layup with back-to-back 3-pointers. Texas Tech briefly cut the Kansas lead, 13-8, after a 3-point basket by junior forward Dayo Olabode, but the Lady Raiders fell into another scoring drought for the next four minutes. After the first 10 minutes of play, Kansas led, 15-12.

Umeri began the second quarter the same way she started the first – with a layup and a dominant defensive presence contributing a steal that ended in yet another 3-point basket for Kopatich, which increased KU’s advantage, 20-12. Kansas would struggle offensively after that, going scoreless for the next four minutes, which allowed the Lady Raiders to crawl back to within four, 20-16. Washington and sophomore guard Jayde Christopher extended the Jayhawks lead back to nine, with a layup and 3-point basket, respectively. In a back and forth game to end the first half, Texas Tech managed to cut Kansas’ lead, 27-23. The Lady Raiders continued to fight back and managed to diminish the Jayhawks’ advantage to six going into the locker room at the half. KU’s halftime lead is the first time that the Jayhawks have headed into intermission ahead of its opponent.

Kansas continued its trend of scoring first in the third quarter after Washington and Kopatich sparked the offense in the second half. Washington added six points in the opening three minutes, extending KU’s lead, 37-28. Umeri increased the lead to double figures with a three-point play the old fashioned way.

In the midst of their offensive run, the Jayhawks were 7-of-8 from the floor and finished the third quarter shooting 76.9 percent from the field. Manning-Allen took matters in her own hands and scored six unanswered points for Kansas, as KU’s advantage on the scoreboard increased, 48-35. Each attempt by the Lady Raiders to make a comeback was ended by a Jayhawk basket and Kansas maintained a double-digit lead going into the final 10 minutes of the game. KU ended the third quarter with an 11-point lead, 50-39.

The Lady Raiders would strike first in the final quarter with a jumper from Cook-Taylor. Kansas never waivered and went on to score five-straight points. Texas Tech kept its intensity up on the offensive end, but Kansas had an answer for everything the Lady Raiders shot. Kopatich added her fourth 3-point basket of the afternoon in response. After several close games in the last week, Kansas was determined to hold on to the lead until the end. Texas Tech inched closer to KU down the stretch, but the Jayhawks hot-shooting second half propelled KU to victory, 66-60. 

Kansas heads south for a midweek matchup with No. 20 Oklahoma on Wednesday, Feb. 1, inside the Lloyd Noble Center. Tipoff with the Sooners is slated for 10:30 a.m., on FOX Sports Oklahoma and the Jayhawk Radio Network. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.