Kansas prevails in overtime shootout against UC Riverside

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LAWRENCE, Kan. –  In its fourth overtime game of the season, Kansas women’s basketball prevailed over UC Riverside, 90-84, on Wednesday evening inside Allen Fieldhouse.
The backcourt duo of redshirt sophomore McKenzie Calvert and redshirt junior Jessica Washington each registered career high totals to lead Kansas (6-5) to its third overtime victory of the 2016-17 campaign. The twosome combined for 57 of KU’s 90 points and became the first pair of Jayhawks to each score 20 or more points in game since March 2, 2015 against Iowa State.
Calvert’s career night paced KU’s offense against UC Riverside (5-5). The Schertz, Texas native led all scorers with 30 points, marking the first time a Jayhawk netted 30 since Chelsea Gardner reached the same feat against Alabama in 2014. Washington turned in a career-best night with 27 points, including a perfect 12-for-12 mark from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Kylee Kopatich rounded out KU’s double-digit scorers with 17 points, two shy of her career-high mark.
Senior guard Simone DeCoud led UC Riverside with 29 points, as four Highlanders recorded double-digit scoring efforts against the Jayhawks. Junior guard Lauren Holt netted 20 points behind a 7-for-18 mark from the floor. Senior forward Rejane Verin and sophomore forward Marlou De Kergret also scored double-digits with 16 and 11 points, respectively.Redshirt sophomore McKenzie Calvert
Senior guard Timeka O’Neal got Kansas’ offense started in the opening period with the first of 10 KU 3-pointers on the night. O’Neal’s trey was the first of three-straight possessions that resulted in a KU 3-pointer and sparked an 11-2 run to begin the ballgame. The Jayhawks extended their lead to as many as 10, but a 9-2 run by the Highlanders in the final minutes of the period cut KU’s lead to three. With 15 seconds left on the clock, Calvert sank Kansas’ fourth triple of the quarter. Calvert’s 3-pointer gave Kansas a 21-15 advantage heading into the second period.
UC Riverside outscored the Kansas, 18-13, in the second quarter. Despite the low scoring period, Calvert became the first Jayhawk to reach double figures, her seventh of the season, and ended the first half with 13 points to lead all scorers. KU headed into the intermission with a 34-33 lead over the Highlanders. Kansas has owned an advantage at the half in six contests this season and is 5-1 when leading at the break.
The Highlanders scored first in the second half to take their first lead of the game. UC Riverside started the third quarter with a 6-0 run before Washington halted UCR’s momentum with a pair of free throws. With just under five minutes to play, the Highlanders continued to hold on to the lead, 43-40, after shooting 52 percent from the field through two and a half quarters.
Two more free throws from Washington trimmed UCR’s lead to one with four minutes to play in the third. Calvert swiped a steal and threw ahead to Kopatich for a layup and more importantly regain the lead, 44-43, for the Jayhawks. On the next possession, Kopatich came down the court and sank her third 3-pointer of the night, as the sophomore netted five unanswered points. Despite all its comeback efforts, Kansas headed into the final period trailing UC Riverside, 50-49.
Senior forward Jada Brown scored the first points of the final period of regulation, giving Kansas the advantage once again. With eight minutes to play, KU owned a 54-53 lead over the Highlanders. The two squads traded baskets and the lead for the next three minutes before Washington sparked four unanswered KU points, as the Jayhawks led, 65-61.
With a minute and half to play, UC Riverside took back the lead, 67-66, after Holt sank a 3-pointer. Junior guard Michelle Curry made one of two free throw attempts, increasing UCR’s lead to two with 43 seconds left on the clock. Down by two, Calvert sank her third 3-pointer of the night to regain the lead for Kansas with 36 seconds remaining. After forcing a turnover, Kansas got the ball back and the Highlanders were forced to foul. Washington headed to the free throw line and connected on both attempts, extending KU’s advantage, 71-68.
Down the stretch, Kansas made five of its six free throw tries and held onto a 3-point lead in the final seconds of regulation. However, DeCoud made a last second 3-pointer to tie the game as the clock hit zero, sending the game into overtime.
During overtime, Washington caught fire by scoring 10 points to ensure that Kansas would walk away with its third overtime victory of the season. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native sank her third 3-pointer of extended play to give KU an 84-80 advantage with 37 seconds remaining. Each time it seemed as though the Jayhawks were pulling away, UC Riverside found an answer and kept the game within a possession. Once again as the clock wound closer to zero, the Highlanders began to foul, sending the Jayhawks to the free throw line. Kansas made six of its six attempts from the charity stripe to close out the game, as the Jayhawks held on to win, 90-84.

The Jayhawks open Big 12 Conference action with Oklahoma on Thursday, Dec. 29. Tipoff against the Sooners is slated for 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse, on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network. 

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