Late rally pushes K-State past Kansas, 72-63
OKLAHOMA CITY – For 35 minutes, Kansas women’s basketball maintained a lead over Kansas State, but the Wildcats ended the game on a 16-4 run to top the Jayhawks, 72-63, on Friday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
K-State’s (16-14, 7-11 Big 12) late rally in the final five minutes of 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship opening round ended Kansas’ (12-18, 3-15 Big 12) 2017-18 campaign, while the Wildcats advanced to the quarter final round.
Redshirt-sophomore center Tyler Johnson led the Jayhawks with a career-best 18 points. Two other Kansas starters netted double-digit scoring efforts in the third meeting of the season between the in-state rivals. Junior guard Christalah Lyons, who notched her 27th double-figure scoring performance of the season, with 16 points (6-of-12, 4-of-6), while adding six assists. Junior guard Kylee Kopatich added 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. Kopatich ends her junior season 21 points shy of joining KU’s 1,000-point club.
Four Wildcats had double-digit performances in the opening round of the Big 12 Championship. Senior forward Kaylee Page netted a game-high 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds to help K-State advance. Junior guard Kayla Goth scored 19 points, while dishing out eight assists. Sophomore forward Peyton Williams and freshman guard Rachel Ranke chipped in 14 and 10 points, respectively, for the Wildcats.
The Jayhawks jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first three and a half minutes of the game, including seven points from Lyons. Following its run to start the game, KU suffered a 3-minute scoring drought, but Kansas proved why it boasts one of the league’s best defenses and limited the K-State offense to just 16.7 shooting percentage (2-of-12) in the first 10 minutes. The Wildcats made up for their struggles from the floor by knocking in nine of their 11 free-throw attempts to stay within single digits going into the second quarter, 21-13.
Kansas managed to never relinquish its lead, despite being outscored 16-9 in the second quarter. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Goth and Ranke allowed the Wildcats to come within two at the 6:48 mark, but the Jayhawks battled to stay ahead with tough defensive efforts and held onto a 30-29 lead heading into the locker room at the half.
Each team started the second half with a triple and the Kansas lead staying at one, two minutes into the half before Johnson netted four-straight points to give the Jayhawks a 39-34 advantage over KSU. The Wildcats came out of the media timeout and outscored KU, 7-3, to narrow the Kansas lead from five back to one. The Jayhawks ended the third period on a 7-3 run of their own, sparked by a Kopatich trey, and headed into the final 10 minutes with a 51-46 advantage.
After leading by as many as eight with 8:19 to play in the fourth quarter, the Jayhawks’ shots stopped falling. K-State tied the game for the first time with back-to-back 3-point baskets from Goth and Page with just over five and a half minutes remaining.
Goth’s layup gave the Wildcats their first lead of the night, but Richardson answered with a jumper from the left corner to keep it tied up at 61. The Wildcats utilized their momentum until the final buzzer sounded to take a 72-63 victory over the Jayhawks.
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