No. 8 Texas cuts Kansas’ comeback short, 55-41
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After outscoring No. 8 Texas in the second and third periods, Kansas women’s basketball nearly mounted a comeback over the Longhorns. A strong fourth quarter allowed Texas to hold on to a 55-41 victory on Wednesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
After trailing by as many as 14 in the first half, the Jayhawks (11-11, 2-9 Big 12) went into the locker room down by five and tied Texas (17-4, 8-2 Big 12) in the third quarter with some key triples. However, the Jayhawks weren’t able to keep the momentum going to steal the lead and a slow offensive fourth quarter kept Kansas from completing a comeback.
Kansas was led by junior guard Christalah Lyons, who notched her 19th double-digit scoring effort in 22 games with a game-high 18 points. Lyons fell just shy of her first double-double, grabbing a career-high nine rebounds. In two games against the Longhorns this year, Lyons netted 38 points.
Senior guard Ariel Atkins led the Longhorns offensively with 16 points (5-of-10). Senior guard Brooke McCarty and sophomore guard/forward Joyner Holmes concluded the Texas double-digit scorers with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Jayhawks owned a 3-0 lead after junior guard Brianna Osorio knocked in a 3-point basket to start the game, but the Longhorns took control from that moment on. Texas scored the next five points before a Lyons layup could split up the next 6-0 UT run to give Texas an 11-5 lead.
The next nine points from Texas went unanswered to put the Longhorns up, 20-7. Lyons attempted to narrow the margin with a 3-pointer to come back within 10, but a Jordan Hosey layup put UT up 22-10 to end the first 10 minutes of the game.
Kansas held the Longhorns to just eight points in the second quarter, narrowing UT’s lead from 14 to start the quarter to five by the end. The Jayhawks and Texas traded off baskets for the first four minutes of the period before KU knocked in five unanswered points to cut Texas’ lead to single digits, 26-17.
The Longhorns were able to extend their lead back to 10, but back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Sydney Benoit and Lyons put the Jayhawks within four with a minute and a half remaining in the half. After an Atkins free throw, Kansas headed into the locker room at the half down, 30-25.
After nearly five minutes without a basket from either team, Lyons drove to the hoop to lay in a basket and put Kansas within three. Texas continued to struggle to make plays on offense, while the Jayhawks evened the score at 30 with a long-range basket from Osorio.
UT’s McCarty scored five quick points to put the Longhorns back on top by five, but Kansas continued to inch its way back with every play. Freshman forward Micaela Wilson netted her first points of the night, a 3-point basket, to diminish Texas’ lead back to two with just under four minutes to play in the third period.
McCarty netted her second 3-pointer of the quarter and third of the night to put Texas back on top by five, but the Jayhawks continued answering everything that she knocked down in the period. McCarty had scored all eight of Texas’ points in the third quarter until Holmes completed a 3-point play the old-fashioned way to end the period and keep Texas on top, 41-36.
A pair of turnovers by Kansas to begin the quarter turned into four quick points for the Longhorns to start the final 10 minutes. Holmes added a layup to give Texas a 6-0 run and its first double-digit lead since the first half.
Wilson put KU’s deficit back in single digits with her second trey of the night, but Atkins answered with four-straight points to extend the Longhorn lead, 51-39. Despite the Jayhawks’ best efforts, a Wilson jumper at the two-and-a-half-minute mark would be the last Kansas points and ended any hopes of a rally to even the 2018 series.
The Jayhawks travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to face their second-straight ranked foe at No. 23 Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m., inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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