Kansas loses heartbreaker at Oklahoma State, 74-70

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STILLWATER, Okla. – Kansas women’s basketball put forth its best offensive effort during Big 12 Conference and erased an 18-point deficit, but Oklahoma State held on to its lead late in the game to come out on the winning end, 74-70, on Wednesday evening inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Redshirt junior guard Jessica Washington sparked KU’s near come-from-behind win with 23 points in the final half. She connected on 6-of-12 attempts from long range, as the Jayhawks (6-14, 0-9 Big 12) stormed back into the game and gave the Cowgirls (13-6, 3-5 Big 12) a scare for the final 20 minutes. After outscoring OSU, 23-16, in the third quarter, KU’s offense came alive and tied the game twice, but the Jayhawks couldn’t manage to take the lead as the game wore on.
For most of the final period, it was a one-possession ballgame and after trailing by as many as 18 in the opening half, cut the deficit to one with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation. Despite every effort to earn its first league victory of the season, Kansas couldn’t complete the comeback and leave Stillwater with the win.
Washington ended the night with 26 points to lead all scorers for the sixth time in her last nine outings. She shot 50 percent (10-of-20) from the floor for the third time in 2016-17, while also recording a pair of steals and assists. Redshirt sophomore guard McKenzie Calvert added 15, including a 4-of-5 mark from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Kylee Kopatich rounded out the Jayhawks in double figures after netting 10 points, her sixth game this season to reach double digits.
Sophomore guard Karli Wheeler led the Cowgirls with 22 points after connecting on 3-of-5 attempts from long range and converting all seven tries from the free throw line. Junior center Kaylee Jensen registered a double-double after recording 19 points and 13 rebounds. Jensen made 6-of-12 (.500) shots from the floor. Junior forward Mandy Coleman was the final Cowgirl to net double figures after scoring 19 points behind 6-of-10 effort from the field.
After a pair of makes from the 3-point line, Oklahoma State got out in front, 7-4, in the first quarter. After losing Washington, its leading scoring going into the contest, due to foul trouble in the opening minutes, KU was able to keep the game within reach for most of the quarter. It wasn’t until the final minute of the period, that OSU’s advantage reached double-digits. Calvert brought the Jayhawks’ deficit back to single-digit with a jumper from the elbow, but OSU’s Jensen answered with a jumper of her own at the buzzer, sending the Cowgirls into the second period with a 23-12 lead.
Calvert scored first coming out of the break at the end of the quarter, as KU’s defense went on to hold the Cowgirls scoreless for the first four minutes. Kansas forced 11 OSU turnovers in the first 13 minutes of the contest, but was unable to capitalize on Oklahoma State’s miscues and chip away at its deficit. By the end of the game, Kansas has forced a total of 24 turnovers.
Washington reentered the game in the final minutes of the first half and sank her first 3-pointer of the night to end an OSU run and spark five unanswered Kansas points. Despite its slow start to the period, Oklahoma State maintained its double-digit advantage and headed into intermission with a 34-21 lead. Calvert and Kopatich paced KU’s offense in the first 20 minutes of play with six and five points, respectively. The duo combined for three of KU’s five steals.
Junior guard Chayla Cheadle started off the second half with a drive the basket, good for the first points of the half. Cheadle’s layup sparked a 9-0 run coming out of the break, including seven-straight points from Washington, to cut Oklahoma State’s lead, 34-30. After staying within two possessions of the Cowgirls for several minutes, a 6-0 run by Calvert and Washington tied the ballgame, 41-41, with just over two minutes to play in the third period. After tying the game, OSU went on a 9-3 run to end period and headed into the final quarter with a 50-44 lead over KU.
Oklahoma State got on the board first in the final period, but KU quickly stole the momentum with a 9-0 run, including back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Timeka O’Neal. Kansas’ nine unanswered points tied the game for the second time of the night, 52-52, with just under eight minutes to play. With each attempt that Kansas made to take the lead, Oklahoma State had an answer and wouldn’t relinquish its advantage. Calvert sank a pair of free throws to make it a two-point contest with 1:30 left on the game clock, but OSU once again found a way to keep the score in its favor as the time ticked off the clock.
With 27 seconds left to play and down by four, Washington made her sixth triple of the night, which brought KU within one of the home team. Following Washington’s trey, the Cowgirls converted 2-of-2 attempts from the charity stripe to extend its lead to three. On the next possession, Washington had two tries to tie the game, but couldn’t get either attempt to fall and Oklahoma State held on to win, 74-70.

Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse to host its first meeting of the year against Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 28. The Jayhawks and Lady Raiders tipoff at 11 a.m., on FOX Sports Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.

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