Kansas completes comeback, edges SEMO, 51-50
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Clutch free throw shooting pushed Kansas women’s basketball past Southeast Missouri for a 51-50 victory on Sunday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
After shooting just 26.7 percent in the third quarter, Kansas (8-1) had to battle back, relying on clutch free throw shooting in the final minutes in the victory. Senior guard Sydney Benoit was the final Jayhawk to shoot from the charity stripe. After making her one of her two attempts from the free throw line, Benoit gave Kansas a two-possession lead over the Redhawks (4-7) with just under six seconds to play.
Redshirt-sophomore center Tyler Johnson’s career night led the Jayhawks. The Leavenworth, Kansas native finished the night with 14 points (6-of-9) and five rebounds. Junior guards Christalah Lyons and Kylee Kopatich each netted eight points and dished out two assists for Kansas.
SEMO was led by senior guard Ashton Luttrull, who had a game-high 15 points and five rebounds. Senior forward Mandy Madden added eight points and eight rebounds in the Redhawks’ loss.
The Jayhawks tipped off their final game of a nine-game homestand with a layup from senior forward Chayla Cheadle. Southeast Missouri and Kansas battled back and forth throughout the first six and a half minutes until the Jayhawks knocked down four of their final five FGs of the quarter to go on a 10-4 run. Johnson regained an 8-7 KU lead with two-straight baskets after the Jayhawks had missed their last four field goals and SEMO had knocked down back-to-back buckets.
Lyons and Cheadle concluded Kansas’ 8-0 run with a jumper and a pair of free throws to take a five-point lead. The Redhawks kept the Jayhawks from extending their lead any further, splitting up junior center Chelsea Lott’s layup with a layup and jumper to stay within three. Kansas led SEMO, 14-11, going into the second period.
Following a Lyons jumper in the opening minutes of the second period, SEMO scored five-straight points off of a 3-pointer and jumper from Luttrull to tie the game up at 16. Johnson and Kopatich each knocked down shots for the Jayhawks to regain a four-point Kansas lead.
The Redhawks tied the game back up at 20 with a free throw from McCurdy and a long-range bucket from senior guard/forward Kaley Leyhue, but Kansas responded with a basket from junior guard Brianna Osorio, ending the Jayhawks three-minute scoring drought. Junior guard Austin Richardson knocked down a basket to put Kansas up 24-20. Defensively, KU held SEMO to just one field goal in the final three minutes, going into the locker room up, 28-25.
Kansas was scoreless for nearly five minutes to start the half, while SEMO went on a 6-0 run to take a 3-point lead over the Jayhawks. Johnson ended the Redhawks run, connecting on her next two baskets to take back the KU lead, but Southeast Missouri went on an 8-0 run to take a 39-32 lead. Kansas and SEMO traded off the next three buckets, while Kopatich added a free throw that would put the Jayhawks within four going into the final 10 minutes of the game.
The Jayhawks ran out to a 6-0 start to begin the final 10 minutes of the game to regain the lead, 43-41. Senior forward Deja Jones knocked down the first basket for the Redhawks nearly four minutes into the game. Kansas and SEMO continued battling back and forth throughout the final minutes, but the Jayhawks’ clutch shooting from the charity stripe pushed KU past Southeast Missouri, 51-50.
Kansas women’s basketball hits the road for the first time in the 2017-18 season, traveling to New York to tip off with St. John’s and Iona. The games will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network/ ESPN3 and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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