The Jayhawks battled back from 16-points down and won the game in overtime behind Chelsea Gardner’s 29 points.
In their previous meeting with the Kansas St. Wildcats, the Kansas Jayhawks (13-18) didn’t quit then either. They fought back in a resilient effort, despite falling 76-68. It happened again tonight, but it ended in a different outcome.
Kansas trailed 30-14 with 7:31 remaining in the game, and something changed, they started hitting shots and then were off to the races. They closed the deficit to just 34-31 at halftime. Ending to the half on a 17-5 run over the last 5 1/2 minutes.
The Wildcats continued feeding Breanna Lewis in the post, she finished with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting. She fouled on late in overtime. Katya Leick did her best to help the Wildcats keep their composure. She was 5-of-8 from three-point range, finishing with 17 points.
Defending Latricia Romero was a tough task for the Jayhawks tonight. Some how, some way, they did it. They limited the freshman phenom to just 4-of-21 shooting. She was involved in other facets of the game, but was really unable to help her team offensively scoring.
The Kansas Jayhawks (13-18) fought back from 16-points down in the first half to push it close at halftime.
Kansas State started the second half off like the first half, building a 42-33 lead with 17:13 left in regulation. That’s when the Jayhawks fought back once gain. Chelsea Gardner scored seven of the 11 points for the Jayhawks during a 11-2 run that left the game tied at 44-44 all with 14;00 remaining.
Lewis tipped in the ball with no time remaining to force overtime at 73-all.
Chelsea Gardner, the senior didn’t quit. even with four fouls. She found a way to battle down low, play with control and lead the Jayhawks to the victory.
It was a slow start for the Jayhawks, they didn’t hit their first shot until the 13:44 mark in the first half. The Wildcats continued to aggression, getting to the free throw line and kicking it out of the paint for threes.
Trailing 82-76 with 2:36 left in overtime, coach Bonnie Henrickson called a time out, regrouped her girls and that was the start of a furious comeback.
Gardner finished with 29 points 12-of-24 shooting, including 5-of-5 from the free throw line. CeCe Harper was fantastic for the Jayhawks as well, chipping in 3-of-3 from behind the arc, and 20 points.
Four different starters scored in double figures for the Jayhawks.
First is was Natalie Knight’s and-one opportunity. Then Asya Boyd attacking, getting the and-one situation. They left the knock out blow to the Wildcats when Gardner was able to get to the free throw line and ice the game at 87-84 with 13.3 seconds remaining.
Wesemann’s three-point attempt int he waning seconds missed off and the Jayhawks survived to fight another day.
It’s the first overtime game to open the tournament since the inception of the Big 12 Championships (1996).
Kansas now turns their attention to the No. 1 seeded Baylor Bears. They’ll do battle tomorrow, Saturday March 8th at 1:30 p.m. That game can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Kansas beat the Baylor Bears back on January 19th 76-60.
For the Wildcats, their season comes to and end at 11-18. They were the league’s youngest team, and will move forward with a group of really great freshman turning into sophomores. Lewis, Romero, and Wedemann, all freshman, will provide the rock to a solid foundation for Deb Patterson going forward.
Kansas State ends their season at 11-19.
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