LAWRENCE, Kan. — In a game where Kansas never had the lead, the Jayhawks attempted to mount a comeback before falling to Oklahoma State, 72-62, on Saturday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse.
KU (11-5, 1-4) came within a possession of Oklahoma State (12-4, 3-2), but the fourth quarter rally was halted and the Cowgirls escaped with the 10-point victory.
The Jayhawks struggled to find their momentum early on throughout the first half, after mishandling the ball to begin the day, committing eight turnovers, and found themselves trailing the Cowgirls by as much as 14 points in the second quarter.
The deficit that Kansas faced in the first half was due largely to Oklahoma State’s 3-point shooting after OSU netted six baskets from behind the arch on nine attempts, good for a 66.7 percentage. The Cowgirls finished the day on 9-for-15 (60 percent) from beyond the arc, the highest percentage KU has allowed its opponents to shoot from behind the arch this season. Coming into today’s match, Kansas led the Big 12 in 3-point defense, holding opponents to only 25.2 percent.
Coming out of the locker room trailing by nine at halftime, the Jayhawks started to slowly chip away at the Cowgirls’ lead with the help of 3-point shooting by seniors Austin Richardson and Kylee Kopatich and a pair of layups by Christalah Lyons.
After a pair of good free throws by Kopatich and a 3-point basket by junior Mariane De Carvalho, Kansas found themselves trailing by only two points with a little over five minutes remaining in the game. It was not enough, however, as Oklahoma State stole the ball away and buried a 3-point basket to put the Jayhawks away for good, who fell short of the comeback.
Despite forcing Oklahoma State to commit their second-highest amount of turnovers on the season with 20, Kansas struggled to stop the trio of sophomore Vivian Gray, sophomore Braxtin Miller, and redshirt-freshman Ja’Mee Asberry, who combined to score 64 points for the Cowgirls.
Kansas had four Jayhawks record double-figures in the scoring category in Richardson (12), Lyons (14), Kopatich (10) and sixth year Jessica Washington (10).
While leading the team with 14 points, Lyons also led the team in assists (5) and steals (3) and added a rebound. In addition to scoring 10 points, Kopatich ended the afternoon one rebound shy of a double-double after tallying 10 points and nine rebounds.
- Oklahoma State shot 71.4 percent (5-of-7) from the 3-point line in the first 10 minutes of play, which is the best 3-point shooting percentage by a Kansas opponent in the first quarter this season.
- The Cowgirls shot 60 percent (9-of-15) from long range against the Jayhawks, which is the best 3-point field goal percentage by a KU opponent this season.
- Kansas trailed 19-10 after the first period, which is only the third time this season that the Jayhawks have trailed after the opening quarter, all coming during conference play.
- For the second time during Big 12 play, four Jayhawks notched double-digit scoring efforts. Senior Christalah Lyons (14), senior Austin Richardson (12), sixth year Jessica Washington (10) and senior Kylee Kopatich (10) were the same four who had double figures against Iowa State (1/5).
- Kansas forced 20 Oklahoma State turnovers, which marks the eighth time this season that the Jayhawks have forced at least 20 turnovers.
- The Jayhawks connected on only 23.1 percent of their attempts from the floor in the first quarter, the lowest shooting percentage in the first period since Kansas shot 22.2 percent in the first 10 minutes at Nebraska (12/5).
- With two triples against Oklahoma State, Kopatich has made a 3-pointer in 12 of the 15 games she’s appeared in.
- Kopatich and Washington have both made treys in eight games this season, including this afternoon where the duo made two triples each.
- Lyons dished out at least five assists for the seventh time this season with five against the Cowgirls.
- Kopatich fell one rebound shy of a double-double ending the night with 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider
On their offensive game:
“I thought, offensively, we took terrible shots in the first quarter. We gave them transition baskets. I thought (Ja’Mae) Asberry was the key to the game tonight for them. I thought she really asserted herself. They had been searching for a third scorer and they have two terrific scorers in (Vivian) Gray and (Braxtin) Miller. She was the difference tonight. I believe started the game with back-to-back threes.”
On being down two and giving up transition three:
“That’s a big play. You can’t turn the ball over in those situations and without looking at the film I can’t speak to what the miscommunication or poor execution was involved with that.”
On Thomas and Mitchell:
“We are really confident in Aniya’s ability to defend. We are confident in Brooklyn’s ability on the offensive end. Brooklyn needs to grow and mature better on the defensive end. We need to get something out of Aniya offensively. Aniya was good in the Baylor game. At Kansas State, she had a great second quarter. She is closer and closer on a daily basis for her role to significantly increase. Any of those young guards, when Kylee (Kopatich), Jessica (Washington) and Christalah (Lyons) are playing well, it’s hard for them to take their minutes. Tonight, those three didn’t play well and it was an easier decision to have those two young guards in the game more.”
On going into Texas after a loss:
“Every single one of these (games), you better approach with great emphasis. This is a hard league. I am extremely disappointed with how we played at home and we have to figure out a way to be much tougher, especially in
Senior // Forward // Austin Richardson
On what OSU did to get ahead early:
“I think it was more transition. We did not transition back fast enough, so they were wide open to shoot those 3-point shots and layups.”
On if they left some points off the board:
“I believe so. Some of our shots were not falling, but we have to keep our heads up and keep shooting because they are going to fall.”
Freshman // Guard // Aniya Thomas
On coach putting her in with just a few minutes left in the game as a freshman:
“I was excited. I wanted to win this game so bad. I was trying to go out there and do whatever we could to win the game.”
On how you learn from today’s game against OSU:
“We have to come out harder and we have to start out on top doing our thing, playing defense and execute on offense.”
Oklahoma State Head Coach Jim Littell
“Really good win for our team. Got a lot of respect for Brandon [Schneider] and the way he coaches. They are very difficult for us to guard. They get downhill and then they have shooters spotted up on the wing and it makes it very difficult to guard. I thought our kids stuck to the game plan and did a great job. Ended up winning the rebounding battle. We thought that was very important.”
On what he saw from Kansas after the first quarter:
“I think they started hitting some shots. Got real aggressive going downhill to the basket. Christalah Lyons is really hard for us to guard, especially when she comes off a ball screen. I thought they did a good job. We lost [Kylee] Kopatich a couple times and we know she is very dangerous. But for the most part, we thought we did a good job. They had four kids averaging double figures coming into the game and those same four kids got that. Nobody went crazy on us and got in the 20s. Good players are going to score points, but I thought we did a good job managing their guards for the most part.”
The Jayhawks head to No. 11 Texas to face their third nationally-ranked opponent of the season. Kansas and the Longhorns will tip off on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m., inside the Frank Erwin Center. The game will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.