LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior forward Chelsea Gardner picked up a double-double to lead the Kansas Jayhawks as they defeated Pittsburg State, 85-54, in their first exhibition contest of the 2013-14 season, Wednesday night inside historic Allen Fieldhouse.
Gardner, a DeSoto, Texas native, scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Kansas over Pittsburg State. Gardner also contributed on the defensive end of the court, blocking three shots in 28 minutes.
In addition to Gardner, the Jayhawks had four other players score in double-figures. Junior guard Asia Boyd knocked in 15 points, which would have tied a career-high, and grabbed seven rebounds. Freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez turned in an all-around effort in her Jayhawk debut, finishing with 12 points (5-of-8 shooting), five rebounds, four assists and two steals in just 15 minutes. Junior guard Natalie Knight made her return from an ACL injury that sidelined her for the last 15 games of the 2012-13 season and finished with seven points on 2-of-3 shooting, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 26 minutes.
The Gorillas were led by freshman forward Lizzy Jeronimus, who finished the night with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Jeronimus, a Lenexa, Kan., native, also contributed on the defensive end with six rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
The Jayhawks came out of the gate hot with an 8-0 run before the Gorillas were able to put in their first bucket with 17:19 left in the first half to cut the KU lead to six, 8-2. A three-point play from Gardner kept the Jayhawks rolling and brought the Jayhawk lead to 10, 18-8, with just under 13 minutes to play in the half. Hot shooting from Boyd extended the KU first-half lead to as many as 18 before Pittsburg State was able to bring it back to 16, 45-29, before halftime. Boyd led the Kansas attack in the first half, heading into the break with 11 points (3-of-5 shooting), five rebounds and two assists. The Jayhawk defense held the Gorillas to 33 percent (10-30) shooting in the first half and shot a sizzling 50 percent (17-34) of their own.
The Kansas offense continued to fire on all cylinders to open up the second half. The Jayhawks connected on their first six baskets, including three-straight from Gardner to bring their lead to 21, 60-39, and force a Pittsburg State timeout with 16:04 left in the game. Gardner continued to assert her dominance over the smaller Gorilla defenders and with just under 12 minutes left in the game, the Jayhawks went on a 19-2 run that lasted just over six minutes to put the game out of reach and build their lead to as many as 35. Dakota Gonzalez turned in an all-around effort to lead Kansas in the second half, finishing the period with 10 points (4-of-6 shooting), five rebounds, four assists and two steals. KU shot 59 percent in the second half while holding PSU to just 27 percent from the field.
The win for Kansas gives the Jayhawks a 43-9 record in exhibition contests and a 5-0 ledger in exhibition contests against the Gorillas.
The Jayhawks will play one more tune-up before the official start of the 2013-14 regular season, Sunday, Nov. 3, when they take on Emporia State at 2 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse.
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Kansas 85, Pittsburg State 54
Oct. 30, 2013
KANSAS STARTERS: Jr. Asia Boyd, So. Lamaria Cole, Jr. Bunny Williams, Jr. Chelsea Gardner and Jr. Natalie Knight
… Makes KU's all-time record in exhibition games 43-9 overall and 37-9 in Allen Fieldhouse.
… Marks the Jayhawks' 17th-straight exhibition win.
… Improved head coach Bonnie Hernrickson's record to 18-1 in home exhibition games while at the helm of the Kansas program.
… Makes Kansas a perfect 5-0 against Pittsburg State in exhibition contests.
-- Knight connected with Gardner for a layup for the team's first basket of the night. The bucket sparked an 8-0 run over the first 2:40 of the game.
-- The KU defense forced a shot clock violation with 18:00 left in the first half.
-- Kansas opened up the second half by connecting on its first six shot attempts, including three-straight buckets from Gardner.
-- The Jayhawks went on a 19-2 run in the second half that lasted just over six minutes.
-- KU outrebounded the Gorillas, 48-35. The Jayhawks were 15-2 during the 2012-13 season and are 110-41 under Henrickson when they outrebound their opponent.
-- Knight saw her first game action since Jan. 30, when she tore her ACL. She finished the contest with seven points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 26 minutes.
-- Gardner converted a three-point play with 12:42 left in the first half. The junior forward finished the night with a double-double, totaling 18 points and 11 rebounds.
-- Freshmen Jada Brown, Dakota Gonzalez, Dylan Gonzalez, Caelynn Manning-Allen and Keyla Morgan all saw their first game action donning the Crimson and Blue.