LAWRENCE, Kan. - Kansas showed no sign of rust returning from the Holiday break as the Jayhawks jumped out to a quick 11-0 lead over Yale en route to a 79-63 win over the Bulldogs in Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon.
Four Jayhawks finished the game in double figures led by junior forward Chelsea Gardner with 26 points, as KU improved to 7-5 and closed out non-conference play with consecutive wins. Gardner also pulled down 10 rebounds to post her fourth double-double of the season.
Junior guard Asia Boyd turned in her third double-double of her career and second of the season as she tied Gardner for game-high rebounding honors with 10, to go along with 17 points.
Yale dropped to 5-7 on the season with the loss.
KU sizzled from the field early as it made its first four shots of the game and seven of its first eight in taking the early 11-0 lead. Kansas stayed hot for the majority of the first half finishing the opening frame shooting 68.0 percent (17-of-25) from the floor as the Jayhawks took a commanding 45-26 lead into the break.
Boyd and fellow junior guard, Natalie Knight, got the ball rolling for KU as the duo combined for Kansas' first seven points of the game. The pair each finished the first half in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively, off of 9-of-10 shooting from the floor. Gardner also finished the first frame in double digits with 11 points.
Meanwhile, the Kansas defense put the freeze on Yale as the Bulldogs opened the game missing their first eight shots from the field and shot just 30 percent (10-of-33) from the field in the opening period of play.
The Jayhawks opened the second half the same way as the first, connecting on their first four buckets, extending the lead to 53-29 on back-to-back layups from senior guard CeCe Harper. A layup by freshman guard Keyla Morgan at the 16:55 mark of the second half gave KU a 26-point advantage, its largest of the afternoon.
Yale scored 14 unanswered points over a four-minute span in the second half behind seven points from Mission Woods, Kan., native, Janna Graf, to trim the KU lead down to 11 points with 5:07 to play in the game. The Jayhawks regrouped behind three-consecutive free throws from Harper and freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez to thwart the Bulldog run and regain control of the game.
Knight joined Gardner and Boyd in double figures for Kansas with 14 points. The Olathe, Kan., native dished a career-best eight assists and also led all players with five steals in the win. Morgan tied her career-high with 11 points, while Harper chipped in with seven points and seven helpers.
Kansas finished the game shooting 57.7 percent (30-of-52) from the field, and dominated inside, outscoring Yale 44-20 in the paint. The Bulldogs shot 36.9 percent (24-of-65) from the floor for the game. KU also held an edge on the boards, pulling down 38 rebounds to Yale's 34.
Graf and Sarah Halejian led Yale with 17 points each, while Katie Werner led the Bulldogs on the boards with seven caroms.
The Jayhawks will return to action Thursday, Jan. 2, when they ring in 2014 and open Big 12 Conference play with a home game against West Virginia. Game time is slated for 7 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse with a live broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network and ESPN3. It can also be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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KANSAS STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER): Fr. Keyla Morgan (4/4), Sr. CeCe Harper (7/28), Jr. Asia Boyd (9/9), Fr. Caelynn Manning-Allen (1/1) and Jr. Natalie Knight (12/65)
Improves Kansas' all-time record to 764-538.
Makes KU's all-time non-conference record to 331-153 and 93-27 in non-conference play under head coach Bonnie Henrickson.
Gives the Jayhawks their first ever win against Yale.
Improves Henrickson's record to 165-140 at KU and 323-202 overall.
Increases the Jayhawks' all-time record in Allen Fieldhouse to 396-152 and 119-52 at home under Henrickson.
Moves KU to 181-79 all-time and 47-18 under Henrickson during the month of December.
Ups the Jayhawks' record to 4-1 during the 2013-14 season when playing on Sunday and 50-24 when playing on the first day of the week under Henrickson.
The Kansas defense held Yale scoreless for the first 4:05 of the first half. During that time, the Jayhawks scored the first 11 points to take the early advantage.
With their lead at 12, 30-18, and with 7:15 remaining to play in the first half, the Jayhawks held the Bulldogs scoreless for nearly five minutes. Kansas went on a 10-0 run to take a 22-point lead, 40-18, with 3:03 left in the half.
Four Jayhawks scored in double-figures: Chelsea Gardner (26), Asia Boyd (17), Natalie Knight (14) and Keyla Morgan (11). That marks the third time in 2013-14 that four Kansas players have scored in double-figures in a single game and the second time in as many games.
Kansas outrebounded Yale (38-34) for the ninth time in 12 games that the Jayhawks have outrebounded their opponent this season.
The Jayhawk defense held Yale to 36.9 percent shooting, making that the sixth time this season that Kansas has held its opponent under 38 percent from the field.
The Kansas offense recorded 79 points, marking the sixth time this season KU has reached the 70-point total. The Jayhawks are 109-13 under Henrickson when scoring at least 70 points.
Junior Asia Boyd tied a career-high with 10 rebounds to go along with 17 points for her second double-double of the 2013-14 season and third of her career. The Detroit, Mich., native has reached the 10-rebound mark three times in her career, with the previous one coming earlier this season against Oral Roberts (11/10).
Junior Chelsea Gardner recorded a game-high 26 points and added 10 rebounds to record her fourth double-double of the 2013-14 season and 10th of her career. The DeSoto, Texas native is averaging 22.8 points per game during Kansas' last four games, after recording a season-low total of two against Duke (11/30).
Freshman Caelynn Manning-Allen made the first start of her Kansas career.
Freshman Keyla Morgan tied her season-highs in points (11) and steals (two), matching her totals against Duke (11/30). She also set new season bests in assists (two), eclipsing her previous high total of one against the Blue Devils (11/30).
Junior Natalie Knight made her first five shots from the field. The Olathe, Kan., native finished the game with 14 points to tie her season high, previously set against Texas Southern (12/12). Knight added a career-high eight assists to surpass her previous high of seven earlier this year against Oral Roberts (11/10). Defensively, Knight set a season-best mark with five steals, to best her previous mark of four against Minnesota (11/20) and matched her season-high of two blocks, which she had recorded three previous times.