MANHATTAN, Kan. – Junior Chelsea Gardner helped Kansas women's basketball to its third-consecutive win over in-state rival Kansas State with her third double-double in as many games. The Jayhawks (10-10, 2-5 Big 12) defeated Kansas State (8-11, 2-6 Big 12) 71-64 in the Dillon's Sunflower Showdown on Sunday afternoon inside Bramlage Coliseum.
Gardner led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season and 12th of her career. The DeSoto, Texas native also had two blocked shots in the victory.
In addition to Gardner, KU had four other players finish the game in double-figures led by senior guard CeCe Harper, who finished the game with 16 points, a career-high eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. Junior guard Asia Boyd knocked in 11 points, while junior guard Natalie Knight recorded 10 points, grabbed a career-high eight rebounds and dished out five assists. Senior guard Markisha Hawkins was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field to add 10 points for Kansas.
K-State was led by freshman guard Leticia Romero, who finished the game with 17 points, tied a career-high with eight assists and grabbed five rebounds for the Wildcats. Also finishing in double-figures for K-State was senior forward Katya Leick who recorded 12 points, nine rebounds and two steals.
The Jayhawks overcame a slow start that saw both teams trading baskets early in the first half. Kansas took control of the game and the lead with a quick 6-0 run sparked by a jumper from Knight as the Jayhawks led 15-9 with 10:27 left to play until half time.
The Wildcats answered with six-straight points of their own to pull within one, 21-20, with 5:54 remaining, but Gardner ended the run with her sixth bucket of the opening half. Boyd followed with three points the old-fashioned way to extend the Jayhawk lead back to six with just under four minutes to play in the first half. The Jayhawks headed into the locker room with a six-point lead, 32-26 over K-State. Gardner led KU with 17 points in the first half and was two rebounds shy of a double-double.
In the second half, Gardner went to the bench early with her third personal foul. The Kansas offense got a spark from Boyd, who drove to the basket and delivered her second three-point play of the game to extend the Jayhawks lead to 37-29 with 16:47 left in the game.
After Boyd picked up her third foul, Hawkins took over on offense with the two leading scorers on the bench. The Little Rock, Ark. native knocked in her fifth basket in as many attempts to extend Kansas' lead to double digits with 12:58 left in the game. However, just like her teammates, Hawkins picked up her third foul and was sent to the bench with just over 11 minutes to play in the game.
Despite their foul trouble, the Jayhawks were able to build their lead to 55-41 with 7:28 left in the game. With Gardner and Boyd waiting at the scorer's table to check in, the Wildcats recorded back-to-back buckets to get within 10. Gardner returned to the floor and scored the Jayhawks next four points to maintain KU's lead. K-State made one last effort to get back in the game with eight-straight points to pull within six, 61-55, with 1:21 left in the game, but it was too late as the Jayhawks closed out the Wildcats, 71-64.
The Jayhawks will return home on Tuesday, Jan. 28, to take on Texas at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse.