LAWRENCE, Kan. - A stifling defense and a lopsided rebounding margin proved to be Kansas' ticket to its first Big 12 victory of the season as the Jayhawks rolled past Texas Tech, 67-46, in historic Allen Fieldhouse Saturday night.
Kansas (8-8, 1-3 Big 12) limited Texas Tech (6-9, 0-4 Big 12) to an opponent season-low 29.4 percent shooting mark from the field and more than doubled the Red Raiders in total rebounds, 52-25, in a match-up of teams each looking for their first wins in league play.
Kansas freshman forward Caelynn Manning-Allen turned in the best performance of her young career with a season-highs in points (6) and rebounds (10) to join junior guard Asia Boyd (11) in double-digits for rebounds. Offensively, Kansas junior forward Chelsea Gardner led all scorers with 16 points, followed by senior guard CeCe Harper (14) and junior guard Natalie Knight (13).
On the other side of the court, TTU's junior guard Amber Battle lead the team with 15 points, and also led the team in rebounds with five.
The Jayhawks opened the contest with a jumper from Gardner, who chipped in the first eight for KU, and got a boost from sharp-shooter Knight, who helped change the pace of the first half with a three-point shot with 12:40 remaining, to make it 15-10. Kansas scored the next four points to push its lead to 19-10, the widest margin in the first half.
Texas Tech didn't surrender and attempted to close the gap. A field goal from freshman guard Diamond Lockhart pulled the Red Raiders within two with 5:34 remaining in the opening period, but Knight and Harper kept the Jayhawks alive in the waning minutes before the break. Both Harper and Knight drained a three-pointer apiece, securing KU's halftime edge over Texas Tech, 31-22.
Kansas continued to push its lead in the second half, making all six baskets in the first three minutes of the period. With 15:44 remaining, a lay-up from Jada Brown pushed the Jayhawks to 45-23.
The Kansas defense put a freeze on the Texas Tech offense in the opening minutes of the second half, holding the Red Raiders without a made field goal until the 13:29 mark.
The Jayhawks continued to push and saw their largest lead of the game at 7:19 in the second half, leading Texas Tech by 28 points.
Kansas' edge on the boards helped the Jayhawks to 17 second-chance points, and helped ease the sting of 18 team turnovers.
KU will continue Big 12 play on the road with a contest against the Texas Longhorns in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 15. The game will tipoff at 7 p.m. and a live broadcast of all the game-action can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
KANSAS STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER): Fr. Dakota Gonzalez (1/1), Sr. CeCe Harper (11/32), Jr. Bunny Williams (9/14), Jr. Chelsea Gardner (15/44) and Jr. Natalie Knight (16/69)
Improves Kansas' all-time record to 765-541.
Improves the Jayhawks' all-time conference record to 232-239.
Improves KU's all-time Big 12 record to 109-171 and 52-100 in conference play under head coach Bonnie Henrickson.
Gives the Jayhawks their sixth win all-time against Texas Tech and brings the all-time series to 16-6.
Improves the Jayhawks to 397-153 all-time in Allen Fieldhouse and 120-53 at home under Henrickson.
Improves Henrickson's record to 166-143 at KU and 324-205 overall.
Improves KU to 24-51 under Henrickson during the month of January.
Improves the Jayhawks record to 1-1 during the 2013-14 season when playing on Saturday and to 25-47 when playing on Saturday under Henrickson.
With the score deadlocked at 10, with just under 15 minutes to play in the first half, the Jayhawks separated themselves with a 9-0 run and held the Red Raiders scoreless until the 9:39 mark.
After Texas Tech cut the Kansas lead to three, 25-23, with 3:07 left in the first half, the Jayhawks went on a 6-0 run with back-to-back three pointers from Natalie Knight and CeCe Harper and held the Red Raiders scoreless for the remainder of the half to take a 31-22 lead into the break.
The Kansas defense continued to stifle Texas Tech into the second half, holding the Red Raiders without a field goal until the 13:29 mark. During that span, KU outscored TTU 17-3 to take a 21-point lead, 48-27.
Leading 54-33 with 10:51 remaining in the game, the Jayhawks knocked in seven straight to extend their lead to 28, 61-33, with 7:19 left in the game.
Kansas held Texas Tech to 46 points, which is the lowest point total of any opponent this season. The last time the Jayhawks held an opponent under 50 points was Jan. 23, 2013, when Texas scored 38.
The Jayhawks also held the Red Raiders to 29.4 percent shooting (15-of-51) for the game, making them the ninth opponent this season that KU has held under 40 percent shooting.
The Jayhawks recorded a season-high 52 rebounds, besting their previous high of 49 against Oral Roberts (11/10/13). KU's 52 rebounds were also more than double, TTU's 25 and is the largest rebounding margin this season for Kansas.
Junior Asia Boyd set a new career-high with 11 rebounds, surpassing her previous high of 10, which she set three times, most recently against Yale (12/29/13).
Freshman Dakota Gonzalez made the first start of her Kansas career.
Junior Chelsea Gardner scored the first eight points for the Jayhawks. The DeSoto, Texas native finished with a game-high 16 points.
Senior CeCe Harper recorded a game-high seven assists. The San Antonio, Texas native has reached the seven-assist mark eight times this season, including the last six games.
Junior Natalie Knight knocked in three shots from behind the arc. The Olathe, Kan. native is 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) behind the three-point line in the last two games.
Freshman Caelynn Manning-Allen recorded new season-high totals in points (six) and rebounds (10), besting her previous highs of four and four, respectively.