NORMAN, Okla. - Senior guard Markisha Hawkins recorded a career-high 22 points leading Kansas' second-half comeback, but the Jayhawks late rally fell short in the final minutes and for the second-straight game against Oklahoma lost by three, 64-61, Saturday night inside the Lloyd Noble Center.
Hawkins poured in 16 of her career-best 22 points in the second half and added six rebounds for Kansas (12-15, 5-10 Big 12) as the Jayhawks came up just short against Oklahoma (17-11, 8-7 Big 12).
The Kansas defense kept the Jayhawks in the game until the final minute, holding the Sooners to just 34.4 percent shooting (11-of-64), well under their Big 12-leading percentage of 44.5.
Junior forward Chelsea Gardner was a big factor on the defensive end of the court, blocking four shots to tie her season-high. Gardner has collected 116 blocked shots in her career and is seventh on Kansas' all-time blocks list. The DeSoto, Texas, native also added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Jayhawks. Senior guard CeCe Harper also finished the game with double-digit points, scoring 14 and adding three assists.
Oklahoma got a big performance from junior guard Sharane Campbell, who scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Senior center Nicole Griffin dominated the paint for the Sooners, who outrebounded the Jayhawks 48-25, finishing with 13 points and 14 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the 2013-14 season. Senior guard Morgan Hook rounded out the offensive effort for Oklahoma, scoring 15 points, dishing out three assists and grabbing three rebounds.
The Sooners opened up the game with the first four points, but the Jayhawks responded with the next five, to take their first lead of the game, 5-4. Kansas maintained its advantage behind Harper, who scored eight of the first 13 Kansas points to give KU a, 13-12, heading into the second media timeout. KU was finally able to gain some separation with a three-pointer from Knight to give the Jayhawks their largest lead thus far, 22-18, with just over six minutes to play in the half.
With the shot clock ticking down and the game clock showing just over two minutes left in the half, Knight delivered her second three of the half to put the Kansas lead at five, 29-24. The Sooners managed just one basket for the rest of the half and the Jayhawks took a, 31-28, lead into the locker room. Harper led the Kansas offense with 10 points in the first half and the KU defense held Oklahoma, the top field goal percentage team in the Big 12, to just 28.6 percent shooting (10-for-35) in the half.
The Sooners opened up the second half on a 7-2 run, capped off with a three-point play from freshman guard Gioya Carter to take a 35-33 lead into the first media timeout. The Sooner returned to form as they built their largest lead of the game, 39-33, and forced a KU timeout with 14:28 left in the game. Out of the timeout, freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez ended the Kansas drought with her first basket of the game to bring the Jayhawks back within three, 39-36.
The Sooners answered with six-straight before a Kansas response from Hawkins to put them ahead by seven, 45-38. On the next possession, Hawkins delivered again, this time with a three-point play to pull KU within four, 45-41, with 11:24 left in the game. A Kansas steal and a layup by Hawkins brought the Jayhawks within two. Carter would answer for the Sooners, delivering her second three-point play of the half to put OU back in front by five, 51-46.
Hawkins continued to stay hot late in the second half, delivering a bucket every time the Jayhawks were in need to keep Kansas within striking distance, 57-54. With just under a minute left to play and the Jayhawks down by four, Harper drove into the lane and dished off to Gardner who laid it in to bring the Jayhawks within one possession. Oklahoma answered with the shot clock ticking down to bring the lead back to four and force another KU timeout. The Jayhawks were unable to convert and the Sooners escaped with the win, 64-61.
The Jayhawks will return home to face Kansas State on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in the final installment of the Sunflower Showdown for the 2013-14 season.
KANSAS STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER): Jr. Asia Boyd (12/12), Sr. CeCe Harper (21/42), Sr. Markisha Hawkins (9/15), Jr. Chelsea Gardner (25/53) and Jr. Natalie Knight (26/79)
Makes Kansas' all-time record 769-548.
Makes the Jayhawks' all-time conference record 236-246.
Makes KU's all-time Big 12 record 113-178 and 56-107 in conference play under head coach Bonnie Henrickson.
Gives the Sooners their third-straight win over the Jayhawks and gives them a four-game advantage in the all-time series, 33-29.
Makes Kansas 369-389 all-time when playing on the road and 46-92 under Henrickson.
Makes Henrickson's record 170-150 at KU and 328-212 overall.
Kansas swatted at least four shots for the fifth game in a row, and has blocked at least four shots in six of the last seven contests and 18 times this season.
The Kansas defense held the Sooners to just 28.6 percent shooting in the first half (10-for-35) and 34.4 percent (22-for-64) for the game, which is well below their Big 12 leading average of 44.5 percent.
With 11:02 left in the game and the Jayhawks trailing by six, 47-41, Kansas held Oklahoma scoreless until the 7:28 mark to pull within one, 47-46.
The Jayhawks 25 rebounds is their lowest total in any game this season. Their previous low of 26 came at Texas (1/15/14).
The Jayhawks held the Sooners without a three pointer, marking the first time this season that the Jayhawks have held their opponent scoreless from beyond the arc.
Junior Chelsea Gardner scored 12 points for the Jayhawks to extend her streak of double-figure scoring to 12 games. On the defensive end, the forward tied a season-high with four blocks, matching her total against West Virginia (1/4/14) to move into seventh on Kansas' all-time blocks list with 116.
Senior CeCe Harper dished out three assists to move her into ninth for assists in a single season at Kansas with 143.
Junior Natalie Knight made 2-of-3 shots from beyond the arc for the Jayhawks. She has shot 50 percent or better from the three-point line in five of the last six games.
Senior guard Markisha Hawkins scored five-straight points, capped off by a three-point play with 11:24 left in the game. The Little Rock, Ark., native finished the game with a career-high 22 points to best her previous mark of 16 against Central Michigan (11/28/13). Hawkins scored 16 of her 22 points in the second half included a three-pointer at the final buzzer. She recorded a career-high eight field goals, eclipsing her previous mark of five, which she set twice, most recently at Kansas State (1/25/14).