LAWRENCE, Kan. - A second-half rally by junior guard Asia Boyd kept the Jayhawks close as they fell to No. 18 Purdue, 71-68, inside Allen Fieldhouse Sunday evening.
Kansas (5-5) saw a strong offensive performance from Boyd in the second half, where she put up 15 of her 17 points on the board. She also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out two assists. Sophomore guard Lamaria Cole also provided a spark late, recording nine points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting in just 11 minutes. Although quiet in the final 20 minutes due to foul trouble, junior forward Chelsea Gardner also knocked in 17 points and grabbed rebounds.
Purdue (7-2) was held to a shooting percentage of 37 percent from the field, the least since they played then-No. 5 Stanford on Nov. 26. Senior guard Courtney Moses led the Boilermakers with 21 points, 12 of which came from behind the arc.
To start the game, the Boilermakers were quick to attack the basket as Moses put in the first two points of the game. Sophomore guard April Wilson followed Moses' effort when she knocked in a three-pointer. Gardner quickly answered by sinking in a lay-up after she was fouled. At the line, she chalked up a three-point play.
With 15:15 left to play in the first half, senior guard CeCe Harper stole the ball from KK Houser and answered with a lay-up at the other end. Her basket provided a spark for the Jayhawks to go on a 9-2 run, which made the score 18-9. Freshman guard Keyla Morgan got the crowd fired up again when she knocked down a three-point basket and helped the Jayhawks to a 27-17 lead - the largest of the game.
In the final minutes of the first frame, the two teams traded baskets, but it would not prove to be enough for the Boilermakers as Kansas led 33-24 going into the break. The Jayhawk defense was strong, allowing the least point total in the first half for Purdue since its first game on Nov. 10 against West Lafayette (26). The Boilermakers shot only 31 percent from the field and allowed the Jayhawks to pull down 18 defensive rebounds.
While Kansas had a strong defensive effort, it was also strong on offense and was led by Gardner who had 11 points. The Jayhawks took advantage of the free throw line making 5-of-5 free throws in the first 20 minutes.
The second half started much like the first, with a Boilermaker knocking in the first points. The Jayhawks allowed their opponent to come within one, when Boyd sank in a lay-up to hold onto the lead for a few seconds longer. Purdue's Moses hit a three-pointer at the other end to tie the game, 37-37.
Kansas was quick in transition when Boyd stole the ball and went coast to coast for a lay-up and a foul. At the line she accomplished another three-point play for Kansas. She was sent to the line not even a minute later where she sank one shot. After Boyd's free throw, the ball was knocked out of bounds by Purdue, which resulted in another two points for the Jayhawks.
With the score tied again 46-46, Purdue's Houser was sent to the line where she knocked in one shot and took back the lead for the first time since the first two minutes of the game. The Boilermakers widened their lead to five with a lay-up by junior forward Liza Clemons at the 8:52 mark.
With the game still close, Harper assisted Boyd who put in a lay-up and brought the lead back to Kansas (58-56), which forced a Purdue time out. After the break, Houser answered with a trey and the two teams continued to go back and forth deep into the remaining minutes of the game. Despite multiple ties and lead changes, Kansas couldn't handle the offensive efforts of Purdue as it fell, 71-68.
The Jayhawks will continue their home stand when they face Tulsa on Dec. 22, inside historic Allen Fieldhouse. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.
Kansas 68, Purdue 71
Dec. 15, 2013
KANSAS STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER): Fr. Keyla Morgan (2-2), Sr. CeCe Harper (5-26), Jr. Asia Boyd (7-7), Jr. Chelsea Gardner (10-39) and Jr. Natalie Knight (10-63)
Drops the Jayhawks' all-time record to 762-538.
Moves KU's all-time non-conference record to 328-153 and 91-27 in non-conference play under head coach Bonnie Henrickson.
Gives Purdue a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series. Purdue has now won the last two contests against the Jayhawks, also defeating Kansas in 1999, 55-41, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers went on to win their only national championship that season.
Makes Henrickson's record 163-140 at KU and 321-202 overall.
Dips Jayhawks' all-time record in Allen Fieldhouse to 393-152 and 117-51 under Henrickson when playing at home.
Drops Kansas to 179-79 all-time and 45-18 under Henrickson during the month of December.
Reduces the Jayhawks' record to 2-1 during the 2013-14 season when playing on Sunday and 48-24 when playing on the first day of the week under Henrickson.
With the score tied at nine and 15:53 remaining in the first half, the Jayhawks held the Boilermakers scoreless for the next 3:38 of play and went on an 8-0 run to take an 18-9 lead.
Trailing by five, 54-49, with 8:52 left in the game, Kansas strung together seven-straight points to tie the game at 56 with 7:04 remaining.
The Jayhawks blocked a season-high eight shots against the Boilermakers, eclipsing their previous mark of seven against Texas Southern (12/12).
Chelsea Gardner recorded three points the old-fashioned way for the third time in the last two games, with 18:48 left in the first half. The junior forward scored KU's first five points and finished the game with 17 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and one steal.
Asia Boyd knocked in a three-point play of her own with 13:33 left in the game. The junior guard finished the game with 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one block.
Lamaria Cole scored all nine of her points in the second half. The junior guard was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field in just 11 minutes on the hardwood.
Freshman guard Dakota Gonzalez set season-best marks with three rebounds and two steals, besting her previous marks of two and one, set against SIU Edwardsville (11/13) and Texas Southern (12/12), respectively.
CeCe Harper recorded three blocks for the second-consecutive game to tie a career high. The senior guard also tied her season-best marks in rebounds (six) and steals (five), which she previously set against Arkansas (12/4).
Keyla Morgan grabbed a season-best six rebounds in her second-career start, eclipsing her previous high of five against Arkansas (12/4).
Natalie Knight tied a career-high with seven rebounds. The junior guard has grabbed seven boards five times in her career, with the previous occurence coming against Wake Forest (11/18/12).