LAWRENCE, Kan. – In a game where No. 21/20 Kansas held a decided height advantage in the post, it was the Jayhawk guards who led KU to 72-63 win over Sunflower Showdown rival Kansas State in Allen Fieldhouse Wednesday evening. The KU win snapped a four-game losing streak to its in-state rivals and helped the Jayhawks open Big 12 Conference play with a win for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign.
The win improved No. 21/20 ranked Kansas to 10-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play, while Kansas falls to 9-4 on the season and 0-1 in league action.
Trailing 36-34 to open the second half of play, the Jayhawk guards quickly took control of the game. Behind backcourt starters Angel Goodrich, Natalie Knight, Monica Engelman and reserve CeCe Harper, KU used an 18-6 run to open up a 52-42 advantage with 11:58 remaining in the game, capped by back-to-back triples from Harper.
A jumper by KSU guard Mariah White trimmed the KU lead back to four points with 7:24 to play at 56-52, but it was as close as the Wildcats would get as Kansas pushed the lead back to 11 points just over a minute later. Jayhawk forward Chelsea Gardner scored a fast break lay-up off of a no-look pass from Goodrich and Knight followed it with a jumper in the lane. Goodrich finished off the run with a jumper in the lane as KU handed head coach Bonnie Henrickson her third career win over the Wildcats.
Kansas held KSU to just 30.6 percent shooting from the floor in the second half and 36.5 percent for the game. KU made 28-of-54 shots from the field on its way to shooting 51.9 percent from the field for the game.
The game began as a back and forth affair with Kansas forward Carolyn Davis opening the scoring with a basket underneath off an assist from Goodrich. KSU quickly answered back with a three from Brianna Craig to take its first lead of the half at 3-2.
KU junior forward Tania Jackson responded for the Jayhawks with a bucket to reclaim the lead for Kansas at 4-3. KSU’s White knocked down a three to even the score at 6-6, marking the last tie of the half.
After stretching the lead to five points for the majority of the opening period, Kansas used a balanced scoring attack led by Knight and Goodrich, to forge a 12 point lead with just under five minutes to play in the frame. Knight had 10 first-half tallies, while Goodrich added nine points to go along with five assists.
It would not last long though, as just over a minute later Goodrich was forced to the bench after picking up her second foul and the Wildcats immediately capitalized with the All-American out of the lineup.
Haley Texada scored seven of her 13 first-half points, as Kansas State outscored Kansas 11-0 to close the first half and stormed into the break with a 36-34 lead—its first lead since the opening minute of the game. The Wildcats did most of their damage from the foul line as they held a 9-1 advantage over the Jayhawks from the charity stripe, led by Texada’s 6-of-6 shooting from the line.
Goodrich led five Jayhawks in double figures with 17 points to go along with nine assists, five rebounds and two steals. Knight poured in 16 points off of 7-of-10 shooting from the floor. Davis dropped in 14 points and pulled down five boards, while Harper and Engelman each chipped in 10 points.
Engelman became the 25th Kansas player to join the 1,000 point club with her first basket in the game.
Texada led Kansas State with a career-best 21 points, while Brittany Chambers added 15 points and Lawrence native Chantay Caron had 11 points and six boards.
Kansas will return to action on Saturday, January 5, when it travels to Morgantown, W. Va., to take on West Virginia for the first time as members of the Big 12 Conference. Game time is slated for 6:30 p.m. (CT).