STILLWATER, Okla. - Junior forward Chelsea Gardner scored 25 points to lead all scorers as Kansas fell to No. 12 Oklahoma State in the final seconds, 76-74, Wednesday night inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Gardner, a DeSoto, Texas, native, added 11 rebounds, four steals and three blocks for her ninth double-double of the 2013-14 season and 14th of her career as Kansas (11-12, 4-7 Big 12) took Oklahoma State (19-3, 8-3 Big 12) to the final possession, where they had a chance to take the game into overtime. Gardner's four steals matched a season-high, which she previously set against Creighton (11/17/13) and her three blocks moved her into eighth on Kansas' all-time blocked shot list.
Three other Jayhawks scored in double figures as senior guard CeCe Harper, who scored 15 points, dished out seven assists and grabbed five rebounds against the Cowgirls, while Junior guard Asia Boyd added 13 points. Junior guard Natalie Knight added 12 to round out the Kansas offense. Senior guard Markisha Hawkins set a career-best with eight rebounds to top her previous best of six at TCU (1/8).
Oklahoma State also had four players finish with double-figure point totals, led by junior center Lashawn Jones, who finished the game with 17 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Brittney Martin recorded 15 points and grabbed six rebounds, senior guard Tiffany Bias scored 14 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed five rebounds, while freshman guard Roshunda Jones added 13 points and six assists for the OSU attack.
The Kansas defense allowed the Jayhawks to hang with Oklahoma State early, holding the Cowgirls to just 28.6 percent through the first media timeout. The Oklahoma State offense started to pick up out of the timeout and the Cowgirls took a 12-10 lead. The Jayhawks responded with five of the next six points to take a 15-13 lead with 9:12 left in the first half. Both teams traded baskets until the Cowgirls were able to string together five-straight points to take a six-point lead, 31-25, with 2:33 remaining in the first half. With the Jayhawks facing their largest deficit of the first half, Knight drilled a shot from beyond the arc to pull Kansas back within three, 31-28. Kansas continued to attack, but the Cowgirls didn't miss a shot for the rest of the half, and took a three-point lead, 37-34, into the break. Gardner led the Jayhawks with 11 points, three blocks and three steals in the first half.
The Jayhawks opened up the second half a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the second half, before a layup from Hawkins delivered KU its first lead of the second half, 40-39, with 17:35 left in the game. The back-and-forth battled continued with the Jayhawks leading scorer, Gardner, on the bench in foul trouble. With the Jayhawks in front, 45-44, the Cowgirls went on a 7-0 run to take a six-point lead, 51-45. Knight delivered another huge three to bring Kansas within one possession, 51-48, with 11:12 left in the game. With the Jayhawks in need of a big basket once again, this time it was Harper who provided a basket from behind the three-point line to pull Kansas within two, 59-57, with 7:06 remaining.
Still leading by two, 63-61, with just over four minutes to play in the game, the Cowgirls scored a pair of baskets to bring the lead to six, 67-61, and force a KU timeout. The Jayhawks cut the OSU lead to two, 69-67, with just under two minutes to play, thanks to a three-point play from Boyd. The Cowgirls brought the lead back to five, 72-67, with under a minute to play, but two free throws from Gardner made it a one-possession game, 72-69, with 33 seconds remaining. After two OSU free throws, Gardner brought the Jayhawks back within three with a layup, 74-71, with 21 seconds remaining. Oklahoma State made another free throw as OSU's lead grew back to four.
With 13 seconds left, Harper drove to the basket and got three points the old-fashioned way to bring the Jayhawks within one, 75-74, with 12 seconds to play. After another OSU free throw, the Jayhawks were trailing by two, 76-74, with one last chance to win or send the game into overtime. Harper once again found her way into the paint, but her shot rolled off the rim and the rebound was tipped around as time expired on the Jayhawks upset hopes.
The Jayhawks will return home on Sunday, Feb. 9, where they will take on Oklahoma at 2 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse in their annual Jayhawks For A Cure game.
KANSAS STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER): Fr. Jada Brown (9/9), Sr. CeCe Harper (18/39), Sr. Markisha Hawkins (6/12), Jr. Chelsea Gardner (22/50) and Jr. Natalie Knight (23/76)
Makes Kansas' all-time record 768-545.
Makes the Jayhawks' all-time conference record 235-243.
Makes KU's all-time Big 12 record to 112-175 and 55-104 in conference play under head coach Bonnie Henrickson.
Gives Oklahoma State their fifth-straight win over Kansas and pulls them within two in the all-time series, 31-29, against the Jayhawks.
Makes the Jayhawks 369-388 all-time away from Allen Fieldhouse and 46-91 on the road under Henrickson.
Makes Henrickson's record 169-147 at KU and 327-209 overall.
Gives Kansas its first loss of the season in the month of February. KU is 29-42 all-time under Henrickson when playing in the year's shortest month.
Makes KU 1-6 during the 2013-14 season when playing on Wednesday and 44-46 when playing on Wednesday under Henrickson.
The Jayhawks finished the game with 74 points, marking the first time this season they have lost a game in which they scored at least 70. The Jayhawks are now 8-1 during the 2013-14 season when reaching at least 70 points and 112-14 under Henrickson.
The Jayhawks outrebounded Oklahoma State 36-32. Kansas has outrebounded 15-of-23 opponents this season.
Kansas suffered their first loss when Chelsea Gardner scores 20 or more points. KU is 8-1 when Gardner records 20 or more points.
Junior Asia Boyd scored three points the old-fashioned way, with 1:55 left in the game, to pull the Jayhawks within two, 69-67. Boyd finished the game with 13 points and was one of four Jayhawks in double figures.
Junior Chelsea Gardner scored a game-high 25 points and added 11 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the 2013-14 season and 14th of her Kansas career. Gardner has reached the 20 point mark in three of her last four games. Defensively, Gardner recorded four steals to match her season-high total against Creighton (11/17/13) and blocked four shots to pass Kyrsten Boogaard and move into eight on Kansas' all-time blocks list.
Senior CeCe Harper delivered a three-point play to bring Kansas within one, 75-74, with 12 seconds left. Harper finished the game with 15 points and dished out seven assists. Marking the 10th time the San Antonio, Texas, native, has recorded at least seven assists this season.
Senior Markisha Hawkins grabbed a new career-high eight rebounds, eclipsing her previous career-best of six at TCU (1/8/14).