Atkins leads No. 7 past Kansas 79-62

Texas head coach Karen Aston, right, shakes hands with Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider, left, after an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 Conference women's tournament in Oklahoma City, Saturday, March 5, 2016. Texas won 66-50. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Ariel Atkins scored 22 points, including 10 in the pivotal third quarter, as No. 7 Texas overcame a challenge by unranked Kansas to win 79-62 on Saturday.

Atkins, a senior guard, also grabbed nine rebounds and had a career-best six steals, enabling Texas to maneuver from two points down at halftime to 14 ahead in the third quarter.

Lashann Higgs added 17 points for Texas (14-2, 5-1 Big 12). Sophomore Sug Sutton, making her third start at Texas, scored a career-best 14.

Junior Christalah Lyons led Kansas (11-6, 2-4) with 20 points. Brianna Osorio had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Jayhawks. Kansas hurt itself with 22 turnovers. Even so, the Jayhawks trailed by just five early in the fourth quarter after a 3-pointer by Osorio.

Texas trailed 31-29 at halftime after shooting an anemic 35.3 percent while committing 10 turnovers. Lyons and Osorio combined for 17 points in the half, taking advantage of Texas turnovers - including three steals by Lyons -- and defensive lapses.


Kansas: The Jayhawks shot 42.6 percent, improvement from their previous two games, also against ranked teams. They lost to No. 5 Baylor by 35 points and No. 15 West Virginia by 20, both games at home, before coming to Austin. They shot just 28.6 percent against Baylor and 35.2 against West Virginia, no surprise considering they rank 199th nationally in field-goal percentage offense. (Their strength is at the other end, where they rank 14th in field goal defense.)

Texas: The Longhorns won despite continued poor shooting from Brooke McCarty, a senior guard who missed seven of eight shots from the field goal, including all four of her 3-point attempts. McCarty, the reigning Big 12 player of the year, converted a sizzling 43.9 percent of her 3-point attempts in nine non-conference games. She more than cooled down against Big 12 competition, hitting 4 of 27 (14.8 percent) in the Longhorns' first six games.

"I definitely think she's healthy, it's just that sometimes shooters go through slumps," coach Karen Aston said. "I guess you could call that. There are shots that were makeable in the last couple of games that she's missed. That's shocking to everyone because everybody is so accustomed to the majority of her shots going in.


Kansas hosts Texas Tech on Wednesday. The Jayhawks and Red Raiders split two games last season, each winning at home.

Texas hosts No. 1 Connecticut on Monday. The Longhorns are 0-8 all-time against the Huskies, losing three times over the last three seasons by 51, 21 and 18 points.