Kansas women’s basketball defeated Oklahoma State at home 77-69 Saturday, Feb. 29, clinching its first season with a .500 record since 2012-13.
The Jayhawks dropped buckets early and often. Sophomore guard Aniya Thomas opened the game by nailing a 3-point jumper, and senior forward Mariane De Carvalho added a three of her own to make it 8-5.
Junior forward Tina Stephens kept up the early momentum with an and-1 layup. After missing the free throw, Kansas was able to grab the rebound, and Stephens put in another layup, leading to an early timeout from Oklahoma State.
The Jayhawks closed out the quarter on an impressive 15-6 run, and their 80% shooting mark from three led Kansas to a 27-11 lead after the first.
In the second, Kansas continued to score the ball with consistency and kept the pressure on Oklahoma State’s leading scorers: junior forwards Vivian Gray and Natasha Mack.
Redshirt sophomore center Emma Merriweather, in her fourth game starting, scored two layups in a row to give Kansas a 37-19 lead. Merriweather was tasked with defending Mack and added five points and eight rebounds on the game.
Kansas closed out the second quarter with a 3-pointer from freshman guard Holly Kersgieter to make it 43-26 going into the break.
Early on in the third quarter, freshman guard Zakiyah Franklin’s midrange jumper put the Jayhawks up by 20 points. Oklahoma State responded with two quick buckets from Mack and an and-1 layup to cut the Jayhawk lead to just 15.
Mack and Gray got going offensively, scoring 14 out of Oklahoma State's 16 points in the third quarter. The Jayhawks were able to keep their lead behind Kersgieter with a layup to make the score 57-37.
Oklahoma State closed the gap in the fourth quarter with Mack’s and-1 layup and free throw make, putting the Cowboys down by just 10 with 5:49 to play.
After back-and-forth baskets from both sides, Stephens knocked down a key 3-pointer, putting the score at 71-61. Stephens was a big part of the win with her 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Kansas knocked down its free throws down the stretch, and the Cowboys couldn’t mount a late game comeback.
Next up for the Jayhawks is their final game in Allen Fieldhouse this season against the Iowa State Cyclones Tuesday, March 3. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN+.