Kansas women’s basketball defeated the Indiana State Sycamores 84-72 in its first game of the season. Clutch baskets late in the game from the freshmen helped the Jayhawks take the victory.
Being the season opener, the rust showed early for both sides. In the first two minutes and 31 seconds of the game, nine total fouls were committed. That number did not get any better as the quarter ended with a total of 19 fouls
Freshmen guards Holly Kersgieter and Zakiyah Franklin ignited the Jayhawk offense. Kansas was trailing 11-13, but then Kersgieter scored from beyond. A turnover from Indiana State led to a layup from Franklin.
Then, as time ticked off the clock late in the quarter, Franklin drew a foul with two seconds left and hit 1-of-2 free throws. The duo helped Kansas take a 19-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Kersgieter continued to threaten the Sycamores' defense with her three-point shot, hitting two in the quarter. She finished the second period with eight points.
Franklin’s production did not fully show up in the box score, although she did have four points and two assists in the quarter. She predominately ran the floor with sophomore guard Brooklyn Mitchell on the bench.
Kersgieter and Franklin went into the half with a combined 24 of Kansas’ 43 points, helping Kansas take a seven-point lead heading into halftime.
The second half did not start favorably for Kansas as the Sycamores went on a 9-1 scoring run to open the third quarter. But right as Indiana State seemed to steal the momentum, Mitchell shut it down by driving inside and drawing a foul. She converted both free throws and then, on the very next possession for Kansas, she once again drove inside and laid the ball into the basket.
Following that play, the Sycamores took the ball up the court and shot a three, but Kersgieter was right there and sent the shot away. Mitchell then took the ball up the court and found Kersgieter who forced an and-one.
Both offenses stalled. But, right as the Sycamores scored, Mitchell was right back with a layup on the other side of the court.
The two teams traded buckets through the beginning of the fourth quarter. Once one side scored, the other had a response. Despite Indiana State’s ability to put the ball into the hoop, it was never able to retake a lead.
Midway through the quarter, Indiana State’s junior guard LeAndra Echi, who finished with 12 points, fouled out. The Sycamores immediately scored after her departure, but then they cooled off.
Indiana State went two minutes without scoring. In that same time frame, Kansas increased its lead to seven. The Jayhawks showed every sign of pulling away, but a layup from the Sycamore’s sophomore center Pearl Dean negated that. To make it worse, sophomore guard Aniya Thomas fouled out.
In Thomas’ absence, coach Brandon Schneider substituted Kersgieter back in the game. The freshman showed up in a big way as she hit a dagger triple to give Kansas a seven-point lead with 1:29 left in the game.
After a missed shot from Indiana State, Franklin got the ball and was fouled. At that moment, Franklin was 4-of-7 from the free throw line but the ice in her veins did not care. She hit two free throws with under a minute left in the contest and the Jayhawks walked away victorious.
Kersgieter finished the game with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting (4-of-7 from three). Franklin followed with 16 and senior forward Mariane De Carvalho added 15.
The Jayhawks will return to action on Sunday, Nov. 10 against UIC.