Kansas women’s basketball duked it out in a home game against in-state rival Kansas State Wednesday, Jan. 29. Both teams’ defenses stepped up, but in the end, K-State won 69-61.
Whether it was K-State's redshirt freshman center Ayoka Lee swatting the ball with her four blocks in the first half, or Kansas' sophomore guard Aniya Thomas swiping the ball away with two steals in the first 20 minutes, the defense was the main highlight on both sides of the floor.
Lee, 6-foot-5, along with 6-foot-4 senior forward Peyton Williams, did a good job locking down the paint. Both used their advantage in size to contest almost every layup and drive-in opportunity the Jayhawks had.
“They draw a lot of traffic, and in a lot of those situations, we need to find the open man and reinforce the issue,” coach Brandon Schneider said.
Junior center Bailey Helgren and freshman guard Zakiyah Franklin enjoyed their fair share of swats in the game, both totaling two blocks on the night.
“I thought their physicality bothered us early and then, as the game went on, we got more comfortable,” K-State coach Jeff Mittie said.
Things were a bit different for both teams in the second half.
With all the inside pressure from the bigs, the two teams began to look for the three ball and it paid off. For K-State, sophomore guard Christianna Carr went 4-6 from three in the third quarter, providing a much-needed scoring outburst.
For Kansas, senior forward Mariane De Carvalho went a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc in the third quarter, as both her and Carr battled back and forth.
The three-point shooting in the third quarter opened up the offense. Whoever was going to win the game was going to need to make some tough shots in the paint to create a bigger lead.
In the fourth quarter, that team was the Wildcats. Shooting just 3-12 from the field in the fourth quarter, K-State was able to draw fouls and get free points from the foul line. The Wildcats stayed consistent from the line all the way until the end, making 15-17 free throws in the fourth quarter alone.
The Wildcats came away with their third win in conference play. The Jayhawks continued their drought, losing their seventh in their last eight games.
Kansas will look to steal a win against another conference foe Oklahoma Sunday, Feb. 2 at Allen Fieldhouse. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m.