Kansas women's basketball won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 30, defeating Oklahoma State 77-69 in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday, Feb. 29.
The Jayhawks came out hot, shooting 61% from the floor in the first quarter and outscoring the Cowgirls 27-11. Junior forward Tina Stephens, a newfound addition to the starting lineup for head coach Brandon Schneider, led the Jayhawks and showed why she was deserving of the starting role in just the first period alone. She finished the first quarter with six points and four rebounds.
“A few weeks ago, we really made it a concerted effort to increase [Stephens'] minutes," Schneider said. "I think she’s made the most of it.”
Freshman guard Holly Kersgieter, replaced by Stephens in the last four games for Kansas, showed her skills off in limited first quarter minutes as well. Subbing in with just 5:05 remaining in the first, she converted on both 3-point attempts. The Jayhawks as a team were 4-of-5 from the 3-point line and 11-of-18 from floor.
Helping the Jayhawks build a 16-point first quarter lead was their defense. Kansas shutdown Oklahoma State’s second leading scorer, junior forward Natasha Mack. Mack, who averages 17.9 points per game, was held scoreless in the first, where she only attempted one shot.
Kansas women's basketball defeated Oklahoma State 77-69 Saturday night. Up next the Jayhawks take on the Iowa State Cyclones for their final home game of the season. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3.
“We just really wanted her to feel bodies even when she didn’t have the ball and then try to double her as fast as we could when she did get the ball," Schneider said.
Mack responded in the second quarter, pouring in 10 points and four rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting. The rest of her teammates only shot 2-of-13 in the second quarter. The Cowgirls' poor first-half shooting let the Jayhawks takes a 43-26 lead into halftime.
The Cowgirls' two leading scorers, junior forward Vivian Gray and Mack, combined for 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting. However, Kersgieter was able to respond for the Jayhawks with another two 3-pointers to bring her total to four for the game.
Gray and Mack's hot shooting continued into the fourth quarter, during which they combined for 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Kansas was able to hold off the Cowgirls for a 77-69 win behind freshman guard Zakiyah Franklin's 10 fourth quarter points. Franklin led the Jayhawks in scoring with 23 points, her second highest outing of the season. The Jayhawks overcame 53 combined points from Gray and Mack to secure their fourth conference win on the season.
Kansas will play its last regular season home game this Tuesday against the Iowa State Cyclones. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN+.