After losing its last three games, including a 63-45 loss against Kansas State where just one starter scored in double figures, Kansas needed more players to step up in the absence of senior guard Holly Kersgieter. The Jayhawks did just that on Sunday afternoon, with four players nabbing double digits propelling Kansas to a much-needed 66-57 win.
Leading the charge was junior guard Chandler Prater. Prater dropped 18 points, one shy of a career-high, along with nine rebounds and four steals. Known for her physicality, Prater credited that trait as a reason why her game was so effective.
“I think we’re a physical team. We like physicality,” Prater said. “Brandon had told us before the game to go out and throw the first punch… so we came out swinging.”
Prater was clutch to close out both halves, with a team-high nine and seven points to end the second and fourth quarters, respectively.
Alongside Prater was another dominating performance from senior center Taiyanna Jackson. While Jackson only tallied 12 points, she pulled down 21 rebounds, which tied her career high. It also marked her 18th double-double on the season, putting her tied for sixth in the NCAA. Both Jackson’s teammates and head coach Brandon Schneider used the word relentless to describe her outing.
“She was relentless on the boards,” junior guard Wyvette Mayberry said. “Every time you thought the play was over, somehow she got the rebound.”
“It’s relentless,” Schneider said. “I hope that those who are watching her understand how special she is. She’s probably going to average a double-double for the season, and the last time somebody did that in a Kansas women’s basketball uniform was 41 years ago.”
Adding to the list of notable performances was Mayberry, scoring 15 points and adding three assists. Mayberry was able to find matchups that allowed her to use her speed to her advantage to get to the rim.
“We knew that they had some slow-footed defenders,” Mayberry said. “We know matchups, who can defend and who can’t, so, of course, we go at who can’t.”
Closing out the double-digit scorers for the Jayhawks was senior guard Zakiyah Franklin. Franklin added 15 to equal Mayberry, also tallying two assists and two steals.
These performances helped Kansas to pick up the 500th career win for Coach Schneider. The win can also help the Jayhawks build momentum as March nears.
“You have to keep climbing…and we’re just continuing to get better,” Prater said. “In March, you obviously want to have as much momentum as possible because that time is win or go home. I’m definitely glad we got to have a lot of fun and have a lot of joy out there today.”
Kansas will look to continue building momentum on Senior Night against Iowa State on March 1 in Allen Fieldhouse. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN+.