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Junior guard Holly Kersgieter drives the ball. Kansas defeated Omaha 81-56 on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Junior guard Holly Kersgieter received many rounds of applause Wednesday in Kansas’ 81-56 win over the University of Nebraska-Omaha. 

Kersgieter finished the evening with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting, along with six assists, two steals and a block. She said postgame that she hasn’t done much yet, and hoped that Wednesday’s performance was a step in the right direction. 

“It's the third game, and I haven't done anything,” Kersgieter said. “So being a veteran, being like a leader on this team, you need to go out there and lead them and I wasn't doing that -- so I needed to do something.”

Against Tennessee State last Sunday, the Sand Springs, Oklahoma native exited the floor in the first half after earning her second technical foul of the afternoon. Kersgieter involved herself in an altercation, which resulted in her disqualification. 

But with a chance to reflect on the situation and talk with coach Brandon Schneider in the days following the incident, the focus was to learn from it and move on. 

“He just told me to keep my head up,” Kersgieter said. “And I was discouraged by it, it kind of made me look bad which is something obviously, I wasn't going for.”

From the start, Kersgieter had her priorities in order. At the top, she wanted to defend first while also finding open teammates before asserting herself on offense. However, the Jayhawks collected three quick turnovers in the opening minutes, with one attributed to Kersgieter. 

In the second quarter, the guard began to find more of a rhythm. Although she remained scoreless from the floor, she made her presence felt by finding open teammates in space. 

Kersgieter electrified fans and teammates alike with 14 second-half points and three assists. 

“We weren't really playing defense in the first half, when we were scoring, we're running the offense well,” Kersgieter said. “And so I was trying to find a defensive rhythm first before I went out and found an offensive rhythm, which obviously was effective because I think they scored like eight points in the third quarter.” 

“So we came out strong, and I focused on that,” Kersgieter said. “I wasn't worried about my two points, it didn't worry me. So I knew it would come together for the third quarter.”

Coach Schneider said he was impressed with Kersgieter’s evening after having some struggles in the previous two games. 

“It's nice to see her come out,” Schneider said. “I intended to play her a lot of minutes regardless. She's got to get some game stamina, you know, built up, and I thought she impacted the game in every phase.”

Kansas takes on Saint Louis University Sunday at 2 p.m.