Kansas women's basketball traveled to Lubbock, Texas to take on the Texas Tech Lady Raiders, where the Jayhawks narrowly lost 99-98. Kansas was able to keep up with Texas Tech all evening long in large part due to its bench scoring.
The Jayhawks struggled all game long with foul trouble, having two of their starters sit with some early fouls. Freshman forward Ioanna Chatzileonti played just eight minutes in the first half with two early fouls, while freshman forward Katrine Jessen picked up three fouls in the third quarter to push her total to 4 early in the third quarter.
Kansas played most of the second half constantly rotating front court players in and out with foul trouble. With two starters having to sit with fouls, it was time for the bench to step up and chip in on the scoring column, and that was exactly what they did.
Junior guard Aniya Thomas and redshirt freshman guard Chandler Prater ended up being the spark Kansas needed to try and take a win over the Lady Raiders. While it was sophomore guard Holly Kersgieter that led the team in scoring again with 29 points, it was Prater and Thomas that really made a big difference for the Jayhawks.
Thomas was clutch down the stretch, scoring 17 points in the game and hitting what looked to be a dagger three-point shot late in the fourth quarter. Prater had 14 points of her own and played big minutes for Kansas late in this game.
“I thought [Thomas] played really well, I thought she played her guts out,” said head coach Brandon Schneider. “I thought Aniya was good on both ends of the floor… and defended with a lot of heart.”
Prater fouled out late in the fourth quarter on a loose ball foul after she had dived for the ball, tripping a Lady Raider in the process, but her 14 points were essential to get the Jayhawks to overtime.
“Chandler, for a young player, is playing with a lot of humility, just knows what her strengths are. She’s playing to her strengths, staying away from her weaknesses, and she just sets the tone… on the defensive end when she checks in the game,” Schneider said.
Kansas’ bench outscored the Lady Raiders 39-24, with Prater and Thomas leading the charge off of the bench. While Texas Tech relied on senior guard Vivan Gray putting up a career high 38 points in a double-double effort, it was Kansas relying on its bench to produce on the scoreboard.
Despite the narrow 99-98 overtime loss to Texas Tech, the Jayhawks bench really shined in a game full of adversity for Kansas. Kansas will move on to play the Texas Longhorns at home. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.