Kansas women's basketball sophomore guard Brooklyn Mitchell’s career high 24-point performance led the Jayhawks past St. Mary’s in a nail-biting 86-81 game in Allen Fieldhouse Sunday. Kansas is now 9-0 on the season.
The Jayhawks started out slow, hitting only two out of their first 10 shots. Saint Mary’s took advantage and executed a 12-0 scoring run early in the quarter to put them up 14-5 with 5:11 left in the first period.
Saint Mary's junior guard Emily Codding did most of the damage offensively for the Gaels in the first, hitting four layups and grabbing four rebounds in the quarter. Codding finished with a game-high 27 points.
After a small Jayhawk run and a 3-pointer by freshman guard Zakiyah Franklin, Kansas was able to pull within three points. Then, with the buzzer winding down, senior forward Mariane De Carvalho sunk a three to tie the game at 19-19 after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter, Mitchell took over. She scored 11 points in the period, including three layups, one three-pointer and two free throws.
The Jayhawks played air-tight defense in the second and kept Codding to just two points, which helped Kansas extend its lead to 41-34 going into halftime.
To open up the second half, St. Mary’s sophomore guard Sam Simons finished a post scoring layup over Kansas' smaller sophomore guard Aniya Thomas. Simons did a little bit of everything for the Gaels, finishing with four rebounds, four assists and 15 points, including six in the third quarter alone.
Mitchell continued to stay hot in the third, driving and finishing two and-1 layups to give the Jayhawks a 58-51 lead with 1:21 left in the period. The Gaels quickly responded with a pair of free throws and a driving layup by Codding to close the gap to just three points heading into the last quarter of play.
In the fourth, both teams battled going back-and-forth. A pair of three pointers put St. Mary’s on top 70-66, but junior forward Tina Stephens responded with an and-one layup to pull Kansas within one point at 70-69 with four minutes left to play.
Thomas hit a 3-pointer to bring Kansas within two with 1:14 left to play. Kansas then brought the full court pressure and forced a critical turnover. St. Mary’s was plagued by turnovers in the game with 19 total, and the Jayhawks scored a whopping 28 points off of them.
Another 3-pointer from Thomas put Kansas up by three with 25 seconds to play. St. Mary's junior guard Madeline Holland quickly answered with an and-1 layup but failed to hit the free throw. Down the stretch, two critical Gaels turnovers, including a five-second call, sealed the Jayhawk victory.
Next for Kansas will be its first true road game of the season against the St. Louis Billikens on Dec. 22. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.