KU women's basketball vs. Oklahoma

Kansas sophomore guard Holly Kersgieter drives for a layup against Oklahoma on Thursday, Dec. 10. Kersgieter was one of the two KU players to receive 2020-21 All-Big 12 honors.

This season was a rollercoaster for the Kansas women’s basketball team.

Whether it was COVID-19 protocols keeping them from games and practice, multiple opt-outs for the season, or losing in close games, the Jayhawks just couldn’t seem to catch a break. 

Kansas was hit early with postponed games due to the pandemic. After its game against New Mexico State in late December, the Jayhawks had roughly two weeks of no games and no team practices before they could get together once again. After this stretch, the Jayhawks couldn’t seem to keep their momentum going the rest of the season. 

Kansas finished the year winning just two games after a 78-59 win against New Mexico State, ending with a 7-18 record. Kansas struggled in conference play with a record of 3-15. With a strong Big 12 conference filled with great front-courts, Kansas didn’t seem to stand a chance once its bigs started opting out. 

After three-straight losses, ending with a 75-65 loss in Allen Fieldhouse to Texas Tech, three centers on the Kansas roster opted out for the season. Junior centers Brittany Franklin and Emma Merriweather, and senior center Bailey Helgren all decided to sit out the rest of the 2020-2021 season, leaving the Jayhawks with just four post players for the remainder of the season. 

To make matters worse, starting senior forward Tina Stephens opted out as well after a close 84-82 loss to Iowa State. That left three remaining post players on the roster, forcing Kansas women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider to play small ball when the front-court needed to rest. 

Although Kansas’ lineup was easily the smallest in the Big 12 following those opt-outs, it remained competitive for most of its games once in-conference play commenced. The Jayhawks finished with 14 games decided by 10 points or less. They snagged just three wins in those 14 games. 

With the breakout season from sophomore guard Holly Kersgieter, Kansas was able to stay in games until the very end until the opposition proved too much to overcome with their size advantages. Kersgieter averaged 16.7 points in the regular season while also giving the Jayhawks much needed help on the glass, pulling down 6.6 rebounds per game. 

The Jayhawks showed this season that they are hungry and competitive, no matter the circumstances against them. With Kersgieter at the helm, this team will retain almost all of its players on the roster for next season, as well as potentially bringing in some front-court players. 

Although this season wasn’t one to remember for the Jayhawks, they will be back next season with one agenda: win. 

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