Courtesy: KU Athletics
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Double-digit scoring efforts by three Jayhawk seniors and a stingy defensive effort powered Kansas over Georgetown, 55-42, Sunday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Senior forward Chelsea Gardner, who posted her second-straight double-double and her third overall this season, led all scorers with 14 points. Defensively, she finished the night with 16 rebounds, a season-high for 2014-15, and swatted away five blocks. Senior guard Asia Boyd was just behind Gardner with 13 points and three rebounds. With 11 points and five assists, senior guard Natalie Knight tallied her fourth double-digit game of the 2014-15 campaign.
“We finally make a nice little run going into the locker room,” head coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We finish off the half with Bunny getting a great 50-50 ball and kicks it out for a three from Asia at the horn. So it was good to have that 11-2 run going into halftime. We had small spurts in the first half, but didn’t sustain anything or keep our foot on the pedal. Defensively, I thought we were solid.”
Overall, Georgetown was held to a season-low 23 percent from field-goal range, converting 17-of-73 total shots, the lowest an opponent has shot against Kansas since Idaho State shot 21 percent on Nov. 11, 2012. Freshman center Yazmine Belk recorded a double-double of her own for Georgetown after registering 11 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Katie McCormick also chipped in nine points and four rebounds for the Hoyas.
“I think we filled the lane better tonight and forced people to make an extra pass,” head coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We were more disruptive and forced some secondary offense and some bad shots at the rim.”
A successful two by freshman guard DiDi Burton gave Georgetown the advantage to start the game. The score remained the same for three minutes until Knight put the first points on the board for Kansas. She was fouled headling to the basket and pushed Kansas on top with a traditional three-point play at the free throw line. Georgetown answered at the other end with a two-point shot by sophomore forward Faith Woodard.
After the first official timeout, Gardner grabbed a defensive rebound, which helped senior forward Bunny Williams knock in a layup on the Jayhawks’ side. Georgetown then accomplished a traditional three-point play of its own by junior forward Dominique Vitalis to put the Hoyas back on top, 7-5.
With 12 minutes to play in the first half, Knight stole the ball from Burton and passed to freshman guard Lauren Aldridge who drove the lane and knocked in a contested layup. The Jayhawks and Hoyas were trading baskets, as Georgetown would answer Aldridge’s bucket with a three-point shot as Kansas trailed 10-7.
“With so many young kids to put them in situations they haven’t been in yet and see how the respond to it a little bit, I thought the young kids did a good job,” Henrickson said. “I know more today than before we got in this thing (the tournament) certainly of what we need to work on, where we think we’re solid, and even pieces individually we got to improve and get better at. But the good thing is I felt like we have gotten better in the three games and got some experience.”
Knight, who drained a shot behind the arc, silenced an 8-0 Georgetown run. On the next possession, Knight hit a jump shot to bring Kansas back within three, 15-12, just before the under-eight timeout. This sparked a run for the Jayhawks, who had 10-unanswered points and kept the Hoyas quiet for six and a half minutes. As a result, Kansas gained control and took back the lead, 17-15.
After the final official timeout of the half, Knight was on fire and tallied up another two points for Kansas. She had only missed one field goal up to this point. Two made free throws by both Boyd and Aldridge continued to widen Kansas’ lead. Then, a three-pointer by Boyd at the two-second mark ignited the crowd and brought the score to 26-17 for the halftime break.
Although quiet on offense with four points, Gardner grabbed an impressive 12 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. Knight, in double figures already, led the Jayhawks with 11 points. KU held Georgetown to just 19 percent shooting from the field and only allowed the Hoyas to make seven field goals.
Gardner started the second half hungry to put points on the board. She pulled down a rebound from her own missed layup and was able to complete a jumper, despite being heavily guarded by Hoyas. Freshman guard Chayla Cheadle followed Gardner’s example and drove in a layup with the help of Aldridge as the Jayhawks advantage grew, 31-19.
At the 11-minute mark, the Jayhawks showed impressive ball-handling skills. Knight passed the ball around a couple of Hoyas and got it to Gardner, who completed a layup in the middle of the Hoya defense. The duo was at it again on the next possession, this time a Gardner jumper from Knight extended the lead, 42-29.
Now with her second-straight double-double of the season, Gardner chalked up her third back-to-back shot for Kansas with a jumper just outside of the lane. With seven minutes remaining, the crowd cheered as Boyd made a layup even though she was fouled. On the next Jayhawk possession, Knight connected a long pass to Boyd who went coast-to-coast with a layup.
With two minutes left in the action, Boyd hit another layup to answer back-to-back baskets by junior guard Katie McCormick and was now the third Jayhawk in double figures. Georgetown continued to battle wasn’t able to overcome the advantage Kansas had built. The Jayhawks took the win, 55-42, to finish 2-1 over the weekend.
• Senior forward Chelsea Gardner accomplished her 21st-career double-double, which is the third of the season double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds. It was her second game in a row reaching double-double qualifications.
• Senior guard Natalie Knight posted her fourth game with 10 or more points, finishing with 11. She committed her first and only turnover of the 2014-15 season against the Hoyas. She has played 149 minutes on the year.
• It was Kansas’ third game in a row having three or more Jayhawks finish with double-digit points.
• With the win, Kansas improves to 1-1 in the all-time series against Georgetown.
• Kansas held Georgetown to shoot a dismal 23 percent from the field, marking the lowest an opponent has shot against Kansas since the Jayhawks held Idaho State to shoot 21 percent (12-55) on Nov. 11, 2012.
Kansas will finish its six-game home stand when it hosts Iona on Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 8 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse.