Kansas storms back to defeat West Virginia

Kansas women’s basketball created a strong second-half comeback to beat West Virginia 77-58 in Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday night. The win stopped a three-game losing streak and improved the Jayhawks’ record to 13-4 and 3-3 in Big 12 Conference play.

West Virginia got off to a hot start on offense, taking an 11-7 lead into the under-five-minute timeout. The Mountaineers were propelled by eight early points from redshirt sophomore guard Kyah Watson. Kansas kept it close despite five turnovers in the first five minutes.

The Mountaineers had a 17-15 lead at the end of the first quarter despite a 6-0 run from the Jayhawks. Senior center Taiyanna Jackson made her presence felt early with six points and five rebounds. 

The second quarter got off to a slow start, with the first point coming on a free throw from West Virginia two and a half minutes into the quarter. Junior guard Chandler Prater scored the points for Kansas four minutes into the quarter, cutting the Mountaineers’ lead to three with 6:03 left. 

West Virginia did just enough to hold a 23-17 lead at the media timeout despite both teams struggling to score. Kansas’ offensive struggles would continue throughout the second quarter, only scoring five points. The Jayhawks shot poorly in the first half, shooting 33% from the floor and 15% from three.

While Kansas struggled, West Virginia finally started to score. The Mountaineers went on an 8-0 run sparked by two threes from senior guard Jayla Hemmingway, giving them a 28-17 lead. A three from sophomore guard Sanna Strom would momentarily stop the bleeding before West Virginia started a 6-0 run in the final 36 seconds, taking a 34-20 lead into the break.

Kansas came out of halftime and began to crawl its way back into the game. After going back and forth to start the third quarter, the Jayhawks cut the deficit to eight behind two layups from senior guard Zakiyah Franklin. 

The Jayhawks continued to stay hot in the third quarter, going on a 13-0 run over almost four minutes. A Franklin three would cut the West Virginia lead to one and force them to call a timeout. West Virginia would hold a 44-43 lead at the end of the third quarter after a jumper from junior forward Kylee Blacksten.

Kansas came out firing to start the fourth quarter, going on a 9-0 run and forcing West Virginia to call a timeout. Senior guard Holly Kersgieter nailed two threes to give Kansas a 52-46 lead. The threes were Kersgieter’s first of the game after starting 0-6 from downtown. 

The Jayhawks continued their momentum with a 9-0 run to extend their lead to 61-48. They would not look back from there and defeated the Mountaineers by 19 points. Kansas scored 57 points in the second half to secure the comeback.

Junior guard Wyvette Mayberry led the scoring for the Jayhawks with 19 points. Franklin also added 19, and Jackson recorded another double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds.

Next up, the Jayhawks take on No. 18 Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, at 5:00 p.m. on ESPN+.

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