Houston — When you’re hot, you’re hot, and Danielle McCray was positively torrid.
McCray made 17 of 22 shots and scored a career-high 37 points to propel No. 21-ranked Kansas University past Houston, 89-69, in women’s basketball Tuesday night in Hofheinz Pavilion.
McCray, the Big 12 Conference preseason player of the year, came out smoking, making her first seven shots as KU raced to a 29-18 lead.
The 5-foot-11 senior out of Olathe East High made 12 of her first 13 shots and scored 25 points in the first half in leading the Jayhawks (9-2) to their sixth straight victory following back-to-back losses to Xavier and TCU in late November in the Bahamas.
McCray made her first two shots in the second half, including a long three with 17:33 left, to give Kansas a 55-35 bulge. She did not miss her second shot until the fourth minute of the second half.
With 4:26 remaining and Kansas comfortably ahead, coach Bonnie Henrickson took McCray and the other regulars off the floor, using subs the rest of the way.
McCray, whose previous career-high was 35, also led KU with 11 rebounds and four steals. She had scored 30 points in Sunday’s 75-60 victory over UC Riverside in Allen Fieldhouse.
Aishah Sutherland added 10 points for the Jayhawks, who never have lost to Houston in six meetings. Point guard Angel Goodrich, among the NCAA leaders in assists, tied her career-high with 11 and added three steals.
Brittney Scott scored 22 points for the Cougars (6-5), and Courtney Taylor added 16.
“A game like this exposes a lot of things,” Houston coach Joe Curl said. “We play a tough schedule for exactly that reason. We hope we don’t get exposed that badly though.”
Thanks in large part to McCray, the Jayhawks shot a sizzling 63.9 percent (39 of 61). Houston launched the same number of shots and made 26 for 42.6 percent.
Although Tuesday’s game drew only 483 fans, it was the largest home crowd of the season for the Cougars.
After four days off for the holidays, the Jayhawks will reassemble Sunday and begin practicing for Wednesday’s home game against Pepperdine.