Jayhawks start slow, finish fast in win vs. Gaels

Despite a sluggish start, the Kansas women continued showing their power in the paint with a 73-53 win over Saint Mary’s to close out the Saint Mary’s Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday, one day after getting a 27-point win over the Maine Black Bears.

Both offenses struggled to click in the first quarter Saturday, when just 27 points were scored and both teams shot under 32% from the field. Add seven turnovers to the Jayhawks’ nine made baskets, and KU took just a 15-12 lead into the second quarter.

Kansas found its stride in the second quarter with a punishing 18-0 run that spanned 6:15 before the Gaels finally put points on the board by converting 1-for-2 from the charity stripe. Kansas senior guard Holly Kersgieter ended the half with a deep 3-pointer to cap off a 21-1 run, giving the Jayhawks a 36-17 lead at the half.

It was the low post game from Kansas and senior center Taiyanna Jackson that fueled the Jayhawks in the first half. Jackson finished the half with 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting, 4-for-4 from the line, eight rebounds and four ferocious blocks in just 15 minutes on the court.

Kansas never looked back after that run. The Jayhawks led the entire rest of the game, and only trailed for just over a minute early in the first quarter, similar to its win Friday over the Black Bears.

The Gaels hung with Kansas in the second half, outscored by just one point, but the damage had already been done.

The Jayhawks’ key to success again was dominating the paint all game long, winning 46-18 in points in the paint. Kansas won that battle in both games of the Thanksgiving Classic, outscoring its opponents 96-40 in the paint.

Three-point shooting woes continued for the Jayhawks as they made just 20% gainst Saint Mary’s. Kansas has made just 21 3-pointers so far this season and shot just under 24% from beyond the arc. After Saturday’s performance, Kersgieter leads the team with eight 3-pointers made.

Kersgieter, Jackson and senior guard Zakiyah Franklin scored double figures, led by a 24-point, 10 rebound double-double from Jackson, who also finished the night with five blocks.

The Jayhawks return to Allen Fieldhouse to take on the Texas A&M Aggies on Wednesday at 7 p.m.


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