KU women advance again at WNIT; will play Arkansas-Texas Tech winner in Great 8

Kansas senior Taiyanna Jackson is jubilant after defeating Nebraska during the Super 16 round of the WNIT on Monday, March 23, 2023.

With another close game in the final minutes of action, the Jayhawks held on to the win in the fourth quarter. Kansas got its revenge after its triple overtime loss back in December with the 64-55 victory on Thursday night.

“It felt great,” senior guard Zakiyah Franklin said. “I’m going to leave it at that. It felt great, we were really focusing on that, obviously. We really felt like we were a much different, much better team than what we put on film the first time.”

The Jayhawks dominated the paint on both sides of the floor in the opening quarter. Anchored by senior center Taiyanna Jackson and some impressive bench minutes from junior center Nadira Eltayeb, Kansas saw a big advantage on the interior.

“Obviously, to fans, what Zsófia [Telegdy] and Sanna [Strom] did was more noticeable, but I thought Nadira was terrific in her opportunity to contribute,” head coach Brandon Schneider said.

Eltayeb racked up two points, three rebounds and a block in her lone four minutes on the floor.

KU outscored the Cornhuskers 12-4 in the paint, while Jackson and Eltayeb each swatted away a shot down low. Nebraska was also outrebounded 12-7 in the first quarter, giving up three offensive rebounds for four second chance points.

However, the Cornhuskers were on fire from behind the three-point line, draining 50% of their attempts. Nebraska made only five baskets in the quarter, with three of those from behind the arc.

Kansas’ defensive intensity continued into the second quarter as the Cornhuskers were held scoreless until the 4:06-minute mark. However, the Jayhawks couldn’t make the most of their defense, scoring just six points in that same span.

Nebraska forward Annika Stewart got the ball rolling for the Cornhuskers with a long midrange jumper that sparked a 7-0 scoring run. Nebraska quickly cut an 11-point deficit into just four in the span of 1:32 minutes.

The Cornhuskers continued to attack from long range while the Jayhawks failed to nail a three-pointer in the quarter. Nebraska made 2-of-6 attempts, while Kansas missed all five of its attempts.

Kansas couldn’t get its shots to fall in the latter half of the quarter as the Jayhawks made just two shots in the final 5:07 minutes of play. Despite the cold stretch, Kansas held on to its 30-25 lead at halftime.

Jackson made her presence felt in the painted area in the second quarter as she added another six points and four rebounds to her stat line. She finished the first half with 12 points and six rebounds and had another double-double in her sights.

It was a back-and-forth third quarter with both teams shooting red hot. Both Kansas and Nebraska hit 8-of-14 of their attempts from the field, good for 57% shooting.

The Cornhuskers ran to the rim all quarter long and changed their plan of attack against Kansas. Nebraska scored a whopping 14 points in the painted area and drew seven fouls in the third which put pressure on KU’s defenders.

Nebraska had plenty of opportunities for free points at the charity stripe as the Cornhuskers attempted nine free throws. However, Nebraska made just three of those attempts, leaving six points off the scoreboard.

Kansas sported a 48-45 lead headed into the fourth quarter, with those six missed free throws weighing heavily on Nebraska.

With Kansas’ lead at just five points with 3:02 minutes remaining in the game, both teams struggled to get anything to fall on offense. The Jayhawks went over three minutes without scoring a point, but the Cornhuskers also failed to score after the 3:02-minute mark.

“When you play good teams, they’re going to have their runs, but it’s about who stays solid and who stays together,” junior guard Chandler Prater said.

The Jayhawks tacked on a few intentional free throws to extend their lead and ultimately secure the 64-55 victory to advance to the Great 8 to play the winner of Arkansas vs. Texas Tech on Friday.

Jackson recorded a 16-point, 12 rebound double-double along with three blocks, with three other starters scoring 13 or more points. After KU’s bench didn’t score a point against Missouri, the bench tallied seven points and five rebounds in its 23 combined minutes.

The location and time of the Great 8 game is still to be determined.

Kansas junior Chandler Prater shoots the ball against Nebraska during the Super 16 round of the WNIT on Monday, March 23, 2023.

Kansas senior Zakiyah Franklin drives the ball against Nebraska during the Super 16 round of the WNIT on Monday, March 23, 2023.

Kansas freshman Zsofia Telegdy drives the ball against Nebraska during the Super 16 round of the WNIT on Monday, March 23, 2023.

Kansas junior Chandler Prater is jubilant during the game against Nebraska during the Super 16 round of the WNIT on Monday, March 23, 2023.


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