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KU women’s basketball downs OU, wins first Big 12 opener since 2013-14

The Capital-Journal

LAWRENCE — Another dubious Kansas women’s basketball streak has come to an end.

One game after reaching the 100-point mark for the first time in nearly seven years, the Jayhawks on Thursday night won their Big 12 opener for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign, earning a 74-64 victory over Oklahoma at Allen Fieldhouse. Tina Stephens scored a team-high 18 points and added eight rebounds and a steal for KU (4-1, 1-0 Big 12).

The program last won a Big 12 opener on Jan. 2, 2013, when it defeated rival Kansas State 72-63 in Lawrence. The Jayhawks went 4-14 in league play a season ago.

"Big 12 wins are really, really hard to come by,” said KU coach Brandon Schneider. “Regardless of who you're playing or where you're playing, we understand that there's going to be some tremendous battles. Sometimes it comes down to a made free throw and a loose ball here and there. We were just fortunate enough to make our foul shots down the stretch. Thought we got some key rebounds and executed pretty well the last four minutes of the fourth quarter."

Holly Kersgieter’s 3-pointer gave the Jayhawks a 68-62 lead with 1:46 remaining. KU then went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line the rest of the way to ice the outcome, with Brooklyn Mitchell hitting four from the stripe and Stephens adding a pair of conversions.

Kersgieter (17 points) and Aniya Thomas (14) rounded out the double-figure scorers for KU, which will continue its season with a 7 p.m. Monday nonconference matchup against UT Rio Grande Valley at Allen Fieldhouse.

"For us it's just (about) continuing to develop an identity,” Schneider said. “None of us have played a lot of games at this point in the season. It's very rare to be playing conference games in the second week in December. I think every team in the country right now is just trying to figure out who they're going to be, and that's kind of where we are."

KANSAS 74, OKLAHOMA 64

Oklahoma (0-3, 0-1 Big 12)

Scott 5-12 0-4 10, Tot 3-8 3-4 10, Gregory 7-15 4-4 22, Vann 4-9 0-0 8, Robertson 3-9 2-2 10, Greer 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 24-57 9-14 64.

Kansas (4-1, 1-0 Big 12)

Stephens 6-11 6-8 18, Chatzileonti 1-4 0-0 2, Thomas 5-10 3-6 14, Kergieter 7-14 0-0 17, Franklin 3-10 2-2 8, Vuksic 0-1 0-0 0, Brosseau 1-8 0-0 3, Mitchell 2-4 5-6 9, Helgren 1-3 1-2 3, Merriweather 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-65 17-24 74.

Oklahoma;14;13;19;18;—;64

Kansas;14;12;23;25;—;74

3-point goals — Oklahoma 7-25 (Gregory 4-9, Robertson 2-7, Tot 1-4, Vann 0-5), Kansas 5-17 (Kersgieter 3-6, Thomas 1-3, Brosseau 1-5, Mitchell 0-1, Vuksic 0-1, Franklin 0-1). Rebounds — Oklahoma 38 (Scott 10), Kansas 39 (Stephens 8). Assists — Oklahoma 11 (Tot 7), Kansas 9 (Chatzileonti 2, Kersgieter 2, Franklin 2, Mitchell 2). Blocks — Oklahoma 2 (Gregory, Vann), Kansas 5 (Chatzileonti 2, Helgren 2). Turnovers — Oklahoma 16 (Gregory 4, Greer 4), Kansas 8 (Chatzileonti 3). Fouled out — Oklahoma: Vann. Technical fouls — none. Attendance — 331.