LAWRENCE — For more than 28 minutes, the Kansas women’s basketball team looked poised to score a victory in its Big 12 Conference opener against West Virginia.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
It was the last 12 minutes that made the difference.
West Virginia pieced together a 16-0 run in the middle part of the second half, taking control in a 65-55 victory over KU on Thursday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
In all, Kansas watched a 46-41 lead disintegrate as the Mountaineers dominated the rebounding battle. West Virginia outrebounded KU 47-28 and finished with 23 offensive rebounds. As a result, the Mountaineers had 20 second-chance points to Kansas’ two. Some of the issue came when KU went into a zone defense after falling behind early, but KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said the Jayhawks struggled to rebound out of their man-to-man defense as well.
“The rest of it is just sheer toughness,” Henrickson said. “We said, ‘We’re not asking you to jump higher today, we’re asking you in a moment to do your job, to go back and hit somebody and then go up and get (a rebound) like an athlete.”
Kansas, 7-6 overall, dropped to 0-1 in the Big 12, while West Virginia improved to 12-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big 12. Kansas guard Natalie Knight, an Olathe South graduate, led the Jayhawks with 15 points.
The Jayhawks led 28-27 at halftime after falling behind 13-3 in the opening minutes, but West Virginia’s size and athleticism won out. The Jayhawk will now travel to Big 12 favorite Baylor on Sunday.