The Kansas Jayhawks team that left the court at halftime of their game against the West Virginia Mountaineers down by 14 points was not the same team that came back onto the court after the break. And whatever was in that halftime speech from head coach Brandon Schneider might need to be written down to be refer to later this season.
With Wyvette Mayberry on the bench for the entire second half with foul trouble, the Jayhawks stagnated on offense, only scoring 5 points on 2-11 shooting. They were held to just 20 points in the first two periods, while shooting 9-27 from the field, including 2-13 from long range. They didn't go to the line a single time. They turned the ball over 14 times and committed 9 fouls.
The Mountaineers didn't have any of those problems, scoring 17 in each of the first two quarters despite shooting 12-33 from the field. They only committed 5 turnovers. And they had a balanced attack, with four different players scoring at least 6 points. Kyah Watson led the Mountaineers with 10 points, including scoring the first 8 points of the game for her team.
The second half started much better for the Jayhawks, as they at least matched the Mountaineers in the first half of the third quarter. The lead was still at 14 after a Madisen Smith layup with 5:55 left in the third quarter. But that's when everything changed.
Wyvette Mayberry drew a foul driving to the basket and drained both free throws. Then Zakiyah Franklin made back-to-back layups. Holly Kersgieter and Taiyanna Jackson got into the action with layups, and then Franklin and Kersgieter hit back to back threes to give Kansas a 15-0 run and their first lead of the game. They went into the fourth quarter down just 1 point after a Kylee Blacksten jumper with a minute left in the quarter.
And the run continued into the fourth quarter. After Blacksten opened the fourth with another layup, Kansas used the next five minutes to go on an 18-2 run to put the lead at 13 points. And it only got better from there, with Kansas shutting down every opportunity for a West Virginia run the rest of the way.
Wyvette Mayberry and Zakiyah Franklin led the way with 19 points each, with big second halves of 15 points and 14 points respectively. Holly Kersgieter exploded for all 16 of her points in the second half. Taiyanna Jackson got yet another double double, with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
The win breaks a three-game losing streak for the Jayhawks, and pulls them back to .500 in the conference. With some big results in the conference tonight, they are right in the middle of the standings, with an opportunity to make up some ground in the coming games.
Next up for the Jayhawks is a road game against the Iowa State Cyclones. Tipoff is scheduled for this Saturday at 5:00pm. The game will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+
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