With four minutes remaining, No. 23 Oklahoma held a four point lead over Kansas women’s basketball, a lead that could have disappeared but didn’t.
Senior guard Madi Williams put the finishing touches on the Jayhawks with a five-point swing that opened up the score to 15 late, but senior guard Taylor Robertson was the catalyst for 38 minutes with a game-high 24 points. The Sooners’ relentless offense carried them to a 82-68 victory.
“Everybody in the league, you have to play her [Robertson] a certain way, and you have to limit her touches…we lost her some in transition, we went on the wrong side of some screens and when you do that, she’s such an elite shooter,” Kansas coach Brandon Schneider said.
Scouting report confusions were primarily put to blame, but when simply put, it was a build up of small mental errors that erupted into continuous points for opponents.
“Yeah, it was small things added up,” junior guard Holly Kersgeiter agreed. “I think, maybe, we didn’t always follow the defensive plan. I think we got a little out of sorts at times.”
Out of sorts from Kansas came at the worst of times. The score sat at 64-60, but then the Sooners’ 18-8 run in the final four minutes and change silenced Kansas’ larger than normal crowd.
Play didn’t start so hectic though. In the first quarter, it was all about post entry passes that set up high-low actions for mainly junior center Taiyanna Jackson and sophomore forward Ioanna Chatzileonti. Inside post presence in conference play is crucial, especially when most other teams match the Jayhawks’ size.
“She’s [Jackson] an extremely important part of our team…and now to see her be able to play 30 minutes is extremely encouraging,” Schneider said.
Fourth quarter woes definitely set the Sooners apart, but second quarter shooting is what really handed the momentum to Oklahoma. The Sooners erased the 12 point deficit and merely exchanged places with the Jayhawks.
This go around, it was 23 points for the Sooners compared to 13 for the Jayhawks, but Schneider believed in his veteran bunch and waited till the Sooners were within a possession to call a timeout.
“Timeouts have become so valuable in the fourth quarter when you can advance the ball that I’ve always felt like you got to be pretty judicious with them, especially when you have the lead,” Schneider said.
Kansas hosts TCU on Monday at 6:30 p.m.