LAWRENCE, Kan. — Despite leading by double figures at the half, the West Virginia University women’s basketball team (12-5, 3-3 Big 12) fell to Kansas, 77-58, inside Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, on Wednesday night.
Junior forward Kylee Blacksten led WVU’s scoring efforts, tallying 13 points for her second straight double-digit scoring performance. For the second consecutive game, four Mountaineers finished in double figures, as senior guard Jayla Hemingway (12), sophomore guard JJ Quinerly (12) and redshirt sophomore guard Kyah Watson (10) joined Blacksten in double figures. Quinerly and junior guard Savannah Samuel led the Mountaineers in rebounds, hauling in six boards apiece.
As a team, West Virginia finished the game shooting just 21-of-66 (31.8%) from the field, including 6-of-29 (20.7%) from 3-point range. The Mountaineers led the Jayhawks in points off of turnovers, forcing 23 KU turnovers and turning them into 24 points. Kansas shot 25-of-53 (47.2%) from the floor and 7-of-22 (31.8%) from beyond the arc.
Watson helped the Mountaineers get on the board first. She shot 3-of-3 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, to give WVU an early, 8-3 lead. The Jayhawks began to find their shot as West Virginia went cold from the field, but the Mountaineer defense forced five Kansas turnovers in the first quarter to hang in with KU and hold a 17-15 lead at the quarter break.
Opening the second quarter, West Virginia continued to struggle to score, but so did the Jayhawks, as the 17-15 score line held until nearly three minutes into the second frame when a Nichols free throw and a Blacksten layup ended WVU’s scoring drought. Although the Mountaineers couldn’t get much going themselves, they managed to hold KU to 1-of-7 from the field and force seven Jayhawk turnovers to outscore Kansas, 14-3, over the final four minutes and take a 34-20 lead at the half.
Out of the locker room, West Virginia held to its lead, despite Kansas beginning to find its rhythm at the hoop. After going nearly scoreless in the final minutes of the first half, the Jayhawks went 6-of-10 from the field and cut WVU’s lead to 42-34 by the first media timeout. Kansas then went on a 15-4 run to draw within one at the end of the third quarter.
Opening the final frame, Blacksten scored in the lane to put WVU up by three, but KU nailed a pair of triples to go up 49-46. From there, it was all Kansas, as the Jayhawks outscored the Mountaineers, 34-14, in the fourth quarter to claim the 77-58 victory.
With the loss, West Virginia moves to 16-7 all time against the Jayhawks, including 8-4 in games played in Lawrence. KU has now won three straight over the Mountaineers, after it claimed both matchups in 2021-22.
The Mountaineers now return to Morgantown to play host to Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 21, inside the WVU Coliseum. Tipoff against the Lady Raiders is tabbed for 1 p.m. ET, and it will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the Mountaineer Sports Network, including 100.9 WZST-FM.