Huge victory by the women yesterday. It looked like they were heading towards a season that would get heads rolling, but this Baylor win puts them back on the path to being successful this season. It will likely take quite a few more wins, or maybe some big ones late in the season, but at least there is a chance now.
Kansas Women's Basketball
An aggressive KU team appeared after the timeout and never went away. The Jayhawks slowly chipped away because of their ability to stop Baylor’s offense, which culminated with a brief one-point lead in the first half’s final minute.
This season, Gardner has started all but one of the Jayhawks' 18 games and leads the team in scoring (16.3 PPG) and rebounding (7.6 RPG). Kansas just got to the .500 mark -- 9-9 -- with the win over Baylor, but defeating the Lady Bears has to be a confidence-builder for Gardner and her teammates.
Kansas took control of the game in the final 10 minutes after trading the lead for the first part of the second half. After Baylor took a 45-44 lead, Kansas went on a 32-15 run the rest of the game, highlighted by a layup and free throw from Harper that put Kansas up 12 with 4 minutes left.
"I definitely think it increases our confidence," Knight said. "The coaches have been expecting more out of us, and we're like, 'We're not winning.' We were kind of getting down on ourselves. So this was really good for us."
In desperate need of a victory that could turn around its season, Kansas University’s women’s basketball team might have earned just that Sunday afternoon, upsetting No. 7 Baylor, 76-60, at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas Men's Basketball
“I feel like we are always sending a message (to the Big 12),” Tharpe said. “Even though we have a lot of young guys on the team, they came ready to defend the title that we have right now.”
“I feel like because of how young we are, sometimes we just kind of let up,” KU freshman forward Brannen Greene said. “We haven’t been through tough games like that. We don’t know how to respond to it.”
The way Tharpe played that first half against Michigan, when he knew it was his show because of Johnson’s foul trouble, and the way he made clutch plays late in KU’s two most recent games at Iowa State and at home versus Oklahoma State, it makes me think what I suspected all along, that Tharpe could have steered KU to victory against Michigan had Johnson been tossed in the second minute of the game.
“Baylor is a very talented team,” KU senior Tarik Black said, caring more about the fact the Bears beat Kentucky (67-62 in Arlington, Texas) and Colorado (72-60 in Dallas) in the nonconference season, than stats from the past. “They can come out and beat anybody in conference any night of the week. They’re not somebody we should underestimate by any means just because they took a loss (66-64 to Oklahoma on Saturday at BU). We took some losses early in the season. See where we are today and how talented we are. They are the same-type team. We have to come out and be prepared and be dead serious with them.”
When things got nasty and tempers on the floor flared up, the Jayhawks stood tall, puffed their chests out and pushed back. It's a pride thing when that kind of scrum ensues and, especially because they were playing in their home building, it's clear that, although young and relatively new to town, these guys have plenty of pride in how they represent Kansas and they were not about to get punked by any Oklahoma State intimidation tactics.
No team has better demonstrated how a difficult non-league schedule can ease the transition into conference play than No. 15 Kansas. The Jayhawks’ non-league slate ranked first in the RPI and 13th in Ken Pomeroy’s Pythagorean non-conference strength of schedule rating. It featured tough neutral court games against No. 23 Duke and No. 6 Villanova, road tests against No. 7 Florida and No. 21 Colorado and a home meeting with No. 10 San Diego State. While Kansas didn’t emerge from that gauntlet without a few scars, when conference play began, it was ready.
Something that might get lost in the shuffle is just how well KU shot the ball against OSU. The Jayhawks' 62.5 percent effective field-goal percentage wasn't just the top mark against the Cowboys all year ... it was the best one by a wide margin; before Saturday, the highest eFG% OSU was 51.7% in a loss to Memphis.
"One thing that impressed me was the atmosphere by the Kansas fans at the basketball game," Fletcher told Kirby. "I have never witnessed anything like that. It was crazy and words can't describe it. They have good fan support at Kansas."