LAWRENCE, Kan. – Holly Kersgieter scored a game-high 17 points and Taiyanna Jackson posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds to lift the Kansas Jayhawks to a 72-61 win over Jacksonville in the season opener Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks won their sixth straight home opener with the victory and moved to 1-0 on the young season, while Jacksonville dropped to 1-1.
“We found a way to win with just one guy playing well. I thought Taiyanna Jackson played really well. I thought Jacksonville was very scrappy and played hard. It was the right kind of game for us to start the season. I would much rather have this challenge than go and win by 35 in the first game. I would expect that team to win a lot of games in their league.”
HEAD COACH BRANDON SCHNEIDER
It didn’t take long for Kansas to hit its stride offensively in its season debut. The Jayhawks shot 47 percent from the floor in the opening quarter and held Jacksonville to 28 percent shooting as they opened up a 23-15 lead after the opening quarter.
Trailing 8-7 just more than three minutes into the game, Kansas went on a 13-3 run to grab a 20-11 lead with 3:12 to play in the first. The lead grew to 10 with 1:50 to play when Sanna Strom connected on a 3-pointer off a pass from Kersgieter.
The Dolphins cut it to eight in the final minute of the quarter with a layup.
Leading 23-17 early in the second quarter, the Jayhawks went on another run to take a double-digit lead, this time going on a 10-2 burst to take a 33-19 lead with 6:38 to play in the opening half. Wyvette Mayberry, a transfer from Tulsa making her Kansas debut, capped the run with a 3-pointer, marking her second of the quarter.
The lead grew from there when Mia Vuksic hit a 3-pointer to make it a 15-point lead. Kersgieter then scored on a jumper to make it 38-21 midway through the second quarter. Kansas went up 19 when Jackson hit a layup to make it 40-21. Jacksonville, however, was able to cut it to a 13-point game, 42-29, at the break.
In the third, the lead grew to 16 when Kersgieter hit a jumper 14 seconds into the quarter. But the Dolphins offense went to work and eventually cut the lead to eight with 4:59 to play in the third, 47-39.
The Jayhawks wouldn’t let the Dolphins get any closer, however. A free throw from Ioanna Chatzileonti and a layup from Jackson pushed it back to double digits at 11. Kansas took a 13-point lead in the final minute of the quarter when Chatzileonti made a layup to go up 54-41. However, a 3-pointer from Deshari Graham made it 54-44 at the end of the third quarter.
Jacksonville again attempted to make a comeback in the fourth quarter and got it to a five-point deficit at 54-49 just more than a minute into the final frame.
Kansas pushed it to 11, but Jacksonville again had an answer and cut the lead to four at 60-56 with 5:02 to play in the game.
The Jayhawks quickly got the lead back to nine thanks to an and-one from Zakiyah Franklin and two free throws from Jackson.
Leading by eight, Chatzileonti iced the game with an and-one with 42 seconds left to make the final deficit 11 and give Kansas a win on opening night.
Franklin finished in double digits with 10 points, while Chatzileonti approached a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds. The Jayhawks did a lot of their work in the paint, outscoring Jacksonville 30-16 in points in the paint.
The Jayhawks will return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 16 versus UT-Arlington at Allen Fieldhouse. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, fans can click here or call 800-34-HAWKS.
Senior Taiyanna Jackson, who set the single-season record for blocks with 95 last year, blocked two in the season-opener against Jacksonville. Jackson also scored 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds for her fifth career double-double.
Sophomore Sanna Strom made her first career start as a Jayhawk, recording seven points on 28 minutes. Strom also set a new career-high with two steals.
Senior Zakiyah Franklin scored 10 points and dished four assists for the Jayhawks. Franklin heads into the next game 18 points shy of 1,000 career points.
In her first game as a Jayhawk, junior Wyvette Mayberry had eight points and two rebounds on 14 minutes.
The Jayhawks were in control of the lead for 36:44 minutes.
The Jayhawks shot 14-of-33 (.424) in the first half to take a 42-29 lead and finished the game shooting 24-of-59 (.407).
KANSAS: THE LAST TIME (INDIVIDUAL)
Had 10 Rebounds: Taiyanna Jackson (12)
Posted a Double-Double: Taiyanna Jackson (16 pts, 12 assists)
KANSAS: THE LAST TIME (TEAM)
Had 40 Rebounds: 43
OPPONENT: THE LAST TIME (INDIVIDUAL)
Double-Double: Seraphi Baston (14 pts, 12 assists) vs. Jacksonville, 11/9/22
Had 10 Rebounds: Seraphi Baston (14) vs. Jacksonville, 11/9/22