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Moments That Popped: KU women rout Northwestern State in opener

Highlights and memorable moments from the Jayhawks' 88-46 win at Allen Fieldhouse

4 min read
Kansas point guard Wyvette Mayberry became a member of the 1,000-Point Club on Wednesday night during the Jayhawks' season-opening win over Northwestern State. [Chance Parker photo]

The KU women's basketball team moved to 1-0 on the season with a dominant win over visiting Northwestern State on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

Next up, the Jayhawks will dive into an early test on what head coach Brandon Schneider has said is by far their toughest non-conference schedule during his time at Kansas.

KU will play at Penn State on Monday and will not return to Allen Fieldhouse for a home game until Nov. 28.

Here's more from Wednesday night, including this PHOTO GALLERY from Chance Parker.


• Go get it, Holly: After leading 50-23 at halftime, the KU women went wild to open the second half. Their second possession ended with a perfectly executed lob pass to senior guard Holly Kersgieter, who used the back screen to perfection and went up and got the lob and finished it at the rim. It wasn’t anything above the rim, but it might’ve been just as sweet. The KU bench exploded with joy and smiles after Kersgieter’s bucket, which was perfectly symbolic of both how well they played and how much fun they had in Wednesday’s season opener.

• Play through Twin: No one was surprised by the Jayhawks’ offensive game plan — nor will anyone ever be — but KU threw it into senior center Taiyanna Jackson on 5 of their first 6 possessions. Sometimes that came in the deep post. Other times she caught it at the high post and moved it. And other times she backed her defender down and tried to create her own opportunity at the rim. No matter what it was, it worked and got the KU offense clicking in a hurry. The Jayhawks’ ball movement was exquisite and it all started with the touch for Twin and her quick and solid decisions after getting the ball.

• 3-point shooting: Imagine this: You’re Northwestern State, you’ve spent months thinking about ways to attack and defend this Kansas team, which had put a lot of things on film during the past couple of seasons for you to watch. And then you come out and watch point guard Wyvette Mayberry bury a couple of 3-pointers early to get the Jayhawks’ going. Mayberry has plenty of talent and should be respected and feared in her own right. But when you’re an opposing coach looking for a way to slow down Kansas, most of your attention probably goes to Jackson, Kersgieter, Zakiyah Franklin and even 5-star freshman S’Mya Nichols. If that continues, Mayberry is going to make teams pay all season long. KU finished 16 for 32 on the night from behind the 3-point line, which set a school record for the most makes in a single game in school history.

• 1,000-point club: KU guard Wyvette Mayberry reached 1,000 points in her career with a 3-point bucket in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's win. Mayberry entered the night with 990 career points —  603 of them came during her two seasons at Tulsa before transferring to KU — and finished with 17 points and 5 assists in 25 minutes.

• Bench looks better: KU's first five is going to carry a lot of the water this season. And they'll be the ones who are out there in crunch time and in the biggest moments of the biggest games. But the Jayhawks made it a point to improve their bench in the offseason and it appears they've done just that. Forget about going 11 deep on Wednesday night. The score and opponent had a lot to do with that. But players 6 through 8 or 9 in the rotation — Skyler Gill, Ryan Cobbins and Danai Papadopoulou were the first three off the bench in this one — looked like they will really be able to help this team. That was without freshman guard Laia Conesa (see below). That kind of bench production and quality minutes from that second unit is a welcome sight for a squad that got very little from its reserves a season ago.


• Laia Conesa’s debut must wait: The freshman from Barcelona, Spain was in street clothes on Wednesday night, nursing a minor injury that kept her out of the opener. KU coach Brandon Schneider said Tuesday that he was hopeful that the freshman guard would only be out a short period of time.

• Injury bug strikes: Midway through the fourth quarter with the game well in hand, reserve forward Zsofia Telegdy came down awkwardly and stayed on the ground for several minutes with an apparent injury. After getting to her feet, she was helped off the floor and taken directly to the KU locker room without putting much weight on the injured leg.


• Did that really just happen?: Midway through the second quarter, after Jackson blocked a shot by an NSU player, KU freshman S’Mya Nichols caught the ball and took it out of bounds as if the shot had gone through and KU was inbounding to start its next possession. In Nichols’ defense, she had her back turned under the basket while trying to defend her player as Jackson blocked the shot. After it went up and bounced on the deck, she clearly just assumed that it had gone in and tried to inbound as quickly as possible to get KU’s offense going. After a stoppage in play to talk about what had happened, the officials deemed that there was nothing they could do about it after play had continued following the strange sequence. Nichols, ever the charismatic customer, simply stood on the court smiling while explaining to teammates and coaches what had happened.

In Case You Missed It...

Follow along with KU freshman S'Mya Nichols, who has agreed to join us in chronicling her freshman season at Kansas in a series entitled "The S'Mya Diary." Look for new entries every week throughout the season.

• Part I

• Part II

Box score.

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