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Photo Gallery: KU fights but falls to No. 2 seed Texas

Jayhawks drop to 19-12 overall but still have won 9 of 11 & now await NCAA Tournament fate

5 min read
KU's starting five watches the pregame video at T-Mobile Center before Saturday's Big 12 quarterfinal clash with Texas in Kansas City, Missouri. [Chance Parker photos]

The 7th-seeded Kansas women's basketball team is a dramatically different team today than the one that went down to Austin, Texas and lost by 35 points in mid-January.

And that showed up loud and clear during Saturday night's quarterfinal clash between the two teams at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

While the game still went the way of the Longhorns — 76-60 — KU fought from start to finish and had plenty of moments where they were both in the game and it looked like they could win.

Ultimately, the Longhorns just had too much and Kansas didn't get what it needed from all areas of its roster.

Freshman guard S'Mya Nichols led the Jayhawks with 20 points while super-senior Holly Kersgieter added 17, including 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. Zakiyah Franklin, who went off in the Jayhawks' Friday night Big 12 tourney win over BYU, added 13 points in the loss.

Super-senior center Taiyanna Jackson, who tends to be one of the biggest keys for KU in any game against any opponent, fouled out midway through the fourth quarter after scoring just two points on three shots in 19 minutes on the floor.

The loss dropped the Jayhawks to 19-12 but KU still has won nine of its last 11 games and enters the week of the NCAA Tournament selection show comfortably on the right side of the bubble thanks to that late surge and a couple of big wins down the stretch.

"I think one of the more gratifying things as a coach is when you do go back and reflect on maybe a game film from early January and you see how much a team has improved," KU coach Brandon Schneider said after Saturday's loss. "I give our players all the credit for that. I think, you know, they've grown a lot over the last two months, and I think they have really developed into a team that could be really dangerous in the coming weeks."

Added Nichols: "I feel like we can compete with any team that's in front of us. We're never like, 'Oh, it sucks I have to play this hard team or this tough team.' At the end of the day, our coaches got our back. They'll give us the best scouts, and we're going to try our best to execute them."

Kansas will find out its postseason fate next Sunday — March 17 — when the women's NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed.

Here's a look back at some of Saturday night's action in Kansas City.

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