Ames, Iowa — A monumental discrepancy at the free-throw line doomed Kansas University's women's basketball team in its Big 12 Conference opener Wednesday night.
The Jayhawks (5-8, 0-1) were outscored 33-2 at the stripe in a 61-50 loss to Iowa State (13-1, 1-0) in Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones cashed 13 free throws in the last minute and a half and 33 of 46 overall compared to KU's 2-of-5 mark.
The Jayhawks, who had double-figure scorers in Kelly Kohn (12) and Shaquina Mosley (10), finished with eight more field goals than the Cyclones and four more three-pointers.
But Lyndsey Medders and Nicky Wieben, who each had 17 points, led a parade to the free-throw line that proved too much for KU to overcome. Medders made 13 of 16 free throws, but just two of 10 floor shots. Wieben cashed nine of 11 free throws and also was 4-of-7 from the field.
"The point is we found a way to win," ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said. "Being able to finish free throws is probably the difference in the game."
Down 28-19, KU rallied to tie it at 35 with 10:30 remaining. The Cyclones expanded the margin to seven points, 51-44, with 1:18 left, but KU hit back-to-back treys to get within three, 53-50.
ISU didn't allow the Jayhawks to score the rest of the way, while hitting eight free throws down the stretch.
"We are that close. It's what is so frustrating," KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "We didn't win, but we got better, at least. We played with some toughness the second half."
Sharita Smith and Mosley performed well off the bench for KU.
Smith scored seven points with two boards, and Mosley had three assists and two boards to go with her 12 points. Junior Taylor McIntosh, the only non-freshman in the starting lineup, had 12 boards and six points.
"Sharita defensively was solid. Shaq and Sharita as seniors gave us what they could. They did a nice job," Henrickson said. "We came in tonight wanting to make them (Cyclones) feel uncomfortable, make sure everything is contested. Defensively we were solid."
Iowa State went on an 8-0 run midway through the first period to take a 17-8 lead with 6:12 to go.
Kansas hit a pair of field goals the rest of the way, but ISU was limited to the free-throw line, where the Cyclones hit five free throws. ISU shot just 27.8 percent from the field in the first half; the Jayhawks hit 24 percent. ISU finished at 38.2 percent, KU 35.
KU will play host to Baylor at 3 p.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.
Notes: Freshman Porscha Weddington scored a career-high six points in her second start ... Six Jayhawks played in their first Big 12 game ... The loss snaps a two-game winning streak versus the Cyclones ... Kansas is 1-2 in Big 12 opening games under Henrickson and 4-7 all-time ... KU is 1-2 in road games ... KU's 14 first half points was its lowest in a half this season ... Kansas started four freshmen (Kohn, LaChelda Jacobs, Sade Morris, Weddington) and a junior (McIntosh) for the second consecutive game ... Attendance at Hilton Coliseum was announced at 6,390 ... The game was broadcast nationally on CSTV.