A shot to the head — or so it appeared — seemed to be the only thing that could stop Brianna Osorio.
In the midst of a career-best 28-point performance in an eventual 68-56 loss to Texas Tech, the KU guard converted on a layup and then fell to the floor as Tech's Grayson Bright appeared to swat her in the head with her left arm.
Osorio remained on the ground while the referees checked for a flagrant foul, but she made zero attempt to hide what had happened after the game.
"Um, no," Osorio said, asked if she got hit. "I was just buying myself some time. I needed a breather."
That level of honesty was a rarity from the Jayhawks, who dropped to 11-7 on the year (2-5 in Big 12 play).
In fact, it was the polar opposite that caused coach Brandon Schneider to open his postgame press conference by invoking a cartoon.
"You guys ever watch 'Scooby-Doo?'" Schneider said. "Felt like I was in a 'Scooby-Doo' episode for about 30 minutes — where at the end, they always find somebody in a closet with a bag over their head and it's the impostor. That was us tonight.
"That's not our team. That's not how we prepare."
As it were, "impostor" wasn't the harshest word spoken by the third-year KU coach.
Asked about Osorio, Schneider said, "She demonstrated that she has some heart, she has some guts and that she's not a coward."
Asked about what irked him, Schneider brought up how his team got "whipped on the glass," "whipped in the turnover margin" and how the players took shots "hoping to get fouled versus going to score the ball, like a grown-up."
Asked about the potential of his team overlooking Tech because of a win earlier this season, he shot right back: "If it did, then you're immature. You've got to show up ready to compete."
The numbers, as Schneider alluded to, bore that out.
The Jayhawks trailed from the onset, missing their first eight shots to fall behind 8-0.
KU, which bricked four 3-pointers in that stretch, went on to miss its first 14 3s. That total included four misses from Kylee Kopatich, who entered the day shooting 35.9 percent in that area.
KU's first 3-point make, which came with just over seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter, was banked in by Christalah Lyons.
"If your shots aren't falling on the defensive end, you can pick it up," said Sydney Benoit, who played a career-high nine minutes and scored the first basket of her KU career late in the contest. "I just felt like we really struggled on, I guess, both ends to do that."
Outside of Osorio, the offense never really picked up.
Osorio made 10 field goals. The rest of the team made nine.
She made eight free throws. The rest of the team hit seven.
She scored 28 points, driving into the paint over and over down the stretch to keep KU's chances somewhat alive. Benoit's late bucket at least salvaged a tie in that area.
"We just didn't come to play. They played harder than us. They played with more emotion than us," Osorio said. "We were kind of playing catch-up the entire game, at our home. That kind of sucks."
Certainly it stuck with Schneider.
"We were not mentally and physically ready to compete," he said. "We got just what we deserved."
It also stuck with recently appointed Texas Tech interim coach Shimmy Gray-Miller all the same.
After getting her first win in Big 12 play, the coach walked to the table in the Allen Fieldhouse media room with a smile on her face. Her shirt was drenched in Gatorade, undoubtedly a part of a celebration that took place in a "very relieved, happy" Texas Tech (7-11, 1-6) locker room.
"Excuse my appearance," she joked. "Next time I'll use a straw."
Calvert not with Texas Tech
McKenzie Calvert, who transfered from KU to Texas Tech after the conclusion of last season, is no longer with the Red Raiders. Calvert left the team sometime in the days following a 73-52 loss to Oklahoma.
Gray-Miller was asked what the transition has been like with Calvert off the team. She gave a strong response.
“Seamless. We are focused and committed to the young ladies that are on this team, to the young ladies that buy into the process,” Gray-Miller said. “We have standards here, and we have values. So we’re going to roll with the Lady Raiders that buy in, and it’s been seamless.”
Mitchell’s jersey to be retired
KU women’s basketball announced Wednesday morning that KU second all-time leading scorer Adrian Mitchell (2,124 career points) would be getting her jersey retired at halftime of the Kansas State game on Jan. 28.
Mitchell, a two-time All-Big Eight honoree and 1978 NWIT All-American, also ranks second all-time at KU in rebounds (1,288) and is one of only two players to tab at least 2,000 career points and 1,000 career boards (Lynette Woodard). She will become the fourth KU women’s basketball player to have her jersey retired. Woodard, Angela Aycock and Tamecka Dixon are the other three with those honors.