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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Coming off win, Jayhawks feel like they’re on ‘right path’ again

Members of the Kansas women's basketball team, including Holly Kersgieter (No. 13) and Julie Brosseau (No. 20) huddle up during the Jayhawks' home win over rival Kansas State on Jan. 23, 2021, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Members of the Kansas women's basketball team, including Holly Kersgieter (No. 13) and Julie Brosseau (No. 20) huddle up during the Jayhawks' home win over rival Kansas State on Jan. 23, 2021, at Allen Fieldhouse.

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After opening January with a slew of postponements followed by a three-game losing skid, members of the Kansas women’s basketball team finally feel like they’re starting to get their feet under them again.

The Jayhawks, coming off a rivalry win over Kansas State, are upbeat about where they’re at as a team, senior forward Tina Stephens said ahead of KU’s road trip to face Oklahoma Wednesday night.

“We’re still getting better,” Stephens said. “I think coming off of quarantine and a lot of injuries and what not, I think moving forward (beating K-State) is a good win for us just to keep us on the right path and striving forward.”

Sixth-year KU head coach Brandon Schneider said Stephens, who had to miss KU’s Jan. 14 loss at Texas, was a good example of how some of the Jayhawks are rounding back into shape and finding some consistency late in January.

“I thought she looked fresher and in even better condition today than she even did just a week ago,” Schneider said. “Playing in these games, being able to play yourself back into shape and being able to participate in practice is really important.”

What: Kansas (6-5 overall, 2-3 Big 12) at Oklahoma (4-7, 1-5)

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN+

Where: Lloyd Noble Center, in Norman, Okla.

Quick Note: Like many teams around the country, the Sooners have dealt with complications to their schedule and roster amid the pandemic, too.

Recent postponements in OU’s schedule make the matchup with KU the Sooners’ first home game in 24 days.

KU and Oklahoma squared off in Lawrence back on Dec. 10, and the Jayhawks won, 74-64. However, OU coach Sherri Coale only had six of her players available that night in Allen Fieldhouse.

OU continues to play without much depth, but more recently Coale at least has been able to use eight players.

Streaking: The word streaking doesn’t do OU junior guard Taylor Robertson justice.

The 5-foot-7 junior from McPherson is the national active career leader in 3-point field goals per game (3.96) and 3-point field goal percentage (44.7%, 281-for-629). Incredibly, Robertson is burying 46.9% (45-for-96) of her 3-pointers this season, and averaging 4.09 made 3-pointers an outing.

In her last game, Robertson went 5-for-11 at Baylor, which followed up a 7-for-10 show at Texas Tech and an 8-for-15 display at Iowa State.

Slumping: At one point earlier in the season, KU junior guard Aniya Thomas was averaging 11.8 points per game and reached double-digits in scoring five times in a stretch of six games.

Lately, Thomas hasn’t been quite as productive, since KU returned to action on Jan. 14 at Texas.

In the four games in January, Thomas is shooting 5-for-17 from the floor and 2-for-7 on 3-pointers, while averaging 5.3 points.

As Schneider alluded to, many players on KU’s roster have been impacted due to the lack of consistency over the past month in the team’s schedule, which until recently also included huge gaps in practice time.

Last game’s starters

Kansas

G — Zakiyah Franklin, 5-7, so.

G — Holly Kersgieter, 5-10, so.

G — Aniya Thomas, 5-7, jr.

F — Tina Stephens, 6-2, sr.

C — Chisom Ajekwu, 6-3, so.

Oklahoma

G — Nevaeh Tot, 5-3, fr.

G — Taylor Robertson, 5-7, jr.

G — Gabby Gregory, 6-0, so.

G/F — Madi Williams, 6-0, jr.

F — Mandy Simpson, 6-1, sr.

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