Zakiyah Franklin's season-high 25 points lead Kansas in win against West Virginia

Kansas guard Zakiyah Franklin puts the ball down and drives to the basket during the Jayhawks' home game against West Virginia on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Zakiyah Franklin puts the ball down and drives to the basket during the Jayhawks' home game against West Virginia on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Kansas women's basketball team may be headed in a new direction, but it was two of its most veteran players who took over on Tuesday night.

Junior Zakiyah Franklin scored a season-high 25 points, one shy of her career high, and senior Aniya Thomas had 12 points off the bench as Kansas extended its Big 12 winning streak to six games with a 74-63 victory over visiting West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks (18-5, 9-4 Big 12) last had a winning streak of that length at the end of the 1996-97 regular season. They swept West Virginia (11-12, 4-9 Big 12) for the first time since it joined the conference in 2012-13.

"They're not getting caught up in win streaks or the first this or the first that," said coach Brandon Schneider, who is seeking a first NCAA Tournament appearance in his seven seasons. "They know that in order to keep playing well, we have to keep preparing the right way."

Kansas won despite the absence of leading scorer Holly Kersgieter, who was honored prior to the game for scoring her 1,000th point against Kansas State on Saturday.

The junior guard picked up her second foul 1:58 into the first quarter, sat for much of the first half and scored eight points in the first five minutes of the third quarter.

But she became lightheaded with Franklin about to shoot free throws with 5:09 left in the third quarter and fell in front of the Jayhawks' bench. She did not lose consciousness and was helped to her feet and evaluated by Dr. Luis Salazar.

"I think initial feedback is just dehydrated, so they got her back and got her fluids," said Schneider, who slowed Kersgieter's fall. "I could just tell that she wasn't right and just looking in her eyes when she came off, and she just crumpled."

The Jayhawks attacked the rim often, even against West Virginia's taller frontcourt, and finished with a 40-20 advantage on points in the paint and an 41-35 edge in rebounding.

Franklin scored 10 points in the first quarter to spur the Jayhawks to an 18-16 lead after 10 minutes.

A late 7-0 run gave Kansas a 35-20 lead at halftime, and though it didn't score for the final 2:06 of the half, it began the third quarter on a 13-2 run that put it comfortably ahead at 48-30.

Thomas, who had two points in the first half, then stepped up. The guard, who fell out of the starting lineup at the beginning of the Jayhawks' win streak, made a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws in the final two minutes of the third quarter.

"I've been working and got in the gym, and then I had to come out today because of Holly's absence," Thomas said. "Everybody else had to step up and take over the minutes and do what they had to do."

Kansas held a 64-47 lead entering the final 10 minutes, and although West Virginia was able to pull within 11 points, neither team scored for the final 3:23.

Junior center Taiyanna Jackson had nine points and seven rebounds and sophomore forward Ioanna Chatzileonti had eight points and six rebounds for the Jayhawks, who shot 53.8 percent (28-for-52).

Freshman guard JJ Quinerly, who scored a career-high 22 points against the Jayhawks on Feb. 12, led the Mountaineers with 16 points on Tuesday. They shot 34.7 percent (26-for-75) and had just 11 turnovers.

Kansas will be back on the road for a game Saturday at Texas Tech. It won the first meeting 71-57 on Jan. 22.