Senior guard Holly Kersgieter led the Kansas women’s basketball team to a 74-42 win over Texas A&M; on Wednesday night by delivering her best game of the season so far.
Kersgieter proved why she’s the Jayhawks’ No. 1 offense, scoring 23 points on a 56-percent shooting that night. She also added nine rebounds and three assists to her season-high.
“I’m glad Holly got her groove right,” senior center Taiyanna Jackson said after the win. “It opens up more for everyone else when Holly gets going.”
Kersgieter fired 9 of 16 shots overall, including 4 of 10 from 3-point range in 35 minutes of action.
“I think Holly has played really well all year, I just think she didn’t make 3s,” said KU coach Brandon Schneider after the win. “Three-point shooting can be up and down, and good shooters just have to keep shooting. I think their defensive mindset was really good and when you defend and rebound, good things happen to you on the offensive end.
Jackson continued her preseason dominance against Texas A&M; with a monster double double. KU-Zentrale finished their night with 16 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks to add to Kersgieter’s game height in points.
The duo’s offensive production and use of the glass helped Kansas outperform A&M; 42-16 in the second half, turning a six-point lead at halftime into a runaway win for the 6-0 Jayhawks.
Both teams went back and forth in the first quarter after a sloppy start to the game. The Aggies and Jayhawks combined seven turnovers and just 11 shots in the first 10 minutes of the game, and Kansas went into the second quarter with a narrow 14-13 lead.
“I don’t think we did a good job reading on the floor,” Schneider said. “We want to be aggressive on the transition but I thought we wanted to force the ball into some seams where there was traffic. The smarter play would have been to just hit the first open man and get the ball moving.
Despite the slow start, Kansas made up some ground and parted ways with the Aggies in the second quarter. The Jayhawks played aggressive defense at low to prevent easy layups from going up and held Texas A&M; off the board during an 8-0 run that spanned 4:25 minutes of play.
That stretch gave KU a six-point lead at halftime.
KU opened the third quarter with another scoring run to extend their halftime lead and the Jayhawks finally got their offense going. The Jayhawks started the second half on an 11-0 run and spanned the first 4:57 of the third quarter, giving Kansas a 17-point lead.
It was at this point that the Aggies finally broke their scoring drought with a midway jump from freshman guard Sydney Bowles to pick up their first bucket of the half.
The Jayhawks dominated the quarter in almost every facet. Kansas outplayed the Aggies 21-8 in the quarter while shooting 50% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc, all with the help of their star player.
Kersgieter continued her excellent night of shooting in the third quarter, hitting an 8-0 scoring solo run with three straight buckets in just over a minute of play.
The Kansas defense choked in the second half, holding Texas A&M; to just 16 points throughout the half, while KU continued to extend their lead. The Aggies just couldn’t get easy shots inside and scored just six points in the paint at half-time.
“I think we’ve stayed really committed. We talked a lot at halftime about defending the color and then trying to touch the color on offense,” Schneider said.
Next, the Jayhawks will host Southeast Missouri at 2:00 p.m. Sunday at the Allen Fieldhouse.