Texas A&M Downs Kansas, 78-63, in Big 12 Quarterfinals
March 8, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan.-- Hot three-point shooting from junior Angel Goodrich and freshman Natalie Knight and career numbers from freshman Chelsea Gardner could not stop No. 14 Texas A&M as the Jayhawks fell to the Aggies, 78-63, Thursday at Municipal Auditorium, knocking KU out of the Big 12 Championships.
Kansas dropped to 19-12 overall while the Aggies improved to 21-9 overall and move on to the semifinals of the Big 12 Conference Championship.
Goodrich and Knight combined to go 8-for-14 from behind the three-point arc during the contest with each Jayhawk knocking down four threes. The Aggies were even more accurate from behind the arc, shooting a scorching 61.5 percent off of 8-for-13, led by A&M's Alexia Standish's six treys.
Goodrich, a point guard from Talequah, Okla., scored a team-high 21 points and contributed nine assists while Knight grabbed 14 points and seven rebounds in the defeat.
Gardner, a forward from DeSoto, Texas, knocked in a career-high 13 points and nabbed a career-tying nine rebounds. Senior forward Aishah Sutherland also put up a double-digit effort, boasting a stat line of 14 points and six rebounds.
Early in the first half, after Kansas scored its first four points off of free throws, the Aggies responded with two three-pointers, broken up by a mid-range jumper from Sutherland. Although Knight then drained a three of her own, A&M's Sydney Carter sunk another from behind the arc to give the Aggies a 13-9 lead heading into the first media timeout.
Goodrich proved crucial over the next four minutes as the point guard knocked in two points and assisted on two buckets for Gardner to keep the score within three with 11:40 to play in the opening period. That second basket from Gardner sparked a 12-2 run from the Jayhawks, capped off with back-to-back inside makes from Sutherland and put KU up five, 25-20, with 6:53 to play in the first half.
Behind Carter, Texas A&M quickly made up the deficit, tying it at 27-27, with 4:46 to go in the half. The two teams stayed deadlocked, but Kansas held tough on the boards, out-rebounding the Aggies 19-8 during the first 15 minutes. That tie was finally broken by a last-second three-pointer from Goodrich as the shot-clock buzzer sounded, giving the Jayhawks a 30-27 advantage with 3:42 in the opening period.
The Aggies would respond with two quick buckets, including another three from A&M's Standish, to give them a 32-30 lead at the break. Sutherland led all scorers at the half with 12 points off of 5-for-9 shooting. Goodrich had already amassed six of her nine assists and five points during the first half, while Gardner had contributed seven points and seven of her career-tying nine rebounds. As a team, KU shot 39.3 percent in the first, but were finding trouble stopping A&M's three-ball, as the Aggies knocked down 50 percent of their shots behind the arc.
A&M started the second half just as hot, opening the period with another three. Knight followed up with a pair of free throws to put the game at 35-32, Texas A&M, with 19:26 to go in the game. Goodrich sunk another trey, but the Aggies retaliated with an 11-4 run, resulting in a 47-39 A&M advantage. Back-to-back threes from Goodrich and Knight got the Jayhawks within two before the Texas A&M hit yet another outside shot, their seventh of the contest.
Over the next three minutes, the two teams exchanged buckets before Standish knocked down her sixth three-pointer of the game, extending the Aggies' lead to six. After another Aggie basket, the score would not get within seven for the rest of the contest.
Coming out of the under-eight media timeout, Aggies made another offensive push, going on a 13-3 run over the next four minutes of play and putting the Jayhawks down 19, 73-54, with 3:24 remaining in the contest. KU responded with back-to-back buckets, including another three from Knight to pull within 14, but time was against the Crimson and Blue as they could not pull out the victory.
Kansas will learn its postseason fate Monday, March 12, when the NCAA Tournament field has been announced.