KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma overcame an early 10-point deficit and then outlasted Kansas to win, 80-68, in the first Big 12 Women’s Tournament quarterfinal on Friday.
Oklahoma (24-7) advances to the semifinals at noon on Saturday, where the Sooners will face either Oklahoma State or Baylor.
Oklahoma was down by 10 points after an 11-0 Kansas run in the first quarter, propelled by the eight points of Jayhawks forward Ioanna Chatzileonti. But, the Sooners regrouped, slowly chipped away the lead and had nine different Sooners scoring points in the first half.
Oklahoma turned that 10-point deficit into a 45-32 halftime lead, with Taylor Robertson scoring eight first-half points. Kelbie Washington and Madi Williams each had seven points, as the Sooners ended up making eight first-half 3-pointers.
From there, Kansas (20-9) tried everything to get back into the game, and at one point had the lead cut to six points, thanks to guard Aniya Thomas. Her layup, followed by a baseline 3-pointer, cut the Sooner lead to 69-63 with 5:30 left in the game. But OU responded with a Robertson layup and regained control of the contest.
Williams led the Sooners with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Robertson added 19 points. Liz Scott scored 11 points and had eight rebounds.
Zakiyah Franklin led Kansas with 15 points, along with five assists. Chatzileonti finished with 11 points and four rebounds. Taiyanna Jackson added eight points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots.
The Sooners entered the game coming off a regular-season ending loss to Kansas, 73-67, in Norman. That ended a three-game winning streak for the Sooners, but it also demonstrated the unevenness of their final stretch of the regular season. The Sooners, after beating West Virginia, 101-99, in double-overtime on Feb. 3, lost four of their final seven games.
Kansas (20-9) entered the game with head coach Brandon Schneider earning Big 12 Coach of the Year honors and signing a long-term extension to remain with Kansas. While the Jayhawks lost on Friday, this is still their best season under Schneider and they’re pointed toward the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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