Big 12 Basketball

Five Thoughts on the Kansas Women’s Basketball 2022-23 Season

Kansas guard Holly Kersgieter.

The Kansas Jayhawks finished 25-11 in 2022-23 in Big 12 women’s basketball and here are five thoughts on the team and the future with the season concluded.

The Wrap

The Kansas Jayhawks played their way into the AP Top 25 in non-conference. After a 6-0 start, the Jayhawks’ coming-out party was on Dec. 8, when it went to Arizona and pummeled the No. 12 Wildcats, 77-50. Arizona was less than two seasons removed from making it to the national championship game.


That win vaulted the Jayhawks into the Top 25. Even a loss to Nebraska to end non-conference, a triple-overtime slugfest with the Cornhuskers that ended with an 85-79 loss, didn’t dent the momentum. Or at least it didn’t look that way.

Kansas started by winning its first two Big 12 against unranked teams. Then it tangled with the league’s upper echelon — Baylor, Texas, and Oklahoma — and lost three straight. That was the Jayhawks’ rhythm all season. Win one, lose one. Win two, lose two. To end the regular season Kansas lost three and then won three and entered the Big 12 Tournament on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

A loss to No. 10-seeded TCU in the first round probably ended Kansas’ hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament. Instead, Kansas had to settle for the WNIT.

But the Jayhawks didn’t wallow. Kansas beat Western Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska (yep, a little revenge), Arkansas, and Washington before hosting Columbia in the WNIT championship game. The Jayhawks won, 66-59, giving them the crown in a tournament where they never had to leave Allen Fieldhouse.

The Leaders

This was a well-rounded team with two players averaging at least 15 points for the season — guard Zakiyah Franklin (15.7) and center Taiyanna Jackson (15.2). Franklin also led with 3.1 assists, while Jackson averaged a double-double with 12.7 rebounds and led the team with three blocked shots per game.

Guards Holly Kersgieter and Wyvette Mayberry also averaged double figures. Kersgieter averaged 13.8 points and a team-leading two steals per game. Mayberry, a transfer from Tulsa, averaged 11.4 points and had nearly as many assists per game as Franklin (3.0).


Guard Chandler Prater (9.5 points) and forward Ioanna Chatzeleonti (7.1 points) played key roles all season. But they were also the only other players aside from the four above to play at least 20 minutes per game. And Chatzileonti only played in 11 games due to injury. She missed the WNIT run.

Without her, guard Sanna Strom, forward Zsofia Telegdy and center Nadira Eltayeb received more playing time.

Who’s Leaving?

Kansas has four players listed as seniors on the roster — Jackson, Kersgieter, Franklin, and center Chisom Ajekwu.

Kersgieter, Franklin, and Ajekwu all appear to have COVID waivers they can exercise to return for a fifth season.

Since Jackson started her career at Trinity Valley Junior College when COVID shut down college sports, it’s not clear if she has a COVID waiver to use.

But it’s theoretically possible that all four players could return next season. It should be noted that only two — Kersgieter and Ajekwu — were honored on Senior Night in February.

Who’s Coming Back and Who’s Coming In?

Players that certainly have eligibility to return include Mayberry, Prater, Chatzileonti, Strom, Telegdy, Eltayeb, guard Mia Viksic, forward Katrine Jessen, center Danai Popadopoulou and guard Breeley Oakley. That’s 10 players before COVID-wavier players. If those four return, then it’s all 14 players back from a WNIT title team. This assumes no one transfers out, as prized recruit Bella Swedlund did at midseason.

Plus Kansas has a solid recruiting class. There were just two players, but snagging Overland Park, Kan., forward S’mya Nichols was quite the coup for coach Brandon Schneider and his staff. Nichols was ranked No. 34 in the country by ESPN before the early signing window.


Barcelona, Spain, guard Laia Conesa was the other signee.

That’s 16 players, if everything breaks right for Schneider and the Jayhawks. There’s really no scholarship room if that’s the case.

What’s Next?

Let’s assume everyone returns, including Jackson. Then the Jayhawks return their entire starting lineup. Jackson gets another year to grow. She’s already one of the true defensive forces in the Big 12. Now she has the offense to match. Kansas has several players that can make it rain from the arc. Prater runs the point. Chatzeleonti gets healthy. The depth gets better. Nichols probably makes an impact.

This could be a dangerous team next season. But the Jayhawks have to find a way to consistently beat the league’s elite teams in order for that to happen.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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