Women’s Basketball Kicks Off in Dominant Win

Ben Hooke | @ben_h_hooke

Coming off a WNIT championship, the Kansas Jayhawks kicked off their most anticipated campaign ever with a spectacular performance, burying the visiting Northwestern State Demons under an early deluge of three-pointers and never looking back in a commanding 88-46 opening victory.

Kansas started the barrage right away in the first quarter. Off the opening tip, a quick passing sequence opened up an easy gap in the Demons zone, and Wyvette Mayberry made no mistake by splashing home a three-pointer to open the game.

After a lone free-throw from Kansas center Taiyanna Jackson, Jiselle Woodson put the Demons as close as they’d come all night with a triple from the corner, but from there, it would be all Jayhawks.

A 16-3 run, powered by four three-pointers and untimely NSU turnovers, would blow the game open with Kansas leading 20-6 at the first media timeout. The brief break couldn’t cool down the Jayhawks, and they tacked on a bonus 10-3 run for the final five minutes of the quarter to lead by a staggering 21 points after just the first quarter.

The hot shooting continued for the second quarter despite a much-improved showing from Northwestern State. A fairly even opening five minutes were on hand as the teams traded buckets back-and-forth, with the Demons unable to build any real momentum to overcome the wide deficit but matching Kansas in shooting. It was a cooler end of the half, as the Jayhawks actually ended on a nearly four-minute scoring drought to enter the half still leading 50-23.

With such an advantage, the Jayhawks dropped the tempo in the third frame, opting to maintain the lead rather than push to build on it. Coupled with sloppy play and further improvement from the Demons, the lead only improved by five points, with the Demons scoring a game-best 17 points to notch the score at 72-40 through three quarters.

The fourth quarter played out as effective development time, with both sides resting their starters just minutes in. The Jayhawks still got the crowd in attendance going, getting the loudest ovation of the night with three minutes to play as Wyvette Mayberry knifed through the defense and scored the layup for the 1000th point of her college career. The Jayhawks still outscored their opponents 16-6 in the final frame and coasted to the final score of 88-46.

It was a scorching performance from beyond the arc, as the Jayhawks knocked in a program-record 16 three-pointers. Wyvette Mayberry and Holly Kersgieter paced Kansas with 17 points apiece and nine combined threes, while Taiyanna Jackson followed with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 steals. Niaisya Ervin led Northwestern State with 10 points.

The Jayhawks return to action on November 13, when they travel to University Park for a matchup with the Penn State Lady Lions. The game will be streamed on ESPN+. Tipoff is set at 5:00.