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BYU Women’s Basketball Falls To Kansas In Big 12 Tournament

Mar 8, 2024, 9:46 PM

BYU Women's Basketball, Amber Whiting, Big 12 Tournament...

BYU women's basketball coach Amber Whiting. The Cougars lost to Kansas in the second round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Kansas City. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

The third time wasn’t the charm for BYU women’s basketball against Kansas.

Kansas pulled away in the second half, outscoring BYU 42-20, leading to a 77-53 Jayhawk victory in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament. It was Kansas’ third win over BYU this season.

BYU trailed 35-33 at the halftime break. But the game changed dramatically when All-Big 12 Honorable Mention guard Kailey Woolston suffered an injury that sidelined her for the second half.

The already shorthanded BYU squad couldn’t overcome that injury as all five of the Jayhawks starters scored in double-figures.

“Obviously, it’s not the way we wanted it to turn out, but hats off to Kansas. They’re a really good team. They kept battling, they had a lot of weapons, and when Wooly [Kailey Woolston] went down in the second quarter, it kinda changed our game plan of what we had going,” said BYU head coach Amber Whiting. “So that was kind of hard to recover from, but at the end of the day, I’m proud of my women for fighting the whole forty minutes and doing what they do.”

BYU’s star forward Lauren Gustin scored 10 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. But once Woolston was out with an injury, the defensive attention from Kansas zeroed in on Gustin. The senior forward was 4-of-16 from the field.

“We weren’t making baskets and whatnot,” said Gustin. “Wooly going out, that took a big hit, and I’m proud of us for fighting and competing, even though we had a lot of adjustments we had to make.”

BYU women’s basketball hopes to continue playing this season

BYU falls to 16-16 in its first season as a Big 12 Conference member. The Cougars will now hope for a WBIT (Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament), which is run by the NCAA. If not, the WNIT could also be another possibility.

Coach Amber Whiting expressed a desire to continue playing in the postseason.

“We would like to. I want to get an evaluation of Woolston and see what’s wrong and how bad that is,” said Whiting. “Like Lauren said, when they love it and love being with each other and around each other, that’s a good thing to come out of the locker room with and have that feeling, so if we can [play] we would like to.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Women’s Basketball Falls To Kansas In Big 12 Tournament