Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Gardner Hits Milestone as KU Women Hold off South Dakota

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Gardner Hits Milestone as KU Women Hold off South Dakota

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- Chelsea Gardner's 1,000th career point couldn't have come at a better time for the Kansas women's basketball team.

With less than 3 minutes left and KU needing a boost offensively, Gardner received a high-low pass and put in a layup with a foul, starting a late run that helped the Jayhawks secure a 68-60 season- opening victory over South Dakota on Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse.

"When I got back in, I had to make shots," Gardner said. "I was just focusing on finishing around the rim and getting to the free- throw line."

Though foul trouble plagued the KU senior for the entire second half, she certainly made the most of her minutes when she was in.

The layup with 2:52 forged a 57-all tie, and 30 seconds later, Gardner gave KU the lead for good with a jumper in the paint as coach Bonnie Henrickson continued to call isolation plays for her all-Big 12 forward.

"We want to be able to play the whole second half like that with her," Henrickson said.

That wasn't possible Sunday. Gardner picked up her third foul at the 18:19 mark before sitting nearly 10 minutes. After checking back in, she only played 36 seconds before picking up personal No. 4.

"I just knew I had to stay focused," Gardner said. "When Bonnie called my name to go back in, I had to come in ready and not draw the fifth foul."

Gardner was easily KU's best player for the closing stretch.

In the final 4:31, Gardner contributed six points and two rebounds, as KU held off a USD team that was picked to finish second in the Summit League.

"She's pretty tough," USD coach Amy Williams said of Gardner. "We don't see that kind of a player every day."

Gardner, who finished with 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting with 11 rebounds, became the 27th Jayhawk to hit the 1,000-point barrier.

"It means a lot, but more importantly, it means a lot to win too," Gardner said. …

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