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Kansas beats Columbia to win WNIT championship

Icon Sportswire / Getty

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Taiyanna Jackson had 17 points and career-high tying 21 rebounds — her fourth consecutive double-double and 23rd of the season — Zakiyah Franklin added 19 points and Kansas beat Columbia 66-59 Saturday to win the WNIT championship.

Chandler Prater added nine points, 11 rebounds and four steals for Kansas (25-11) and Wyvette Mayberry scored 12 points. The Jayhawks finished with their most wins since the 1997-98 team that also won 25 games and set a program record for home wins in a season with 19.

This season Kansas made its first appearance in the AP Top 25 in nearly a decade after the Jayhawks — who won 21 games last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013 — set a program record with 10 consecutive wins to open the season.

Columbia (28-6) struggled offensively against the length and athleticism of the Kansas defense. The Lions, who went into the game ranked No. 13 nationally in scoring offense (78.8 per game) and No. 12 in rebound margin (plus-8.5), were held to fewer than 60 points for just the third time this season and outrebounded (49-41) for just the fourth time.

Franklin scored eight straight Kansas points in a 12-5 spurt that gave the Jayhawks a 29-25 lead — the largest by either team to that point — with a minute to go in the first half. After Kitty Henderson hit a 3 for the Lions, Chandler Prater's jumper made it 31-28 at intermission. Henderson hit a 3-pointer, Abbey Hsu made a jumper and Jaida Patrick added another 3 in the first 68 seconds of the third quarter to put Columbia ahead by five before a 15-0 spurt gave Kansas the lead for good.

Columbia missed 10 consecutive field goals and made just one of its next 15 from the field after Patrick's 3 and Kansas never trailed over the final 18 minutes.

Hsu led the Lions with 19 points and Kaitlyn Davis scored 13. Hsu finished the season with 606 points, two shy of the program record set by Camille Zimmerman in 2016-17.

Jackson had three blocks to extend her single-season Kansas record to 109.

Columbia is the first team in Ivy League history to advance to the WNIT's championship game. Last year, the Lions were the first team in conference history to make it to the Great Eight, where they fell to Seton Hall, 78-75.

Columbia’s 28 wins this season are a new program record, three more than the previous record set last year when the Lions went 25-7.


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