Kansas 81, Detroit 67
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Detroit believed if it wanted a chance to get by Kansas, it would have to focus on controlling Tamecka Dixon.
The plan backfired.
Dixon scored 21 points and two other Jayhawks were in double figures Saturday night as Kansas defeated Detroit 81-67 in the NCAA West Regional.
``We hoped to put people in positions that they weren’t comfortable being in,″ Detroit coach Nikita Lowry said.
Instead, the third-seeded Jayhawks felt at ease in the home court against 14th-seeded Detroit (23-7), making its first appearance in the tournament.
``That’s the chance you take,″ Lowry said.
Freshman Lynn Pride had 15 points and eight rebounds for third-seeded Kansas (25-5). Angie Halbleib added 13 points and Nakia Sanford had 13 rebounds.
Kansas opened its largest lead of the first half, 36-21, with 1:46 remaining off seven consecutive points from Dixon. But Detroit fought back, closing the gap to 36-28 at the half.
Jeanie Hill led the Titans with 24 points, all but seven in the second half.
``I just wanted to get us back into it,″ Hill said. ``I’m usually the spark off the bench.″
Shafarrah Hill added 15 points and Jocelyn Boyd had 11 for the Titans.
The Jayhawks smothered Detroit on the boards, outrebounding the Titans 49-31.
Detroit did not help its cause down the stretch, putting Kansas on the foul line often. The Jayhawks were 18-for-27 from the line. Detroit finished 7-for-13.
The one area where Kansas showed vulnerability was in defending against the perimeter shot. Detroit was 8-for-20 in 3-pointers. That could be a sore spot Monday, when Kansas plays here against Vanderbilt in the second round. Kansas is 15-0 in Allen Field House this season.
Kansas coach Marian Washington said opponents are wrong to believe containing Davis is the key to stopping the Jayhawks.
``There’s always been more than just one player,″ she said. ``But when you have a player like Tamecka, she can make everyone better.″
Lowry, in her first year as head coach, said she thought even in defeat her players’ tenacity proved Detroit was emerging as a powerful basketball program.
``We scared Kansas,″ she said. ``Nobody thought we could even play with them.″