BOULDER, Colo. — The Kansas women are back in the Sweet 16.
The Jayhawks beat No. 4 seed South Carolina 75-69 on Monday night behind a 27-point performance from Monica Engelman and 20 from All-Big 12 point guard Angel Goodrich. KU (20-13) did it as a No. 12 seed, a year after making it as a No. 11 seed.
The Jayhawks didn’t trail after going ahead with 16:13 left, but had to fight out of six ties. Carolyn Davis shook off yet another knee injury to score the go-ahead points with 2:30 left.
Engelman’s 18 first-half points led Kansas to a 42-41 lead at intermission. The torrid pace created seven lead changes in the first 20 minutes.
Engelman wasted little time getting over the 20-point mark, but it was Goodrich who delivered the biggest basket of the second half on a four-point play. Knocked down by an elbow after putting up a trey from the left corner, KU’s stellar senior dropped in the foul shot for a 59-52 advantage with 12:30 left.
Elem Ibiam gave South Carolina its third tie of the second half before Engelman answered. KU suffered a setback on the next tie when Davis drew her fourth foul, sending Aleighsa Welch to the line. Davis, who played all season on a surgically repaired knee, limped to the bench and a trainer worked on her knee. She came back for the game’s last few minutes.
South Carolina’s two tallest starters, forwards Ashley Bruner and Welch, are listed at 6 feet. The Gamecocks brought the 6-3 Ibiam off the bench early in the game to counter KU’s 6-3 Davis and Chelsea Gardner.
Ibiam made an immediate difference. She scored three straight baskets from close range, keeping the Jayhawks in South Carolina’s sights.
A steal and race the other way by Ieasia Walker with 8:48 left in the opening half lifted South Carolina to its first lead, 22-21, since the opening basket.
Forced outside by a South Carolina zone, Markisha Hawkins and Engelman combined as KU knocked down three straight treys to prevent a Gamecocks runaway. South Carolina abandoned the zone and Davis forced a shot inside to regain the lead 40-39 with 1:48 left in the half.
KU (20-13) will play the winner of Tuesday’s game between top seed Notre Dame and Iowa. The regional continues Sunday in Norfolk, Va.
Percentages: FG .460, FT .667.
3-Point Goals: 5-10, .500 (Goodrich 2-4, Engelman 2-4, Hawkins 1-1, Boyd 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 7.
Blocked Shots: 6 (Williams 3, Davis 2, Hawkins).
Turnovers: 15 (Davis 5, Engelman 4, Harper 4, Williams, Goodrich).
Steals: 7 (Engelman 2, Hawkins 2, Harper 2, Goodrich).
Technical Fouls: Williams.
Percentages: FG .375, FT .591.
3-Point Goals: 2-8, .250 (Mitchell 1-2, Walker 1-5, Sessions 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 3.
Blocked Shots: 4 (Welch 3, Ibiam).
Turnovers: 13 (Walker 4, Welch 3, Mitchell 3, Bruner 2, Ibiam).
Steals: 9 (Walker 4, Mitchell 3, Welch, White).
Technical Fouls: None.
A2,171. OfficialsClark Stevens, Laura Morris, Kyle Bacon.