LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Danielle McCray scored 15 points and Krysten Boogaard added 12 to help Kansas (No. 24 AP) beat UCLA 54-49 Thursday night.
Darxia Morris led UCLA (4-3) with 13 points, and had a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 18 seconds left disallowed because of an offensive foul on teammate Christina Nzekwe.
On Kansas' next possession, Nzekwe was whistled for an intentional foul and Boogaard made both free throws to give the Jayhawks (5-2) a four-point lead.
The two teams exchanged leads throughout the second half as neither offense managed to develop any rhythm.
With Kansas holding a 48-46 lead in the final minute, Angel Goodrich tossed an errant pass that UCLA failed to convert into points at the other end.
Then, on the Jayhawks' next possession with 30 seconds left, McCray dribbled the ball off her foot to give the ball right back to the Bruins.
Kansas, however, managed to cling to a slim lead throughout the final minutes despite struggling heavily on offense.
The Jayhawks came into the game losers of two straight after opening the season with three lopsided victories. They lost both games by five points and coach Bonnie Henrickson insisted that her team needed to play better defensively.
That seemed to be the case as Kansas generated key stops in the crucial moments of the game.
UCLA made just 36 percent of its shots and committed 21 turnovers -- a combination that also reflects a poor offensive night for the Bruins. The Jayhawks didn't fair much better, making just 38 percent of their shots while committing 20 turnovers.
Fresh off a 61-47 loss to No. 6 Tennessee, UCLA gave Henrickson and her team everything they could handle Thursday night.
It certainly wasn't an impressive start for either team offensively.
UCLA held a slim 21-19 halftime lead despite making just 38 percent of its shot and committing 11 turnovers.
Kansas didn't fare much better.
The Jayhawks missed the rim entirely on several shots, and the situation didn't get much better at any point in the first half as Kansas made just 26 percent of its first half shots.
UCLA certainly had something to do with those numbers.
Behind a full-court press designed to trap Kansas' players in the corners, UCLA never trailed in the first half. That style disrupted a Kansas offense that entered the game averaging nearly 78 points per game.
McCray, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, scored just two points and played only 10 minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls.
She managed to stay out of foul trouble in the second half, while hitting big shots down the stretch to carry Kansas.