Southeast Missouri State gave one of the nation's top women's basketball teams all it could handle Wednesday night.
The Redhawks never led but pulled into a second-half tie and stayed within striking distance until the end before Kansas posted a 68-58 victory at legendary Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
Kansas, ranked 25th after reaching last year's NCAA tournament Sweet 16, improved to 2-0. The Redhawks fell to 1-2 with their second straight road loss.
"I thought we really competed. We gave ourselves a great chance to win that game, we really did. I was proud of them," second-year Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler said. "We learned a lot from the game. We need to take a positive out of it. I think this team now believes it is good and that we can have a very good year."
Sophomore guard Allyson Bradshaw, a Notre Dame Regional High School graduate, continued her strong start to the season.
Bradshaw scored a team-high 17 points as she hit all five of her 3-point attempts. She is 9 of 11 from beyond the arc in her last two games.
Bradshaw leads the Redhawks offensively with a 16-point average. She has made 10 of 16 3-pointers.
"She's playing with a lot of confidence and shooting the ball really well," Margenthaler said.
Senior forward Brittany Harriel scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds for Southeast.
Junior college transfer point guard Jordan Hunter had eight points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Freshman guard Kara Wright had a strong performance off the bench with eight points.
"She's going to be special," Margenthaler said.
The bigger Jayhawks had a 44-36 rebounding advantage and held a 38-18 edge on points in the paint.
Carolyn Davis, a 6-foot-3 honorable-mention All-American senior forward, led all scorers with 27 points.
Tania Jackson, a 6-2 junior forward, added 12 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.
Senior point guard Angel Goodrich, another honorable-mention All-American, had 17 points, eight assists and five steals. She led the nation in assists last year with a Big 12-record 250.
"Their big kids are really good," Margenthaler said. "They've just got a very good team."
The Redhawks started slow, committing four turnovers on their first five possessions as they fell behind 9-0. But they would not let Kansas run away.
"We came out a little rattled but we kept our composure," Margenthaler said.
The Redhawks, down 34-27 at halftime and 38-27 early in the second half, steadily chipped away.
Wright's four-point play -- she hit a 3-pointer, was fouled and made the free throw -- with just under 15 minutes left cut the deficit to 42-41.
Bradshaw's third 3-pointer of the final period, with 14 minutes, 25 seconds remaining, forged the night's first tie at 44-44.
Southeast had two straight possessions to take its first lead but couldn't capitalize.
The Redhawks then went scoreless for more than eight minutes as Kansas used a 12-0 run to build the game's biggest lead at 56-44.
Southeast pulled within 58-53 on a Harriel 3-pointer with 2:49 left but got no closer.
"Every time they would go on a run we'd match it," Margenthaler said.
Southeast plays its third straight road game Monday, visiting Arkansas State at 7:05 p.m.