Supporting players stole the show for Kansas State women’s basketball on Saturday.
The Wildcats beat Iowa State, 80-68, in large part because of the bench, which put up a season-high 40 points.
“The start was problematic,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “We were a little slow in rotations and those things, but the bench came in and gave us a good lift.”
They sure did.
Iowa State opened the game with five unanswered points before a Kayla Goth layup. Goth finished with nine points.
The Cyclones responded to every move the Wildcats made in the first quarter.
But then Lanie Page came alive. She came off the bench and recorded five straight points. The redshirt freshman out of Wamego High School put together her best game in a K-State uniform and finished with 16 points.
“I think I’m at kind of an advantage because I haven’t played much this season, so I think the other team doesn’t really know what to expect out of me,” she said. “So it was really nice to step out and be able to get passes from my teammates.”
Mittie said Page was playing well in practice.
“The change in her, in a lot of areas, is just getting practice time,” he said. “Then offensively, we know she’s talented there. She can knock the 3 down, stretch the defense, but she’s got that craftiness to her game too that you got to see today. I thought she played well. First half was huge for us to come in and play as well as she did. We needed a lift, and she gave it to us.”
Kindred Wesemann led K-State with 17 points, while Eternati Willock and Karyla Middlebrook each added 11.
Wesemann was happy to see the energy her teammates brought off the bench.
“We needed it,” the senior guard said. “We weren’t getting it from the starting five, so for Lanie to come in and just put up some points for us, that was huge for us. She definitely brought some energy.”
The defense held strong, but the offense couldn’t get within two points. Then Goth hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game.
Iowa State was held scoreless for the last two minutes of the first period, and that held over until Seanna Johnson hit a 3-pointer to give the Cyclones back the lead. Johnson finished with 17 points, second only to Emily Durr’s 20. Heather Bowe also finished in double figures for Iowa State, recording 10 points off the bench.
The lead changed seven times in the game, many of those coming in the second quarter. Iowa State was white hot from the field early on, but Page struck again. She hit back-to-back 3s to give the Wildcats a three-point lead late in the first half, and K-State went into the break leading, 40-37.
“I think I just came in and gave us energy,” Page said. “I didn’t really expect to shoot a lot, but they left me open, so it was nice to be able to convert on good passes from my teammates.”
Page wasn’t the only Wildcat sinking 3s. K-State finished 8-of-16 from beyond the arc, and Mittie felt his team was more engaged in the game as it went on.
“I thought our team made really good decisions,” he said. “I thought we had timely passes. Middlebrook finds Lanie on the left side for that second 3 in the first half, and that’s a good play by Middlebrook to get her the ball after hitting a 3.”
Iowa State tied it up early in the second half on a TeeTee Starks and-1 but never led again. K-State pulled away as the third quarter progressed thanks to an 11-2 run.
Iowa State chips away at K-State’s lead in the fourth quarter but can’t get closer than four points. K-State didn’t lead by 10 or more until a pair of Middlebrook free throws, but the Cyclones respond with back-to-back 3s of their own to make it a four-point game with about three minutes left.
That was it for Iowa State. K-State closed out the game on an 8-0 run.
The Wildcats hit the road again on Wednesday, traveling to Morgantown to face West Virginia. Tipoff is at 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on Root Sports Pittsburgh.