Chambers’ buzzer-beater lifts Cats past Texas, 51-49

By The Mercury

DALLAS — It was a perfect ending to another record-breaking night for Brittany Chambers.

Tied at 49 with 10.8 seconds remaining, Kansas State’s senior guard turned a broken play into a game winner Friday night in the opening round of the Big 12 Championship.

Chambers cut to the basket with time running out and received a pass from Mariah White for a buzzer-beating layup that bounced twice before eventually falling in — giving the Wildcats a 51-49 win over the Longhorns at American Airlines Center.

“I thought for sure I had missed it,” said Chambers, who scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds. “I told Coach (Deb Patterson) it would have haunted me the rest of my life. I felt like it was on that rim for 10 minutes. It was terrible.”

Chambers broke the school record for the most points scored during a senior season and become just the third player in K-State history to eclipse the 2,000-point milestone for a career, joining only Kendra Wecker and Nicole Ohlde.

The game-winning layup came on a night when the Wildcats chucked 32 3-pointers against the Longhorns, making eight.

“It’s kind of crazy that we scored in the lane, but they were expecting us to shoot a 3,” Chambers said. “We didn’t back-cut all game… we were looking to shoot 3s all night, so that back-cut was wide open because for 39 minutes, all we were doing was popping for 3s.”

Haley Texada scored 19 points for the Wildcats, who advanced to play No. 1 Baylor Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The sophomore was 7 of 13 from the field and 3 for 6 from behind the arc. Junior Chantay Caron added 10 points and five rebounds. Chambers, Texada and Caron combined to score 49 of the Wildcats’ 51 points.

K-State (15-16), which used only six players, led 27-17 at halftime, but it didn’t last.

Texas used a 9-3 run to take its first lead since early in the first half when the Longhorns went ahead 38-37 with 7:59 to play. Celina Rodrigo scored four points on the run, while Imani McGee-Stafford tallied three of her team-high 15 points. Texas (12-18) would build its lead to as many as five with less than 5 minutes to play.

K-State, which shot 35 percent from the field, rallied and tied the game at 47 using a 7-2 run with 2:09 remaining, as Caron buried her second 3-pointer of the second half.

Caron, who scored eight points in the game’s final 5 minutes, then gave the Wildcats a 49-47 lead with 59 seconds to go. But Texas answered when McGee-Stafford connected on a baseline jumper to tie the game at 49 with 30 seconds remaining.

Chambers, who was 6 of 13 from the field with three 3-pointers, took the ball on the inbounds and dribbled across the midcourt where the Wildcats called a timeout with 10.8 seconds remaining to set up the game’s final play.

“It was so fitting that the last play came down to tremendous execution from Mariah White and Brittany Chambers, on just a tremendous senior-to-senior play at the buzzer,” Patterson said.

The Wildcats will face the Big 12 regular season champion Bears Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — their second matchup with Baylor this week — televised on Fox Sports (Cox 34).

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