Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chambers, Cats beat S.Dakota

Just six points shy of 1,500 for her career, it was more a matter of when, not if, Brittany Chambers would reach the milestone against South Dakota on Sunday.

It only took three minutes.

Chambers scored K-State’s first seven points in Sunday’s 68-54 win over South Dakota to become the 10th Wildcat in K-State women’s basketball history to record 1,500 points.

“It’s just a great tribute to a player that brings it every day, plays incredibly hard, practices hard and is a fearless competitor,” K-State head basketball coach Deb Patterson said about Chambers. “I think you need to bring those attributes to contribute at the level that she has.”

But it wasn’t just a solid opening minutes that broke records for the senior guard.

Chambers went on to finish the game with a season-high 29 points, enough to boost her to the ninth highest scoring women’s player in school history. Her other season high, 13 rebounds, secured her ninth-career double-double, and she became the third player in K-State history with 1,500 points, 625 rebounds, and 250 assists —  joining K-State basketball legends Kendra Wecker and Nicole Ohlde.

“It means a lot, if you look at the list, those are players that are unbelievable,” Chambers said. “I feel very privileged to be a part of that group and all credit goes to my teammates, the people I’ve played with…that have really put me in a position and have really had my back and supported me through everything.”

Despite shaky opening minutes where South Dakota kept the score close, trailing by only two points with 10 minutes to go in the first half, a combination of strong plays by both freshman guard Bri Craig and Chambers carried the Wildcats to a 37-21 lead going into halftime.

Starting with five points from junior forward Chantay Caron, the Wildcats closed the first half on a 14-4 run, and Chambers and Craig headed to the locker room with a combined 29 points.

“I was just very, very impressed with the consistent work ethic today of both Bri Craig and Brittany Chambers,” Patterson said. “I thought they were really on point, played extremely hard, consistent, and tried to impact the game in a lot of ways.”

Craig went on to finish the game with a career-high 14 points.

“The fact that the coaches are putting trust in me to go out there and actually play minutes, and being able to play with seniors like Brittany and upperclassmen like Chantay is really helping me to become a better player,” Craig said. “I’m just going to continue to get better.

K-State opened the second half strong, holding the Coyotes scoreless in the opening five minutes and quickly bringing its lead to more than 20 points.

With the game in hand, Patterson had the opportunity to play her entire roster and give significant experience to younger players. Freshmen Marissa Ellis and Stacey Malone each saw significant time late in the game.

“I think the score would have reflected a bit of a different game and the game would have been a bit of a different game if we hadn’t played so deep into our lineup,” Patterson said. “But at this stage in the season I think that’s important.”

The Wildcats return to Bramlage Coliseum on Sunday, Dec. 16 against UTEP at 1 p.m.

“I’m proud of our team being 7-0,” Patterson said, “playing everyone on the roster and really working to continue to give people the opportunity to see where they might make an impact when this team needs something from the bench.”

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