Cyclones too big for Wildcats

By Joshua Kinder

Sometimes it just isn’t your day.

Unfortunately for the Kansas State women’s basketball team, it’s starting to look like it isn’t the Wildcats’ month.

K-State dropped to just 1-6 in February on Saturday, losing to 24th-ranked Iowa State, 69-50, at Bramlage Coliseum. It was the Wildcats’ third straight loss, as the Cyclones swept the season series.

With the loss, the Wildcats fell below .500 for the season at 13-14 and 4-11 in the Big 12. The Cyclones improved to 19-6 overall and 10-5 in the Big 12 to maintain second place behind Baylor.

K-State struggled to get anything going from the start, opening the first half just 4 of 21 from the field and finishing the half shooting just 18 percent (5 for 27). Iowa State, on the other hand, had no trouble offensively, relying on its overwhelming size to dominate the undersized and outmanned Wildcats inside.

The Cyclones, who shot 46 percent from the field, pounded the ball into the post to 6-foot-7 center Anna Prins, 6-2 forward Chelsea Poppens and 6-3 forward Hallie Christofferson for a combined 25 first-half points — including the first 14 points of the game. Iowa State’s size also led to a mismatch on the glass where the Cyclones outrebounded the Wildcats 42-26.

“That’s where our advantage was, and you can tell by the stat sheet that’s where we got most of our shots,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “Our big guys wanted the ball and our little guys were getting it to them.”

K-State, which shot 31 percent from the field, used a variety of combinations to guard the post, including 5-7 point guard Mariah White. At one point in the first half, 5-5 Kendra Spresser wound up on Prins in the paint.

“It’s funny when you’re posting up and you can’t really see the person defending you because they’re so small,” said Prins, who scored a team-high 18 points.

Using a 14-3 run to open the game, Iowa State led by as many as 27 in the first half. The Cyclones outscored the Wildcats 18-4 in the paint alone in the first half, en route to a 39-17 advantage at the break.

The Cyclones proved they could beat the Wildcats on the outside too, using an inside-outside game to create open looks on the perimeter — finishing 8 of 19 from behind the arc. Brynn Williamson and Nicole Blaskowsky were a combined 6 of 12 on 3-pointers.

“As always, I thought they were very machine-like in how they approached the game and took advantage of the mismatches,” K-State coach Deb Patterson said. “They put a lot of pressure on us, and consequently when passes go inside-outside or they get a good ball reversal, it makes that 3 ball look real easy on the outside.”

Brittany Chambers led K-State with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Mariah White added 17 points. Freshman Bri Craig netted six points and grabbed seven rebounds. Haley Texada struggled Saturday, making just 1 of 14 from the field and finishing with four points.

Including Prins, four players reached double figures for the Cyclones Saturday. Poppens scored 14 points and had a game-high 11 rebounds, while Christofferson added 12 and hauled in 10 boards. Blaskowsky scored 11.

The Wildcats return to floor Tuesday when they travel to Morgantown, W.Va., to face the Mountaineers at 6 p.m.

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