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Leick’s big game powers Cats to win

By The Mercury

VICENZA, Italy — With another strong second-half defensive effort and interior domination by Katya Leick, the Kansas State women’s basketball team registered its second win on the team’s three-game trip through Italy with an 80-32 victory over the Vicenza All-Stars on Monday night.

Leick, playing in just her second game in a Wildcat uniform and her second in almost three years, led a strong K-State effort on the boards, earning the game’s Most Valuable Player honors with 27 points and 24 rebounds — including 15 on the defensive end.

For the game, the Wildcats hauled in 72 rebounds including 42 defensive boards to control the interior. Freshman Breanna Lewis added 10 rebounds to go with four points. Another freshman forward, Jessica Sheble, grabbed eight rebounds and scored five points.

If Leick’s performance had occurred in the regular season, it would have set the school record for rebounds in a single game, surpassing the record of 20 held by three players and last achieved by current K-State assistant coach Shalee Lehning against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 6, 2005. The effort would have also set new career-highs for Leick, as she owns highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds from her time at Nebraska.

Leick came to K-State after playing in 40 games with the Cornhuskers from 2009-11. Leick, who is from Grey Cloud, Minn., had to sit out the 2011-12 season due transfer rules. Then last fall the 6-foot-1 senior forward tore an left ACL during practice, causing Leick to spend another season on the bench.

Joining Leick in double figure scoring were junior point guard Haley Texada and sophomore guard Bri Craig. Texada turned a balanced performance of 15 points, six rebounds and a game-high eight assists. Craig added 13 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, three rebounds and four assists.

K-State raced out to a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, as Leick scored nine points and Craig added six. Both teams went cold in the second quarter, but the Wildcats turned up the defensive intensity to hold a 33-20 lead at the half. Leick had already secured a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the opening half.

In the third quarter, the Wildcats allowed just one field goal by the Vicenza All-Stars in the 10-minute period to outscore the overmatched hosts 27-3 in the frame. Leick led the surge for the Wildcats with seven points. Texada scored five points and freshman Erica Young chipped in with four. Six Wildcats scored in the period.

The Wildcats closed out the game with a 20-9 run in the final quarter. Leick again led K-State with seven points, while Craig turned in five.

K-State will conclude its three-game tour through Italy on Saturday night, as the Wildcats will face ASD Bull Basket in Rome.

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