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Longhorns stun Wildcats in second half

By The Mercury

AUSTIN, Texas — The Kansas State women’s basketball team was dominated on the boards, shot just 24 percent from the field and watched a slim halftime lead slip away, as the Texas Longhorns cruised to an easy 59-40 win on Saturday afternoon at the Erwin Center.

The 40 points are a season low for the Wildcats, who had their two-game winning streak snapped, putting a sour cap to a week that started with K-State upsetting No. 12 Oklahoma State on Wednesday at home.

K-State dropped to 12-8 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12, while the Longhorns improved to 8-11 and won their first league game of the season to move to 1-7.

Two Wildcats scored in double figures, led by Brittany Chambers’ 15 points. Freshman Bri Craig scored 10 points, and Haley Texada added nine.

“I think that we are a group of a lot of young individuals, and sometimes, unfortunately, when you have such a high as we did the game before, you can come into a game like today and not realize how much it took to have a win like we did against Oklahoma state,” said Chambers, who was 5 of 17 from the field. “I think the first half we did some things well. We took the second half with a soft mentality and against any Big 12 team, you will lose playing like that.”

Texas, which outrebounded K-State 47-26, rallied from a 26-24 halftime deficit and outscored the Wildcats 35-14 in the second half. The Wildcats shot 32 percent from the field in the first half, but made just 4 of 27 from the field in the second. K-State was 3 for 16 from behind the arc in the second half alone. Both are season lows.

K-State had led by nine points midway through the first half at 22-13 after a pair of 3-pointers from Chambers with 7:56 to play. That lead didn’t last though, as the Cats labored through a 0 for 13 cold spell that carried into the second half.

The Longhorns used an 11-4 run to close out the first half, highlighted six points from Nneka Enemkpali, who finished with a game-high 20 points and 16 rebounds. Imani McGee-Stafford added 18 points.

Texas then used an 18-3 run to open the second half and take a 42-29 lead with 11 minutes to play. The Wildcats were held without a made field goal for more than 10 minutes during the Texas run. The Longhorns built their lead to as many as 15 points twice in the second half. Once K-State narrowed the deficit to 11 after 3-pointers from Texada and Chambers.

“I think we stood around a lot and gave up on offense and gave up on one another in possessions offensively,” K-State coach Deb Patterson said. “I don’t think mentally the style that we look to play on the offensive end requires a great deal of cutting movement. We got really ball-dominant and really one-eye dominant. We’ve proven that we have the ability to run.

“I didn’t see anything particularly different defensively from Texas from the first to second half. I think they played hard the entire game and they were accountable defensively. But I think we made the game easier for them in the second half than we did the first.”

Chambers reached double figures for the 19th time this season and with her three assists, three rebounds and three steals, the senior became the sixth player in Big 12 history and third in school history to reach 1,700 career points, 700 career rebounds and 300 assists.

K-State will have a week off and will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 2, Wildcats host Kansas at 2 p.m.

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