Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Shockers stun young Wildcats, 69-46

There are some nights having size and a deep bench just doesn’t matter.

Wednesday was one of them, as Wichita State marched into Bramlage Coliseum and handed the Kansas State women’s basketball team its second straight blowout loss.

The Shockers jumped on the Wildcats early and never let up, cruising a 17-point lead in the first 9 minutes on their way to a 69-46 victory over K-State.

“From our point of view, I think we are just still more tentative, a beat or two behind our opponent, and I think we saw that over the past two games,” K-State head coach Deb Patterson said. “Wichita State was very aggressive off the dribble as we expected. There was a lot of movement in their offense, and we have sort of been in response mode defensively in the last two games. We’re still trying to figure things out offensively…

“For us, the main priority is working to keep getting better.”

There is much work to do for the young Wildcats (2-2), who missed nine of their first 10 shots from the field and turned the ball over seven times in the first 9 minutes.

The slow start was collective, as everyone was missing from inside and out. Katya Leick missed three shots at the rim, Breanna Lewis misfired on two in the paint, Leti Romero missed a jumper and a layup and Haley Texada bounced a layup off the rim. The only bucket K-State could buy was a 3-pointer from Kelly Thomson after the Wildcats were already trailing by 10.

Wichita State (2-2) dominated the Wildcats in nearly every facet of the game — outscoring K-State by 20 in the paint, outrebounding the Wildcats 40-25 and getting 30 points off 18 K-State turnovers.

The Shockers had four players reach double figures, including Michelle Price, who finished with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds. WSU shot 63 percent from the field in first half and finished at nearly 54 percent for the game. K-State, meanwhile, had just one player in double figures — Romero with 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting — and shot 34 percent from the field in the game.

“We played at the tempo that we wanted to tonight and it was nice to see us put together a complete ballgame and to see this club do what they do best,” WSU coach Jody Adams said.

Adams said rebounding was the key to beating a bigger K-State team. The Shockers kept the Wildcats’ bigs off the glass — holding Leick, Lewis and Erica Young to just eight rebounds combined. Lewis, the tallest player on the court Wednesday night, was shut out entirely, finishing with zero points and rebounds. WSU took advantage and scored 15 second-half points on 13 offensive boards.

“Rebounding is just something that we know that we can do well,” Adams said. “We have the athletes and the athleticism. We have very skilled posts and if our tempo is not matched then we just give the extra effort. That’s something that we preach on — hard work and competing.”

K-State, which got just 26 points from its starters, trailed 37-19 at halftime and watched that deficit soar to as many as 27 points before the game was finally over. Three Wildcats did provide a lift off the bench, led by Brianna Craig, who finished with eight points and four rebounds. Chantay Caron and Jessica Sheble contributed six points apiece off the bench.

The Wildcats won’t play again until Nov. 28 when they open the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas against SMU, giving K-State some extra time to get things back on track. The Wildcats breezed through the exhibition slate and then opened the season with a pair of relatively easy wins against Tennessee State and Charlotte. The two-game skid started with an 84-39 rout at UTEP last Saturday afternoon.

Patterson said she has two messages for her young team after back-to-back duds.

“I thought against UTEP, we really didn’t compete, and we didn’t engage the game mentally at all,” she said. “Tonight, I thought we brought the effort. We didn’t necessarily bring the execution that we needed.

“So the message is about continuing to learn. We have to keep working to get better, analyze where we need to grow individually. We just have to get in the gym and work to improve. We’re playing good teams, and we’re lining up in the hopes that every experience is a chance for us to get better, even if we fail.”

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