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Wildcats’ late rally falls short vs. Cowgirls

By The Mercury

STILLWATER, Okla. — Trailing by 13 points at half, the Kansas State women’s basketball team recovered to take a late four-point lead, but the Wildcats could not hang on, losing to No. 15 Oklahoma State, 67-62, at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Leti Romero and Ashlynn Knoll led K-State with 19 points apiece, while Kindred Wesemann added 12 points. Romero reached double figures for the 20th time this season and also had four rebounds, four assists and four steals.

The 19 points for Knoll marked a new career high. The senior has been on fire of late, scoring in double figures the last three games — including 13 last Saturday against West Virginia, 12 points on Wednesday at Kansas and then her near double-double against the Cowgirls after also pulling down eight rebounds.

Wesemann was 4 of 8 from beyond the arc, as she too scored in double figures for the third straight game.

The Wildcats (11-17, 5-12 Big 12) suffered through a sluggish first half, as K-State shot just 32 percent (9 of 28) from the field — including 1 of 10 from long range — to find itself in a 36-23 hole at the break.

Oklahoma State (22-6, 11-6) outrebounded the Wildcats 22-9 in the opening half and shot a sizzling 57 percent (16-of-28) from the field.

Liz Donohoe and Tiffany Bias paced the Cowgirls in the first half by and with nine points each. Bias finished with a team-high 17 points and Donohoe with 12, as four Cowgirls reached double figures on the day.

K-State used a trio of 3-pointers to cut into Oklahoma State’s halftime lead. Wesemann connected on her second trey of the game in front of K-State’s bench, which was followed by back-to-back 3s from Romero to get K-State within seven at 39-32 with 15:13 to play.

Romero wasn’t finished, though, as she connected on a runner in the lane to get K-State to within six again at 41-35 with 13:09 to go.

Bias and Donohoe then pushed the Cowgirls’ lead back to 11 at 46-35 with a layup and 3-pointer, respectively, with 11:22 remaining.

The Wildcats bounced back with a 9-2 run to narrow the game to 48-44 with 8:45 remaining.

Ashia Woods and Romero each converted wide-open layups, while Knoll scored on a layup and a 3 on consecutive possessions.

A pair of free throws from Knoll gave K-State its first lead of the afternoon with 3:44 remaining in the game.

After forcing a missed shot from the Cowgirls, Knoll answered with a fadeaway bank shot to give the Wildcats a 57-53 lead with 2:59 to go.

But Oklahoma State answered with an 8-0 run to go back ahead at 61-57 with less than a minute to play.

Following a pair of Bias free throws, K-State turned the ball over to Oklahoma State during the Cowgirls full-court press, resulting in a quick layup.

Another K-State turnover resulted in a two free throws for OSU, followed by a layup by Brittany Atkins.

Free throws from Bias sealed the victory for the Cowgirls.

K-State finished the game 39 percent from the field, including 45 percent in the second half.

The Wildcats will conclude their regular season Monday night, as K-State hosts TCU at 7. Prior to the game, K-State will honor its three seniors — Knoll, Chantay Caron and Katya Leick.

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