Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wildcats’ rally falls short in 74-68 loss

If effort alone could win games, the Kansas State women might have been in luck Wednesday night.

Losers of two straight entering the game against No. 23 Oklahoma, the Wildcats did their best to erase a 10-point halftime deficit, but just couldn’t get over the hump in the end.

K-State pulled within two points midway through the second half on a 3-pointer from Brittany Chambers, but never got closer, losing 74-68 at Bramlage Coliseum.

“I’m proud of our girls,” K-State coach Deb Patterson said. “They competed. I thought they managed the basketball game and kept it close and competitive. They put themselves in the position to compete in the final minutes for a win.”

The Wildcats (12-10, 3-7 Big 12) scored the first five points of the second half to trip the deficit to five, but OU (17-5, 7-3) answered and pushed its lead back out to nine on consecutive baskets.

Then Haley Texada went to work, outscoring the Sooners 9-3 during the next two minutes on her own before Chambers capped the Wildcats’ surge with a trey to make it 44-42 with 10:50 remaining. Both teams traded baskets as K-State remained within striking distance, trailing by no more than six and never getting closer than two points the rest of the way.

“Kansas State never stops,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “They’re going to fight you until the bitter end. We told our kids that coming in. We thought that they were the scrappiest team we’ve seen on our schedule yet. We knew they weren’t going to go away at halftime. They didn’t and they gave us all that we wanted and a little bit more.”

Texada, who finished with a game-high 25 points, carried the Wildcats on her back for much of the second half. The sophomore was 8 of 12 from the field for 20 points in the final 20 minutes alone.

“I thought she was obviously a great offensive threat at the rim today,” Patterson said. “She was still aggressive on the perimeter as well. She was very critical in us making that run in the second half and was extremely competitive and didn’t give up plays on the offensive end.

“Again, she is young, and there are always little things here and there that you can do better, but she competed really hard. She showed her athleticism, quickness and speed today getting to the rim. It was a big factor in us putting pressure on Oklahoma.”

Mariah White turned in another strong game for the Wildcats, finishing with 15 points and six assists. Chambers recorded her second straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, making 4 of 8 behind the arc. Bri Craig, who was 1 for 10 on 3-pointers, scored nine points and hauled in six boards.

The Sooners, who won their 11th straight over the Wildcats, made 9 of 10 from the free throw line to seal the victory and hand K-State its third straight loss with a tough game at Iowa State looming this weekend in Ames.

Oklahoma also did damage from behind the arc, making 10 of 20 from long range, including a stretch of four straight in the first half to power a 21-5 run that covered eight minutes.

“What really was the difference in this game, from my perspective, was the individual 3-point shots that we gave up,” Patterson said. “That really is what, in my mind, was the difference.

“I felt we defended their half-court offense very well, but we when we didn’t bring individual discipline to an assignment, they had a hot hand in every one of those scenarios.”

Five players scored in double figures for the Sooners. Aaryn Ellenberg, led the way with 18 points and was 4 for 7 on 3-pointers. Joanna McFarland scored 10 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for a double-double. Sharane Campbell scored 14 points, including two 3s. Morgan Hook had 11 points.

Chambers finalist for Senior CLASS Award

Chambers was named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award in an announcement by Premier Sports Management on Wednesday.

Chambers is now one of 10 national finalists for the honor, which marks the first time since the 2010 season K-State has had a finalist for the honor.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 men’s candidates and 30 women’s candidates announced in October. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website (http://www.seniorclassaward.com) or on the Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through March 25.

Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner.

The women’s winner will be announced during the NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans April 7 and 9.

Chambers is the fifth finalist for this honor in school history, joining Nicole Ohlde (2004), Kendra Wecker (2005), Shalee Lehning (2009) and Ashley Sweat (2010). Wecker won the award in her season of eligibility.

The 5-8 guard from Jordan, Minn., leads the Wildcats in scoring (19 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg), assists (63) and 3-pointers (61). She leads the Big 12 in minutes played (35.7) and ranks second in the league in scoring.


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