In a show of pure domination and will, Kansas State junior center Ayoka Lee broke the single-game school record for scoring, putting up 43 points in the Wildcats’ season-opening 103-40 win over Central Arkansas on Tuesday.

Entering the fourth quarter, Lee had 33 points, only four shy of tying her single-game personal record (37) set last season versus Oklahoma. By the end of the quarter, the junior added her name to another K-State record.

“You don’t ever go in saying, ‘We’re going to get somebody a record,’” K-State head coach Jeff Mittie said. “I didn’t know what the record was, quite honestly, until we got deeper into the game. I knew that Taylor (Lauterbach) wasn’t going to play all 10 minutes of the fourth. So, I knew there was going to be about a three-minute window that (Ayoka) was going to have an opportunity, but it got towards the end of that window and I told (freshman point guard Serena Sundell), ‘Get the ball to (Ayoka) this trip down.’ So she did and she got the three-point play.”

That three-point play pushed the junior’s point total to 38, which meant the school record of 42 points — set by Brittany Chambers versus Texas Southern in 2013 — was within reach.

Two minutes later, Lee was back at the free throw line to capitalize on another three-point play — and to draw within a point of the school record — when Mittie flagged down Sundell and told her Lee would have one chance to break the record before he put Lauterbach back in.

Sundell grabbed the defensive rebound and got the ball into Lee, who banked a shot in despite another Central Arkansas foul, putting her name at the top of the record book.

“(She did it) in only 23 minutes and 39 seconds tonight,” Mittie said. “That’s a crazy efficient number. But her teammates did an unbelievable job of finding her in deep places and finding her with great timing. So I give a lot of credit to her teammates and I give a lot of credit to Yokie for just playing the game the right way.”

Lee’s point total also ranks 11th in Big 12 history.

“I think it’s an honor,” Lee said. “ I think it just goes to show the program and our commitment to it, playing basketball together and sticking to the game plan and I’ll just say it’s an honor to be with all my teammates.”

Lee ended the night 17-for-25 from the field and 9 of 12 from the free throw line while adding nine rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals to her already busy night.

The junior wasn’t the only record breaker in the lopsided victory, though. Sundell ended the game with nine assists, the most ever recorded by a Wildcat in their debut.

“(Sundell) just continues to get better, and where I think she’s made the most progress is in knowing what we need to execute and what we need to be at offensively,” Mittie said. “I’ve seen tremendous growth in the last couple of weeks. We’ve known since summer that she was talented. We’ve known since summer that she loved to play. But I’ve been impressed that she’s been able to get our team into winning plays this early in her career.”

Junior Emilee Ebert had 16 points off the bench for the Wildcats, including perfect marks from behind the arc and the free throw line and sophomore guard Rebekah Dallinger had 11 including three 3s.

K-State flexed its defensive prowess early, holding Central Arkansas to just three points through the first quarter and midway through the second.

With 6:30 to play, the Sugar Bears only hit 5.6% of their shots from the field.

The three-point quarter was the lowest point total by an opponent in the opening period since K-State held Oklahoma State to three in a 59-48 home victory in January 2019.

The Wildcats also forced 12 turnovers in the first half and 24 total while only committing six themselves.

“I’m pleased with the fact that I think we’re making quicker reads to each other, so the game has been played fairly clean,” Mittie said. “The six turnovers, I mean, we’ve had that in five-man weave in the first 10 minutes of practice three weeks ago. I just think we’re playing with a good level of confidence and a good pace right now.”

The Wildcats led 39-13 at half, thanks in part to a 14-0 run midway through the second quarter. The 13 first-half points were the least that K-State has allowed since the Wildcats held the same Central Arkansas team to 12 points last season.

K-State further extended that lead after halftime, riding a 14-2 run to a 39-point advantage.

By the end of the quarter, the lead had grown to 45. Before the game was over, K-State led by as many as 65 points.

K-State’s 103 points were the most since Nov. 23, 1990, when the Wildcats beat Alabama State 103-57.

The Wildcats scored 64 points in the second half which was a point shy of the school record of 65, set versus Missuori on March 3, 1984.

The Wildcats now head into a slate of home Preseason WNIT games, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday with UT-Martin.

The Wildcats also will play Western Kentucky at 1 p.m. Sunday and North Carolina A&T at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

They’ll wrap up the tournament Nov. 19 at No. 5 North Carolina State.

Lee named to 2022 Wooden Award Watch List

On Tuesday, Lee was selected as a member of the Women’s Preseason Top 50 Watch List for the 2022 John R. Wooden Award for the second straight season.

Lee was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team and was named to the 2022 Lisa Leslie Award watch list.

Recommended for you