Since Christianna Carr was a little girl, coaches told her to start games with a layup to get into a rhythm.

“To this day, I never really have,” she said.

Then she paused and laughed.

“Coach knows that’s true,” she added as Kansas State head coach Jeff Mittie sat two seats to her left.

On Monday, Carr showed why she can probably jump right into a game and take any shot she wants. She scored in all kinds of ways, dropping 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting — 6-for-12 from 3-point range — with five rebounds to lead the Wildcats to a 65-50 victory over Pittsburg State at Bramlage Coliseum in the final tune-up before the regular season.

It came days after Carr made just 2 of 15 shots for five points against Fort Hays State. In Monday’s performance, Carr displayed the talent that is so coveted within this program as well as with its fans.

This was the five-star recruit so many people have been excited about since tearing it up miles down the road at Manhattan High. She said she’s been adjusting to the faster pace of the college game, but there should be many more of these nights in the future.

True to form, Carr’s first three shots were not layups. Ironically, the first one she made — the fourth shot — was a layup.

Then she got rolling from there. By halftime, Carr (17) had outscored Pittsburg State (16). She had more than half of her team’s points.

The Wildcats trailed 7-0 minutes after the jump. and it appeared they could trudge through another exhibition. But behind Carr, they won the rest of the first half 32-9.

Four of Carr’s six 3-pointers came in the first 20 minutes. One, which she hit at the 5:18 mark in the second quarter, gave K-State a double-digit lead it didn’t relinquish the rest of the way.

“It’s awesome to be able to shoot the ball at a high level tonight,” Carr said. “I hope I continue to do that. Also, I just think my teammates did a good job of finding the hot player. That’s been an emphasis in practice — finding the right plays.”

Carr showcased just about everything on Monday. One time, she made a step-back 3-pointer. She drilled another in an opponent’s face. In the second half, she got to the basket and finished a couple times.

She was the brightest spot in this exhibition, which didn’t feature as much of a scare as the Wildcats’ two-point win over Fort Hays. That said, Mittie still was concerned.

For one, his team had just nine assists on 26 made field goals. He didn’t like that.

One thing that would’ve eased him, he said, is if his group had lived at the free throw line. But it attempted just six freebies.

Mittie said the Wildcats are taking way too many contested and out-of-rhythm shots — both from beyond the arc and in the paint.

“You’ve got to admire their confidence,” he said. “They think every shot is going in. To have that young optimism is a wonderful thing. I’m old enough where I know all of those aren’t going in.”

Now, it’s fair to note that the Wildcats featured a different starting five Monday. Senior point guard Kayla Goth and junior forward Peyton Williams both sat, and Mittie gave freshman Savannah Simmons the start at point guard.

That freed up Carr to play her natural shooting guard position after she played point guard in the first exhibition. Simmons had four assists and no turnovers, a good sign.

Without Williams, transfer forward Jasauen Beard played a lot of power forward, something she hasn’t done much.

While Mittie pointed out that Beard looked a tad confused at times, the junior scored 11 points and added four steals — all of which came in the first quarter.

She scored off two of those steals. She was regularly around the ball, even diving for it when it was loose on the floor.

“My very first shot of the game was not really a good shot, so I felt I had to basically make up for that on the defensive end,” Beard said. “It helped by jumping to the ball and anticipating and getting that momentum to get those breaks.”

The Wildcats held Pittsburg State to 31 percent shooting, but Mittie felt Monday wasn’t as good of a defensive performance as in the first exhibition because his team missed assignments and had a couple players in foul trouble.

It hardly mattered, even without Goth and Williams. Mittie said that adding those two back could settle the younger players.

Goth, who is dealing with an ankle injury, wasn’t wearing the walking boot this time around.

Mittie said he’s “optimistic” Goth will be back for the season opener on Nov. 12 at Bramlage Coliseum against Omaha.

“We don’t want to take steps backward there,” Mittie said. “With the ankle, could she have played tonight? Yeah. Would she have probably taken a step back if she had played significant minutes tonight? Yeah, probably. It probably would’ve swelled up good and we’d probably have been going backward.”

Williams, on the other hand, was scheduled to sit this one out back in June when she and Mittie looked at the schedule. She wasn’t tired after the first exhibition and there were no injury issues, per Mittie.

Mittie said he believes most of K-State’s issues can be fixed with time. The only problem is that the Wildcats only have a few practices before Monday hits, so Mittie said he’ll probably have to take out some shooting from practice to slide in more offensive reps.

On Monday, the Wildcats struggled offensively. They shot just 37 percent and didn’t look like they had much of a rhythm at times.

Except Carr, that is. She lit it up, perhaps giving fans a preview of what’s to come the next four years.

She’s young and inexperienced in the college game, but she’s confident she’ll get there.

“He’s putting me on the court,” she said of Mittie. “He has faith in me to be ready.”

K-STATE 65,

PITTSBURG STATE 50

PITTSBURG STATE (50)

Name Min FG 3FG FT R F P

Lopez 28 2-12 2-8 0-0 2 1 6

Alvarado 24 5-11 0-0 3-4 6 3 13

DaMitz 3-6 1-2 5-5 9 4 12

Tracy 17 0-4 0-1 0-0 3 0 0

Maher 24 1-4 1-3 0-0 2 1 3

McCorry 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Williams 18 3-8 1-2 0-1 3 0 7

Fortney 7 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 4

Gegg 21 2-6 1-4 0-0 2 1 5

Davis 4 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

Brodie 13 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 1 0

Crain 10 0-3 0-2 0-0 3 1 0

Bauza 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 0

Totals 200 18-58 6-23 8-10 39 14 50

KANSAS STATE (65)

Name Min FG 3FG FT R F P

Jones 17 2-4 0-0 0-0 8 3 4

Beard 26 5-11 0-1 1-2 5 1 11

Simmons 31 2-5 0-0 0-0 1 3 4

Ranke 29 4-15 1-7 0-0 4 1 9

Carr 29 10-20 6-12 1-1 5 2 27

Goodrich 28 2-8 0-2 4-4 5 0 8

Wiggins 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Macke 15 0-2 0-0 0-0 5 1 0

Ray 11 0-3 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Lakes 12 1-1 0-0 0-1 5 4 2

Totals 200 26-70 7-22 6-8 45 15 65

Pittsburg State 9 7 15 19 — 50

Kansas State 16 16 14 19 — 65

Turnover — KSU 12 (Two with 3), Pittsburg 16 (DaMitz 4). Assists — KSU 9 (Simmons 4), Pittsburg 11 (DaMitz 5), Blocks — KSU 5 (Jones 3), Pittsburg 1 (Crain 1), Steals — KSU 11 (Beard 4), Pittsburg (Two with 2)

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