When Kansas State guard Chrissy Carr knocked down the second triple she tried during her team’s home matchup with Oral Roberts Monday night, nothing seemed awry. She’s one of the club’s best shooters, after all.
When she hit another a minute later, the Wildcats took a 23-8 lead in the first frame. She was heating up.
In the second quarter, when Carr nailed a pull-up 3-pointer from the top of the key, it was obvious: Carr was on fire. The Wildcats were, too. They were having fun.
“I wasn’t expecting it to go in,” Carr said with a laugh.
With help from Carr, K-State shot 55% from the field and never really cooled off in a 109-69 blowout win over Oral Roberts at Bramlage Coliseum.
It’s the Wildcats’ first time hitting the century mark since December 2015.
“Probably as good a start as we could have imagined,” K-State coach Jeff Mittie said. “I think our defensive pressure was really good early. First quarter, throwing up 33 and following it up in the second quarter with 30 — we just were in a really good rhythm.”
Carr finished with a career-best 24 points, including a 5-for-7 mark from beyond the arc. She was nearly unconscious, especially early on, when she totaled 20 points in the first half alone. In fact, she connected on 5 of 6 triples in the first two quarters.
This is turning into a trend for Carr, who has led her team in scoring in each of its three games this year. In chronological order: She scored 15 against Omaha and 20 against UIC.
It’s the best kind of pattern for the Wildcats, who shot a blistering 68% in the first half, good for a 63-32 lead at the intermission.
From there, K-State (3-0) turned on cruise control and ran away with its third straight win to kick off the new season.
“Being able to take and make open shots — that’s a part of just doing your job,” Carr said. “If you’re not doing that, if your teammates are finding you, and if you’re unable to take and make those open shots, then I would expect somebody to tell me to stop shooting, and just be like, ‘Chrissy, move the ball. Find someone else.’
“So yeah. I would say my teammates did a great job of finding me.”
Carr was the main act, but several other Wildcats played supporting roles. Redshirt freshman Ayoka Lee totaled 20 points and 11 rebounds. Rachel Ranke supplied 16 points, and Peyton Williams battled early foul trouble to provide 11 points and 13 rebounds.
All told, seven Wildcats scored in double figures, and three had career-highs: Carr, Lee and backup point guard Savannah Simmons (10). That transfer point guard Angela Harris engineered much of her team’s offense, finishing with two points and nine assists, made things even sweeter for a relatively young K-State squad.
K-State produced a scintillating 10-for-21 display from distance.
On that note, part of the reason the Wildcats looked so good on offense was because they shared the ball. They registered 27 assists on 38 made shots.
Those assists came from a variety of different Wildcats. Simmons logged four, while Ranke and Williams posted three.
“The ball,” Mittie said, “moved as well as (it has) all year.”
For K-State, the other encouraging part of this win came on defense.
Outside of allowing just 69 points, the Wildcats limited the Golden Eagles to a 30% shooting mark.
If not for the early foul trouble K-State got into — the Golden Eagles made 22 of 31 free throws, 12 coming in the first half — Oral Roberts’ final points tally could have been even less.
The Wildcats also forced the Golden Eagles into 20 turnovers, and Mittie said his team forced most of them. K-State turned those into 35 fast-break points.
Harris was also involved here. The senior transfer from Houston plays with a motto of sorts: If she doesn’t make two steals, it wasn’t a good game for her.
Check. She snared two Monday night, including one that led to a breakaway layup at the other end.
“I thought we were really up into them,” Mittie said. “We had a lot of live turnovers out there. We had a lot of opportunities to get layups at the other end. I thought we really did a good job of forcing (the turnovers).”
K-State will return to action Sunday afternoon to host UT Arlington.
The Wildcats sure wouldn’t mind another career outing from Carr in that one.
“Our next focus is, at halftime, focusing on the defensive end,” Carr said, “and coming out with not just the offensive mindset but the defensive mindset, too, and start taking things personal.”