After a landmark win over No. 10 Baylor just a few days earlier, the Kansas State women continued their early season success with a double-digit road victory over Oklahoma State Wednesday evening.
The Wildcats (12-2, 2-0 Big 12) walked away with a 60-49 victory, their fifth-straight. With the win, K-State is off to its best start since the 2008-09 season.
“I think these road wins are good,” K-State head coach Jeff Mittie said. “They’re obviously good. They’re tough to get, but just the fact that we had to gut it out (means) it’ll be a good bus ride back tonight. It’ll be a late night, but those are special for teams to do that. And it should grow our confidence, because we did have to handle a night where we didn’t play as sharp and as well as we wanted to, but we just kind of found a way to win.”
Freshman guard Brylee Glenn had a career night, scoring a game-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Seven of the 19 came down the stretch in the fourth quarter as K-State managed to pull away from Oklahoma State after fending off multiple ties in the third quarter.
“I just loved her fearlessness,” said Mittie, referring to Glenn. “She started off the game great. And then when we needed her in the fourth, she was fantastic and really made some huge plays. She got the jumper to go on the out of bounds play or the side out of bounds play. Then she got a couple drives that were critical, but her fearlessness continues to be a much-needed trait for our basketball team.”
The Wildcats led by seven heading into the fourth quarter but the Cowgirls whittled it down to four with 7:18. Glenn outscored Oklahoma State 7-4 over the next several possessions to boost K-State’s lead back to seven, and from there, the Wildcats never looked back.
After another quiet first half, junior center Ayoka Lee scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half.
Sophomore guard Rebekah Dallinger turned in eight points off the bench, including a pair of 3s.
For the second straight game, the Wildcats struggled with turnovers. K-State gave away the ball 20 times, 14 of which came off of Oklahoma State steals.
“Well, I think Oklahoma State’s one of the better defensive teams in the league,” Mittie said. “They’re going to guard you one on one as good as anybody in the league. They’re physical. They get after you, and I think that physicality bothered us in stretches of this game.”
The Cowgirls (5-5, 0-2) scored 17 points, slightly more than a third of their point total, off turnovers.
Take the miscues away, and the Wildcats had solid efforts on both offense and defense Wednesday. They shot 51.1% from the field while holding Oklahoma State to 31% shooting, including 14.3% from 3.
K-State got off to a strong start in a defensive-oriented first half and led 12-5 after the first quarter. It marked the seventh time this season the Wildcat defense held an opponent to single-digits in the first quarter.
The lead grew to 12 early in the second quarter, but six Cowgirl steals helped Oklahoma State whittle the lead down to five, 24-19, at the half.
The Wildcats will stay on the road and travel to West Virginia (7-4, 0-1) on Saturday.
Ayoka Lee named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25
The Los Angeles Athletic Club announced the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List on Wednesday and after numerous dominant performances over first part of the season, Lee’s name, not surprisingly, was part of it.
The list is chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts. The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the award.
Lee leads the nation in total points scored, field goal percentage, 30-point games, blocks and blocks per game (3.9).
She is one of three Big 12 players to make the list along with Iowa State’s Ashley Jones and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith.