There wasn’t some rousing speech or grand halftime gesture Saturday afternoon from Kansas State women’s basketball head coach Jeff Mittie.

After a rough start, the Wildcats led Northwestern State by double-digits at the break thanks to an 11-0 run to close out the half. Once the team got back to the locker room, Mittie talked for two minutes and then turned it over to his players.

Whatever players said did the trick, as the Wildcats grew their lead to as many as 35 points on the way to a 70-36 win over the Lady Demons at Bramlage Coliseum.

“I think the run helped, but we did talk at halftime, just about how we have what we are looking for and (how we needed to capitalize) on it,” junior guard Emilee Ebert said. “Nothing rushed and just staying composed and doing what we have to.”

Ebert, who had a career-best rebounding day, was one of the main sparks for a Wildcat offense that struggled to get started Saturday morning in a game that tipped off at 11 a.m.

A junior guard who was a multi-sport star at nearby Frankfort High, Ebert had 12 points (her second-best output of the season so far) to go along with 14 rebounds, seven more than her previous career high. Saturday was the first double-double of Ebert’s career.

“I just felt comfortable, but we talked a lot about just doing our job today,” Ebert said. “So I was just focused on that, and it was my job rebounding. I was trying to find the ball wherever it was.”

Junior center Ayoka Lee led all scorers with 14 points to go along with 11 rebounds for her fifth straight double-double, while sophomore guard Jada Moore turned in a career-best 13 points, the first double-figure outing of her career.

Moore also had four steals, another personal best.

“I just felt like I came out ready and prepared,” Moore said. “I knew this game Coach Mittie talked a lot about getting steals and taking risks, and that was my main focus. Just being ready to shoot and do whatever I needed to do. So being able to score off steals was very helpful in that area as well.”

K-State (6-1) survived a dismal first half offensively, which included trailing by four at the 9:40 mark of the second quarter. But a strong 11-0 run in the final five minutes of the half pushed the Wildcat lead to 29-18 after four lead changes and four ties in the first quarter and a half.

The Wildcats were 21.7% from the field — including 1-for-10 on 3s — in the first quarter. K-State did not go to the free throw line a single time in the opening period.

“Obviously, we didn’t make a lot of shots today, but I think that we weren’t really playing, and what I mean by that is we kind of just went in this lull of, ‘OK, let’s go up and run zone offense,’” Mittie said. “What I want out of us is I want us to attack and flow into zone offense when a team plays us like that. We didn’t have much flow. We didn’t have much attack. ... I have no arguments with the shots or open 3s. They’re pretty good looks. I (would) just like to see us flow into that better.”

The Wildcats clamped down defensively in the second and third quarters, holding the Lady Demons to 12 combined points, after the visitors had scored 13 in the first quarter. Mittie said he was pleased, but not thrilled, with the effort.

“I think our defense was just OK,” Mittie said. “The numbers say great, but I’m not ready to go there. We had some advantages. Second half I liked that we got some energy from the press. I thought the zone was a little bit better. We wanted to work on some things — and we can work on it in practice, but we need to have teams do different things to us in those defenses so we’re able to work on that.”

Northwestern State (3-2), a small school located in Natchitoches, La., entered Saturday averaging nearly six 3s a game, but did not net one, ending 0-for-12 beyond the arc.

K-State came out of halftime fairly hot offensively — especially compared to earlier in the game — and ended the third quarter shooting 55%, as Lee, Ebert, Moore and freshman guard Brylee Glenn started to take control.

Glenn was the fourth Wildcat to reach double-figures, scoring 10 points and grabbing eight boards.

K-State will wrap up its three-game homestand at 6 p.m. Monday, when it hosts North Dakota State (2-3).

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