K-State Wildcats vs. WSU Cougars: NCAA Tournament game recap


Kansas State’s Serena Sundell, right, handles the ball as Washington State’s Krystal Leger- Walker, left, defends during the first half of a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, March 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)


A once promising season came was in jeopardy of coming to an abrupt and disappointing end for the Kansas State women’s basketball team until the Wildcats pulled off an impressive 50-40 comeback victory against Washington State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina.

K-State only scored five points in the first quarter and trailed by as many as nine as Washington State methodically marched to a 24-17 halftime lead.

Jeff Mittie’s team was shooting 21% of the field and 10% from three-point range. The No. 9 seed Wildcats looked overmatched against the No. 8 seed Cougars.

But then they made some halftime adjustments. The game began to turn their way. Washington State had no answer.

The Wildcats began to gain momentum when freshman guard Serena Sundell drained a three-point early in the third quarter. Up until then, it seemed like there was a lid on the basket preventing any outside shot by K-State from going in. But seeing her shot go through the net gave the entire team confidence.

Brylee Glenn hit a three-pointer on K-State’s next possession and the Wildcats surged to a 35-33 lead by the end of the third quarter.

Those shots forced Washington State to spread out on defense, allowing K-State star center Ayoka Lee to get free for a game-high 20 points and 15 rebounds.

Glenn gave her a lot of help by scoring 14 points.

The Wildcats will likely face an even more difficult challenge in the next round. Assuming No. 1 seed North Carolina State wins its opening round game against No. 16 seed Longwood it will host K-State in a true home game on Monday.

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Kellis Robinett covers Kansas State athletics for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. A winner of more than a dozen national writing awards, he lives in Manhattan with his wife and four children.

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