Shalee Lehning hit a 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining to put the Wildcats up by seven points and seal their 59-52 victory over Iowa State Saturday afternoon at Bramlage Coliseum.
The victory comes after the Wildcats were handed their first loss of the season at the hands of the No. 3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, Okla. However, the loss did not concern head coach Deb Patterson and her team.
“The reality is everybody you line up against has the potential to beat you.” Patterson said. “We understand that there are things we didn’t do well and there are going to be things all season long that we have to do better to find a way to win games. That is why we play the game.”
K-State (15-1, 2-1) began the game quickly with a 6-0 run, however the Cyclones battled back led by guard Kelsey Bolte, who had a team high of 18 points.
“They are very physical and tonight was no exception,” senior forward Marlies Gipson said. “They are not as big as [Courtney] Paris from Oklahoma so using our quickness was important and working the high/low post. I think me and Ashley [Sweat] connected well on that tonight.”
With the physicality the Cyclones presented, the Wildcats attempted 27 free throws in the contest. However, they only managed to hit 17.
“We weren’t necessarily finishing at the foul line at the level I think we are capable of, but we got there and that is the first step.” Patterson said.
The Cyclones (13-4, 1-2) tied the game with 5:18 remaining in the first half with a jump shot in the paint by junior guard Lacey Alison. Alison was fouled on the shot. However, she could not convert on the free throw attempt that would have given the Cyclones their first lead of the game.
The Wildcats led the contest 23-19 at halftime and were anchored by Lehning offensively coming out of the break. Lehning went on a tear, scoring 13 consecutive points during the first six minutes of the second half.
“I just went for what the defense was giving me,” Lehning said. “At half time we did talk about getting more aggressive and having more of a flow on the offensive end. I think in the first half we were kind of disoriented on offense, but in the second half we kind of got things together.”
Lehning finished with a game-high 22 points and registered seven rebounds while handing out three assists.
The Wildcats hit the road for their next contest at 7 p.m. on Jan. 21 when they take on the Red Raiders of Texas Tech.