Sunflower mowdown

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    LAWRENCE — K-State head coach Deb Patterson knew Saturday’s game at Kansas would be a challenge. Despite a 72-39 mauling of the Jayhawks in their previous matchup at Bramlage Coliseum, Patterson had her team prepared for a battle.
    Her prediction was proven correct as the Wildcats found themselves in a tight game at Allen Fieldhouse. However, with the help of senior forward Marlies Gipson, who scored a career -high 23 points, the Wildcats were able to depart Lawrence with a 59-50 victory, and concluded a perfect two-game road trip.
     “I am just extremely proud of our basketball team coming into another road game in the Big 12 [Conference] and getting a road win,” Patterson said. “I don’t care where you go or who you line up against, it’s going to be a tremendous challenge.”
    The Jayhawks proved early in the game that they were a different team than the Wildcats saw in Manhattan. Behind the effort of junior guard Danielle McCray, Kansas compiled an 8-2 run following a lay-up by Gipson for the Wildcats to open game.
    “We came in knowing the talent and ability that Danielle [McCray] brings to the table,” Patterson said. “She stepped up and in the last few games against Nebraska and K-State, and she has asserted herself. I think she is one of the best players in the league without question.”
    McCray, who scored eight points in the first meeting between the Jayhawks and K-State, finished with a game-high 26 points. However, the Big 12 leading Wildcat defense was able to hold the Jayhawks as a team to 37.3 percent shooting from the floor.
    After trailing 8-2 early in the contest, K-State found its offensive flow as the Wildcats went on a 10-2 scoring run. The run included a half-court pass from senior guard Shalee Lehning that caught junior forward Ashley Sweat in stride underneath the basket for an easy lay-up. Gipson and Sweat combined for 18 points in the first half, and the Wildcats led 26-23 going into the halftime break.
    “I think the young ladies here at this table — Sweat, Lehning and Gipson — just continue to play amazing basketball for our program,” Patterson said. “They put us in position to be competitive, they put us in position to compete and win games, and I think we saw that same thing today against a very good Kansas basketball team on the road.”
    The Jayhawks came out of the break and clawed at the Wildcat lead, and with a lay-up by Kelly Kohn, took a 31-30 lead with 16:31 remaining in the half. The Wildcats responded and took back the lead, which they would not surrender.
    Coming up strong in protecting the lead was Gipson as she proved to be a presence on the defensive side of the ball, recording two blocks late in the second half. She would finish the game with four blocks.
    “I just look at those last five minutes and know that it’s Lehning time on offense, and then on defense you just know Marlies is going to dominate,”  Patterson said.
    With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 17-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play. The Wildcats will face Nebraska at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Bramlage.

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