It looked early on as if the No. 14 K-State Wildcats would cruise to their second consecutive “Pink Zone” victory Wednesday as Missouri presented its breast cancer awareness game for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in Columbia, Mo.
The Cats (20-4, 7-4 Big 12 Conference) were looking to sweep the season series against the Tigers, and after jumping out to a quick 8-0 lead, it looked as if K-State would easily do so.
However, after losing that lead and struggling offensively, K-State dropped its third consecutive Big 12 road game, 52-43.
Senior point guard Shalee Lehning missed her second consecutive game due to a mononucleosis infection and is still listed as day to day.
Junior forward Ashley Sweat led the Wildcats in scoring with 17 points. However, the Wildcat offense struggled from the field throughout the second half, shooting a mere 30 percent on 52 shot attempts, and going 1-18 from behind the 3-point line.
In their previous meeting with the Tigers, the Wildcats won a close contest 58-54, thanks to a strong shooting performance and productive bench performances.
Following the 8-0 run to start the game, the Tigers were forced to take a timeout with 17:21 remaining in the half. However, after the timeout Missouri slowly chipped away at K-State’s lead and momentum.
Following the timeout, Alyssa Hollins and Shakara Jones took control of the Tiger attack. They combined for 15 points in the remainder of the half, silencing the early Wildcat push. Hollins finished the game with 13 points, while Jones had 12.
A foul by K-State guard Kelsey Nelson with 5:19 remaining in the first half of play pushed the Tigers ahead of the Wildcats with a 17-16 lead as Jones made both free throws.
With the lead the Tigers continued to gain momentum and took a 26-20 lead heading to the halftime break.
This momentum carried into the second half as Jessera Johnson pounced on the Wildcats and scored nine points to give the Tigers a comfortable lead.
With the loss, K-State continues to struggle on the road, while the Tigers (12-12, 3-8 Big 12) prevented the Wildcats from sweeping the season series.
K-State will return to action this weekend, as they play Colorado for the first time this season. The Wildcats will look to stay perfect at home this season as they have won all 11 games within the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum.
Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.