Cats pull away from Buffaloes


On Marlies Gipson Day in Bramlage Coliseum, fellow senior Kelsey Nelson stole the show with her first career double-double as No. 16 K-State defeated Colorado 72-60.

Nelson had 14 points and 13 rebounds. She also led the Wildcats with four assists and two steals.

“Kelsey brought great basketball to the floor,” head coach Deb Patterson said. “She really stepped up and answered the call in a big way.”

Once again the Wildcats were without Wooden Award Candidate, Shalee Lehning, due to a mononucleosis infection. Before the game, it was announced that Lehning’s jersey is to be retired on the March 1 game against the Texas A&M Aggies.

Without Lehning on the floor, the Wildcats were unable to take control of the game as both teams traded baskets throughout the first half. The score was tied a total of seven times and the lead changed eight different times.

With 7:42 left in the first half, K-State went on a 8-0 run to take a 30-22 lead. From that point on, the Cyclones would only score five points the rest of the half and trail the Wildcats 35-27 at halftime.

“Today our entire team brought the mentality that we need to bring,” Patterson said. “Our team knew coming into today that they had to blow it out. Nothing else would have been acceptable.”

And K-State did just that in the second half. The Wildcats used a 7-2 run to push their lead to 49-35. Colorado then went on their own 12-2 run, in which sophomore forward Brittany Spears scored 10 of the 12 points, to cut the K-State lead to just four points.

But a pair of free throws by K-State’s junior forward Ashley Sweat started an 8-0 run by the Wildcats. K-State would push their lead to as many as 14 points with 31 seconds left to go in the game.

Sweat led the Wildcats with 22 points and Gipson added 16 points. K-State as a team shot 43.4 percent from the field.

Colorado was led by Spears’ double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds. Kara Richards also added 23 points for the Buffaloes.

Next up for the Wildcats (21-4, 8-4 Big 12 Conference) will be a road game at Nebraska on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.