Cats beat Colorado in first round of Big 12 Tournament


OKLAHOMA CITY — The saying that good things always come in threes held true for the K-State women’s basketball team as they defeated the Colorado Buffaloes 68-51.

“For an opening round, Big 12 tournament game, we’re extremely proud of this victory – playing a team a third time,” head coach Deb Patterson said. “I thought our players were emotionally mature and their effort was strong today.”

Thursday’s win was the third victory for K-State against the Buffaloes this season, all of which came by double-digit scoring margins.

Colorado (11-18, 3-14 Big 12 Conference) started the game with a quick basket by senior center Kara Richards, but K-State answered by scoring eight consecutive points. From then on, the Wildcats never look back.

K-State (24-6, 10-6 Big 12) used defensive pressure to force the Buffaloes into 11 first-half turnovers, which the Wildcats converted into 10 points. K-State also dominated the glass in the first half outrebounding Colorado 17-8.

“We pride ourselves on staying fundamental and executing and working on the small things,” junior forward Ashley Sweat said. “And I think that’s what has won us games this year and hopefully will win us more.”

The team’s fundamentals allowed the Wildcats to take a 36-17 lead at halftime.

After halftime, the Wildcats continued to pressure the Buffaloes and eventually pushed their lead to 22 points with 9:50 left in the game.

Colorado made a run, but never came within 15 points of K-State.

Brittany Spears, who had 23 points — but only had 4 in the first half – led the Buffaloes.

“She is great inside and out,” junior guard Kari Kincaid said. “She is an All-Big 12 player and she showed it in the second half.”

Kara Richards also added 22 points for Colorado.

The Wildcats were led by Sweat with 19 points. Kincaid and Marlies Gipson each scored 14 points and Shalee Lehning had 12 points.

K-State advances to the quarterfinals to play No. 10 Texas A&M Aggies.

“The first time around they definitely put a hurt on us,” Patterson said. “They are playing as well as anyone in the league right now, and we’ll have to play significantly different and better than we did the first time to give it a good shot.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.