Wildcats overcome slow start, rout Gorillas


Playing their final exhibition game in preparation for the Nov. 14 season opener against Indiana State, the Wildcats struggled early against the Pittsburg State Gorillas en route to an 89-61 win.

Overcoming a slow start, K-State leaned on its two seniors when it counted most, with Ashley Sweat and Kari Kincaid each scoring 20 points. Sophomore Jalana Childs added a double-double, scoring 12 points and hauling in 11 rebounds. Childs attributed the success of the team in the second half to a defensive adjustment.

“At the beginning of the game, we had a slow start,” Childs said. “As soon as we got back defensively, then everything went our way.”

The Wildcats blew open the game with a 17-2 run to close the first half. However, the two teams went basket to basket during the first 10 minutes. The Gorillas started the game on a 7-0 run before K-State started to find a rhythm. It was at the 11:01 mark of the first half that the Wildcats took their first lead of the game, going up 16-15 on a basket by freshman guard Brittany Chambers.

“I think we’re the kind of team that is going to have to feel the game a little bit, feel out our opponent,” said head coach Deb Patterson. “I feel like we got better in some aspects of the game tonight relative to what we brought to the floor against Fort Hays State. For a young team, it’s very important that we continue stressing individual growth and improvement.”

The Gorillas continued to hang in and make tough shots until the midway point of the first half. The Gorillas last lead came at the five-minute mark, with a 28-26 edge. After this, the Wildcats broke the game open to take a 13-point halftime lead, 43-30.

The second half started the same way the first half ended, with the Wildcats going on a 7-2 run to add to their lead. After Pittsburg State cut into the Wildcats lead, K-State put the game out of reach, going on a 14-0 run to lead 68-41 midway through the second half behind the play of its seniors.

“I definitely feel responsible that if I have open shots, I need to knock a good percentage of them down,” said senior guard Kari Kincaid. “That’s what I – luckily – did tonight. I think a couple of those were from offensive rebounds. That’s a tribute to my teammates who have worked hard and made the plays to pick up the trash off the boards.”

The Wildcats freshmen also contributed to the win, with guards Brittany Chambers and Taelor Karr scoring 13 and eight points, respectively. After the game, Patterson said she was pleased with the progress of her freshman.

“I think they’re playing fairly well for their first opportunities on the floor,” Patterson said. “The thing that I appreciate the most about them right now is they appear to be working each day to get better and change things that need to get changed.”

The Wildcats play their season opener against Indiana State at noon, Saturday Nov. 14.