Wildcats start well, fall short in College Station

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K-State was not able to keep the game in its hands after a fast start and fell to the 11th-ranked Aggies 69-63 on Saturday. The win for Texas A&M ends a two-game skid and is its third straight win over the Wildcats.

The team was on a roll early, keeping pace with Texas A&M (17-6, 5-5 Big 12 Conference). K-State (12-12, 4-6) then went on an 18-4 run, which included a four-point play from freshman guard Taelor Karr, and took a 27-20 lead.

The Wildcats took an eight-point lead to halftime 33-25. Texas A&M opened the second half on an 11-0 run over six minutes. The Wildcats did not score in the second half until the 12:42 mark.

K-State regained the lead 41-40 off a three-pointer from senior guard Kari Kincaid. After a jumper from senior forward Ashley Sweat, the Aggies went on a 7-0 run to take the lead 63-52 with 1:30 left. The Wildcats only got within six points the rest of the game.

“Big 12 basketball is tough,” said head coach Deb Patterson. “I thought we put ourselves in position to be real competitive; it’s what you hope to be on the road. We missed some easy opportunities in the second half offensively that you have to convert on.”

Four Wildcat players finished in double figures, led by Karr who had 19 points. Freshman guard Brittany Chambers chipped in 17 while Kincaid had 13, and Sweat finished with 10.

Although Sweat was an uncharacteristic 3-11 from the field, her 10 points put her in fourth place on the school’s career scoring list. Chambers also had a bad day from the floor, going 5-of-20, including 3-of-13 from beyond the arc.

Sophomore guard Sydney Carter penciled in 24 points for the Aggies and was 6-of-12 from the floor. Senior guard Tanisha Smith finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

“Sydney had a great day today and was more or less of a difference-maker,” Patterson said. “I was proud of the intensity we brought against a good Texas A&M team we lined up against today.”

K-State had a second consecutive game of shooting 30 percent or less from the floor, including just 28 percent in the second half. The Aggies shot 46 percent overall. The Wildcats did outrebound the Aggies, 41-36, including a whopping 20 offensive rebounds. On a second note, the team set a Reed Arena record with 11 made 3-point field goals.

“The beginning of the second half ended up being big,” Patterson said. “You can survive a few possessions where you aren’t scoring, but each one ended with an answer from the Aggies.”

Coming into the game with a losing record in conference play, the Texas A&M team knew the importance of winning home games, said Aggie head coach Gary Blair.

“We almost had WNIT written on our chest if we would have lost that ball game,” Blair said. “You can’t afford to lose home ball games, and I’m really proud of how the kids responded at halftime.”

K-State will stay in Texas and face the 14th-ranked Longhorns on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center. Fans can catch the game on the K-State Sports Network.

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