Lady ‘Cats cruise past Washburn in second half

Junior forward Breanna Lewis puts up the ball in the game against Washburn on Nov. 2, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum Lewis led the team with 22 points. (Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

The K-State women’s basketball team got their first chance at some different competition on Monday night. The Wildcats welcomed the Ichabods of Washburn University to Bramlage Coliseum for the first of their two exhibition matches this season.

Although this doesn’t go down on the official record for the Wildcats, K-State took the game 75-48.

“I thought it was alright,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “I was disappointed in the second quarter. I thought we could have competed harder in that quarter. I thought we gave them some easy looks at times in that stretch, and then on the glass we’ve got to compete better. But I was pleased with the second half. I thought we did some better things … All in all, not too bad of a start for us.”

The game was the first time that K-State had a chance to play against competition other than what they see on a day-to-day basis in practices. Junior forward Breanna Lewis said she enjoyed the opportunity.

“It’s nice to see someone else,” Lewis said. “You get a chance to see how your hard work has paid off.”

Lewis got the game rolling just 15 seconds into the first quarter when she made her first shot, giving the Wildcats the early lead. She finished the game with 22 points, just six shy of her career high of 28.

The game was an improvement from last year for Lewis, who struggled to play consistently last season. She made her improvement through offseason workouts and fall practices.

“We’ve got a good practice group,” Mittie said. “(Lewis is) going up against (6-feet-6-inches, 6-feet-7-inches) everyday, and some days may be better than others.”

K-State came out right away on defense in a 2-3 zone, which proved to be a struggle for Washburn to handle. The Ichabods went just 16-59 from the field and were held under 50 points. Although the zone defense ended up being successful overall, the Wildcats still have room for improvement.

“If my memory serves, they scored maybe 10 points with less than two or three seconds on the shot clock,” Mittie said. “We’ve got to finish those kinds of plays better because it really negates about 25 seconds of good defense. Give Washburn credit. They really spread us; they were really moving the ball very quick. I thought Washburn did some pretty good things that will be good for us to look at on film to see how we can defend better.”

Although the final score of the game ended up being a 27-point difference, the Wildcats did not make their separation from Washburn until the third quarter rolled around.

K-State held just a 33-26 lead at halftime and was out-rebounded in the first half. The defensive intensity picked up in the third quarter, however, and K-State outscored Washburn 24-13 in the third quarter and then 18-9 in the fourth, leading to the Wildcats’ 27-point win.

For the first competitive game of the season, Coach Mittie was overall pleased with his team’s performance.

“I thought we got some pretty good things accomplished,” Mittie said. “We got some young ones some time on the floor and we got some time for those who had been injured. So all-in-all for us, we come out of the game fairly healthy and were able to get some film for us to take a look at.”

K-State will play one more exhibition game before starting the regular season. The Wildcats take on the Gorillas of Pittsburg State at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9 in Bramlage Coliseum.