Women’s basketball team’s losing streak ends Sooner rather than later

Junior guard Kindred Wesemann directs her teammates in the Wildcats' game against Oklahoma on Feb. 9, 2016, inside Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats were able to end their three-game losing streak by winning 87-71 against the Sooners. (Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

K-State needed to end a negative streak and extend a positive streak.

The Wildcats entered Tuesday night’s contest with No. 21 Oklahoma on a three-game losing streak — their negative streak.

K-State also entered the game having defeated at least one ranked team in every season of the last nine, but the team had not accomplished that feat yet this season — the Wildcats’ positive streak.

K-State ended the negative streak, extended the positive streak and defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 87-71.

“It was as good of an offensive performance as we’ve had in a long, long time,” K-State head coach Jeff Mittie said. “I really felt like this would boil down to if we could get to the arc a little bit better and we could get them to cool off, then we could have some success tonight, and we did.”

Oklahoma junior guard Derica Wyatt came out on fire in the first quarter. She scored nine points in the first four minutes and forced a K-State timeout as Oklahoma led 11-7 with 6:15 minutes left in the quarter.

Out of the timeout, the Wildcats outscored the Sooners 13-9, thanks to hot shooting from junior guard Kindred Wesemann and sophomore forward Kaylee Page. Wesemann hit two 3-pointers and Page contributed one in the 13-9 stretch. The Wildcats and Sooners were tied 20-20 after the first quarter.

The second quarter was the perfect mix of defense and offense for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats held Oklahoma to just seven points in the first 6.5 minutes of the quarter while scoring 16 points of their own. The hot shooting continued for Wesemann as she would connect from the arc three more times in the second quarter.

Wesemann scored 15 points in the first half, going five for five on her 3-point shots. Her effort helped boost K-State to a 43-37 lead at halftime. Wesemann finished the game with 26 points and five assists, and she was six of eight from the 3-point line.

“We just got the ball in the right places, and I was the beneficiary of really great offense by our team,” Wesemann said of her spectacular shooting night.

The Sooners started out the second half strong with a 7-2 run, forcing a K-State timeout just 2:38 minutes into the third quarter.

The Wildcats answered the Sooner run with an 8-1 run of their own, highlighted by senior guard Bri Craig. She scored seven of the eight points during the run, and had 12 points off the bench.

“She was very attack-oriented I felt like,” Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale said of Craig. “She just really went after us with a lot of aggression and a lot of confidence. I thought that was huge.”

The Wildcats entered the fourth quarter high on confidence, and it showed in their play. K-State won the fourth quarter 25-16, largely due to the success they found at the free-throw line.

Facing a large deficit, Oklahoma was forced to foul the Wildcats and put them at the charity stripe in hopes of clawing their way back into the game. Such was not the case.

K-State was poised and focused from the line, sinking 17 of their 22 attempted free throws in the fourth quarter, en route to earning their first win over a ranked team this season.

“They went to the ‘hack-a-shaq’ pretty early in the quarter,” Mittie said. “(Junior center Breanna Lewis) knocked some free throws down in that stretch. I think she goes three of four, so it’s critical to keep them at arm’s length. They can put up points in a hurry.”

K-State improved to 15-8 overall and 5-7 in the Big 12 Conference. They Wildcats will look to build off of this win when they face the Kansas Jayhawks, who are 5-18 overall and 0-12 in conference, at 7 p.m. Saturday inside Bramlage Coliseum.