Wildcats dominate No. 12 Mountaineers in Big 12 home opener

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Senior center Breanna Lewis defends the ball against a Washburn player during the K-State game against Washburn in Bramlage Coliseum on Nov. 4, 2016. (File Photo by Alanud Alanazi | The Collegian)

The Kansas State Wildcats women’s basketball team upset No. 12 West Virginia Sunday, beating the Mountaineers 86-71.

Despite what head coach Jeff Mittie called a “tentative” start, the Wildcats dominated the Mountaineers. Senior center Breanna Lewis led the Wildcats in scoring with 23 points and in rebounds with nine. Junior guard Shaelyn Martin led all players with eight assists.

It was the first loss of the season for the Mountaineers, and the first win in the last three games for the Wildcats, who are now 11-3 this season.

Offense

The Wildcats held tight early against the Mountaineers, matching them nearly shot-for-shot in the first quarter. Both teams shot 58 percent from the floor in the quarter, and both teams made one free-throw. The only difference was the Mountaineers’ better three point shooting, but scoring in the paint helped the Wildcats lead 24-20 going into the second quarter.

From there, the Wildcats took over. K-State outscored West Virginia 27-19 in the second quarter and took a 51-39 lead into the second half. This came, at least in part, due to the Wildcats’ continued supremacy in the paint. The Wildcats outworked the Mountaineers near the basket, getting 34 points there versus just eight by the Mountaineers. The Wildcat bench was also dominant in the first half, outscoring West Virginia’s 21-0.

In the second half the Wildcats’ bench continued to dominate, outscoring the Mountaineers’ bench 7-0. K-State ended the game with a 28-0 advantage there. The Wildcats also beat the Mountaineers in the paint in the second half 20-14.

Defense

In the first half, West Virginia turned the ball over eight times to K-State’s four. What was even more important than the turnover number was what each team did with them. The Wildcats got 12 first-half points off turnovers. The Mountaineers got zero. The Wildcats also out-rebounded the Mountaineers in the first half, getting 17 rebounds to the Mountaineers’ 14. Yet again, though, the most significant part of those stats were what each team did with them.

By the time the game was over, the Wildcats had turned 17 West Virginia turnovers into 16 points. The Mountaineers, on the other hand, only scored five points off 14 Wildcat turnovers.

Quote of the game

“That’s been kind of a achilles heel of ours, is that we tend to wait sometimes. In Big 12 play if you’re waiting around you can be down big, so I was proud of them for responding. They came out and they just kept playing better and better.”

-K-State head coach Jeff Mittie

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Shelton Burch
Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.