Women’s basketball struggles to overcome slow start, falls to Iowa State

Junior guard Kayla Goth is fouled during a layup against Iowa State in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 3, 2018. The Cyclones defeated the Wildcats 80-45. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State women’s basketball team could have used a spark in the first half of their 80-45 defeat at the hands of the Iowa State Cyclones.

K-State struggled early to rebound on both ends of the court, which was coupled with poor shooting. The Wildcats were out-rebounded 55-37 in the competition.

The Wildcats couldn’t find their footing in the first half, and Iowa State capitalized.

“We need to dig in when things aren’t going well, and we didn’t dig in tonight,” head coach Jeff Mittie said.

The Cyclones set the nets on fire in the first quarter, scoring at an incredible 53 percent clip.

“In that stretch we played zone, man, triangle-and-two — it just did not matter,” Mittie said.

Iowa State held on to a 25-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

K-State put up a bit of a fight in the second quarter, limiting ISU to 31 percent from the field and slowing down their three-point shooting to 38 percent.

Senior guard Shaelyn Martin, appearing to sense that K-State needed a lift, stole the ball off the dribble at the top of the key and scored on the other end to cut the Iowa State lead to four points over the Wildcats.

The game would not get that close again.

“I didn’t like our last two possessions of the half, and they got two fairly good possessions,” Mittie said.

Five points from Iowa State’s Adriana Camber in the last minute of the second quarter put an end to K-State’s first-half comeback. Iowa State took a 38-29 lead into the locker room.

Camber finished the game with 21 points and six rebounds, leading all scorers.

“She is someone we run a lot of stuff for,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “That is a kid that needs a smile, and she got to smile huge tonight.”

Iowa State came back out of the break with a quick 8-0 run, led by five more points from Camber.

“We talked about being on the road, playing a good team,” Fennelly said. “Let’s see if we can play at a level where we can make them call the first timeout.”

A last-second 3-pointer from Iowa State’s Meredith Burkhall helped the Cyclones extend their lead to 61-38 headed into the final quarter. They outscored the Wildcats 23-9 in the third quarter.

Bad turned to worse for K-State early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats were struggling to score while Iowa State continued to light it up from the field.

“We’ve got a good part of our group that is really struggling with confidence,” Mittie said. “We are struggling to find the right play.”

Iowa State continued to carve up the Wildcat defense in the fourth quarter, outscoring K-State 19-7 and ending the game 80-45.

“We have got a lot of soul-searching to do,” Mittie said.

Junior guard Kayla Goth led K-State with 14 points and four assists.

The women’s basketball team, having lost five of its last six games, will try to rebound on Wednesday when Texas Tech comes to town.