Women’s basketball dominates KU in last home game of season, celebrates 50 years

Sophomore forward Peyton Williams wins the tip-off against KU in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 24, 2018. The Wildcats defeated the Jayhawks 91-67. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State women’s basketball team completed a season sweep of in-state rival KU, beating the Jayhawks 91-67 in Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday for the Wildcats’ last home game of the season.

K-State dispatched KU with a well-rounded performance in which four players scored double digits. The game was also Senior Day, so respect was paid to Wildcats both past and present.

“We talk to our players all the time about the responsibility of carrying the torch of the past players that paved the way for us,” head coach Jeff Mittie said.

The Wildcats and Jayhawks opened the game with a near-stalemate of a first quarter.

Freshman guard Rachel Ranke provided a team-high eight points in the quarter. Ranke ultimately finished the game with 19 points, going 5-8 from behind the 3-point line.

“She settled in early and got better shots early instead of pressing,” Mittie said. “I thought she was very good.”

Despite the back-and-forth, K-State managed to take a slim 20-19 lead into the first break of the game.

K-State came out firing on all cylinders in the second quarter, quickly stretching their lead to 28-19 before KU was forced to take a timeout.

Junior guard Kayla Goth came alive in the second quarter. She provided 10 points in the quarter to help K-State add to their lead.

Goth and sophomore forward Peyton Williams lead the Wildcats with 21 points each. Goth provided 12 assists on top of her points.

“We really settled in and simplified things,” senior guard Shaelyn Martin said. “The little things that weren’t quite clicking at the beginning of the game came together.”

The K-State 2-3 zone seemed to cofound the Jayhawks early in the quarter, who would drive the lane only to be turned back by the Wildcat interior defenders.

The 3-point shooting from KU junior guard Kylee Kopatich kept the Jayhawks in the game and limited the Wildcat halftime lead to 44-34.

K-State continued to run KU out of the gym in the third quarter, extending their lead to 71-52 behind balanced scoring from five Wildcats.

KU made a 6-2 run early in the fourth quarter to shave the K-State lead to 15 points, but it would not be that close again. The Wildcats would close out the game with a dominating performance.

K-State shot 57 percent from the field and a blistering 57 percent from three while going ­13-15 from the free throw line.

Celebrating 50 seasons

Before the game was a special pre-game presentation honoring the original K-State women’s basketball team from the 1968-1969 season.

“We’re representing the past 50 years of the program,” Martin said.

The current Wildcats, who had been wearing warmups with the names and numbers of those original players, presented the warmups to the members of the 1968-1969 team.

The coaches were also presented with special proclamations from the state government honoring 50 years of women’s basketball.

K-State honored its three seniors in their last game at Bramlage: Martin, Kaylee Page and Karyla Middlebrook.

Middlebrook is serving in a student assistant coaching role after being sidelined with an injury. She played in four games this season.

Page scored 13 points and also provided two assists versus KU. Martin gave K-State seven points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

“I am sure it’ll hit both of us more after the season is over,” Martin said. “We are here to keep playing and make it as far as we can.”

Martin’s four years at K-State are a result of growing up a K-State fan and dreaming of playing for the Wildcats, she said.

“When you are that little girl and you want to play somewhere, to actually be able to do it has been one of the best experiences of my life,” Martin said.

Wildcat players met with fans, both old and young, on the court after the game.