The Kansas State women’s basketball team defeated Pittsburg State 65-50 on Monday night, and a 13-0 run to end the first quarter proved to seal the win.
The impressive thing was not the run. It was how they did it. More importantly, it was who scored the last nine points of that run, offering a glimpse at this year’s new players.
K-State lacked something during Monday’s game that was thought to be a strength going into the season—experience.
The women’s basketball media guide boasts that the Wildcats return 78 percent of their points, 61 percent of their rebounds and 71 percent of their three-pointers and eight letter winners returned in total.
K-State returned its top three scorers from last season in senior guard Kayla Goth, junior forward Peyton Williams and sophomore guard Rachel Ranke.
But K-State went into this exhibition down four players, including Williams and Goth.
Head coach Jeff Mittie said the staff decided back in June that Williams would not play tonight. Goth was held with an injury.
Instead of Goth and Williams, freshman guard Christianna Carr and freshman forward Savannah Simmons got the nod for Mittie’s squad.
Carr, who managed five points and six turnovers against Fort Hays State in her first collegiate start, exploded offensively in this game. She led the team with 27 points and five rebounds, while turning it over just three times.
“It’s awesome to be able to shoot the ball at a high level tonight,” Carr said. “I feel like my teammates did a good job of finding the hot player, that’s been an emphasis in practice.”
Simmons was in foul trouble early but managed four points and four assists.
Back to the first quarter and to the 13-0 run right before Carr’s 12-point second quarter: the last nine points all came from new faces.
It started with a steal from junior forward Jasauen Beard, a University of Texas Rio Grande Valley transfer. She jumped a pass and took it to the other end for a layup.
On the Gorillas’ next possession, Simmons came up with a steal. The Wildcats went down and found Carr open under the basket to tie the game at nine.
After a missed layup by Pitt State, Carr got open on a fast break, this time beyond the arc. She drained a three and K-State took an early 12-9 lead, but they were not quite done.
Beard managed one more steal-and-score before the buzzer came to end the quarter. That was all K-State needed.
“My very first shot of the game was not really a good shot,” Beard said. “After that, I felt like I needed to build upon that—basically make up for it—on the defensive end.”
She would finish the night with 11 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Don’t get me wrong, K-State’s returners such as Ranke and sophomore guard Cymone Goodrich were vital to keeping the lead, but tonight was all about Mittie’s latest crop of recruits.
“We had our three top scorers off the floor when we played really well It shows their [K-State’s new players] potential,” Mittie said. “It shows their ability to make some individual plays right now, and that’s probably their comfort zone.”
Should Goth and Williams be available for next Monday’s game against Omaha, these young players could only add firepower to this team should they keep up their level of play shown tonight.
K-State’s next game is on Monday at 5:30 p.m. against Omaha. The game will be streamed on K-StateHD.TV and Facebook.