Women’s basketball nearly upsets the country’s No. 14 team, beats Princeton at Cancun Challenge

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K-State forward Peyton Williams drains a three point shot during the game against UMKC on November 18, 2018. The Wildcats defeated the Kangaroos 61-50. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State women’s basketball team took its 3-0 record to Cancun, Mexico to play in the 2018 Cancun Challenge.

Over the course of three days, Thursday through Saturday, the Wildcats played No. 14 Syracuse University, No. 16 DePaul University and Princeton University.

In the first game of the tournament the Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season to No. 14 Syracuse 70-61.

K-State trailed Syracuse at halftime by a score of 40-31. The Wildcats came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring the Orange 17-6 and found themselves leading 48-46 heading into the final quarter. Syracuse responded by going on a 20-2 scoring run over five minutes to go ahead 68-54 with just over three minutes remaining in the game.

K-State eventually fell 70-61 to the Orange. The Wildcats had five players score double-digit points. Junior forward Peyton Williams led the team with 14 points and poured in eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.

In the second game of the Cancun Challenge, the Wildcats fell 79-59 to No. 16 DePaul.

K-State found itself in a hole early as it trailed by 25 points at halftime. It failed to connect on a 3-point shot in the first half, while DePaul hit nine from deep.

The Wildcats shot 63 percent and outscored the Blue Demons by five points in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome a 34 percent shooting mark in the first half. The Wildcat defense held the Blue Demons to 39 percent shooting in the second half, but DePaul scored 31 points off 25 K-State turnovers to keep its lead and win by 20 points.

In the third and final game, K-State defeated Princeton with an 80-61 score.

K-State led 21-15 at the end of the first quarter, but struggled to defend Princeton from beyond the three-point line as it made six 3-pointers in the second quarter. The Tigers shot 25 percent in the first quarter but made up ground by shooting 60 percent to gain a 42-34 lead at the half.

Princeton gave up its eight point halftime lead when K-State went on an 11-3 run to tie the game at 45 at the 4:48 mark of the third quarter.

The Wildcats scored 46 points in the second half behind a 26-8 third quarter. 47.4 percent shooting from the field and three-point range lifted K-State to the win over Princeton.

Williams was the high scoring in the win, as she put up 23 points to go along with seven rebounds. The junior forward averaged 15.7 points per game over the course of the three-game tournament.

Freshman guard Christianna Carr recorded her first 20-point game with 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Carr shot a career high from three-point range as she went 4-for-8, accounting for nearly half of the team’s nine 3-point shots.

K-State will have a week of before returning to Bramlage Coliseum on Dec. 2 to face Vanderbilt. The game, which is part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, will tip off at 1 p.m. and will stream on ESPN3. Fans can also listen on the K-State Sports Network.

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