When your team only has three out of 14 players listed at shorter than six-foot-one, you’ll typically have an advantage, and that was the case Wednesday night as the K-State women’s basketball team utilized its height advantage in a 73-55 win over Lamar University in Bramlage Coliseum.
The numbers speak for themselves. K-State outscored Lamar 40-32 in the paint. They also out-rebounded the Cardinals, 46-42. The Wildcats blocked 11 shots as a team. They had three double-doubles.
“[Lamar] really stayed a lot wider than I anticipated, but we made that adjustment were able to go to [Jones] and [Williams] on the block,” head coach Jeff Mittie said.
Six-foot-four junior forward Peyton Williams recorded a double-double. She poured in 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, 11 of those were on the defensive end of the court.
“My teammates made it easy for me for me to get those numbers, I guess, because [Jones] was blocking the heck out of people, so I would just grab the rebound, and then [Goth] just dishes it to me,” Williams said. “This is a game where it’s really easy to see the team play, I wouldn’t have these numbers if it weren’t for [Jones and Goth].”
At times, it felt like K-State’s offense revolved Williams posting up on the Cardinal’s shorter defenders and receiving a pass over their heads for an easy lay-up.
“They had trouble with [Williams,] so we made an adjustment there to get her the ball to see how they would defend that,” Mittie said. “They still had trouble defending that.”
Senior forward Kali Jones, listed at six-foot-two, scored ten points, had ten rebounds and blocked eight shots. Her mere presence in the paint altered several more shots.
“Not fouling has been a focus for me,” Jones said. “Tonight I realized their height disadvantage and I acted upon that and I looked at the ball and made sure it didn’t go in.”
Those eight blocks from Jones tied a K-State record. It was also the most blocks in the Big 12 this season.
“[The record is] really special,” Jones said. “I didn’t know the record coming in, and I’m glad I didn’t because then that would have been on my mind and I would have been pressured. My focus was just to play good defense.”
In the first quarter, Jones found herself being guarded by five-foot-three sophomore guard Jadyn Pimentel, who switched onto Jones on ball screens. The Wildcats only had to toss the ball over Pimentel’s head to a waiting Jones.
Even the guards got in on the shot-blocking fun. In the second quarter, six-foot-one sophomore Rachel Ranke sent a Pimentel shot down like a volleyball spike. She ended up blocking two shots in the contest.
Six-foot-one junior Jasauen Beard, who is listed as a forward, but is interchangeable between the two positions, got a block in the third quarter.
Senior guard Kayla Goth, listed at six-foot-one, managed 20 points and fed her teammates to the tune of ten assists, a double-double.
“Size advantage definitely helped,” Goth said. “I think I was throwing it to [Jones] every time I dribbled in.”
K-State’s front court explosion helped to cover up what was a bad night from the three-point line. The Wildcats only managed 27 percent on threes, a number that recovered late in the game and was as bad as nine percent at one point.
Even after K-State put the back-ups in with a 15-point lead and one minute, they were still feeding six-foot-four sophomore forward Ashley Ray, who scored two points.