It was Kansas State’s underclassmen that led the way to a 75-67 win over Texas Tech in Bramlage Coliseum on Senior Day.
K-State got out to a hot start early, they shot 7-9 from the field before a Texas Tech timeout. The Wildcats had easy shots early thanks to good ball movement and were clamping down on defense.
The Red Raiders figured something out during that timeout because they went on an 11-4 run to finish the quarter up 21-19.
The second quarter was just two long runs by each team, K-State started with a 13-0 run out of the break. Texas Tech answered with a 15-0 run of their own.
“It was really weird, it felt like everything was going right one second and then we could not hold the ball all of a sudden,” junior forward Peyton Williams said.
Sophomore guard Rachel Ranke knocked down a three to put K-State up just one at halftime. They took a 39-38 lead into the locker room.
K-State took advantage of that momentum in the third quarter. They jumped their lead out to six, then Tech came back and threatened to take a lead of their own.
Williams then knocked down a three, a fast break layup and a pair of free throws in just over a minute. Her 7-0 run pushed K-State’s lead back out to nine.
She finished the game 24 points to lead K-State and 15 rebounds, another team-high. She played 39 minutes in the matchup.
“There was a point where all of us said ‘ok, there is no more messing around, we have to win this game for Kali [Jones] and Kayla [Goth]’,” Williams said.
K-State maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the third. They took a 63-57 lead into the final period.
K-State did just enough to maintain that lead down the stretch, but Texas Tech certainly got their opportunities.
“I felt like we were going to get good possessions, that’s the main thing for me,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “Control what you can control.”
Five Wildcats shot in double-figures on the game, Williams (24), Ranke (11), senior forward Kali Jones (11), freshman guard Christianna Carr (10) and senior guard Kayla Goth (10).
“Diversifying our offensive attack heavily contributed to our successes,” Williams said. “[Ranke] and [Carr] are learning what shots are better for them and finding their rhythm.”
Goth also had 12 assists and played 39 minutes. She got to dribble out the last five seconds of her final regular season game in Bramlage.
“I’ve put my heart and soul into this program for the last four years and for the next hopefully month here,” Goth said. “That standing ovation means a lot coming from the people I’ve played for the last four years, and those are the people you want to get the wins for.”
Jones also had nine rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
K-State improved to 19-10 overall and 10-7 in the Big 12.
K-State honored Jones and Goth after the game as well as out-going vice president for student life Pat Bosco.
“The crowd we had today was unbelievable,” Goth said. “I don’t know the last time we had that many people at a game.”
The Wildcats have one more game on the regular season: a road trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to take on Oklahoma State on Monday night. After that, they will head the Oklahoma City for the Big 12 Tournament.