The women’s basketball team held on in the second half to beat Washburn 75-59 in an exhibition game at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night.
In a game where the Wildcats stars — sophomore guard Christianna Carr, junior guard Rachel Ranke and junior forward Peyton Williams — did not appear, the Wildcats found freshman center Ayoka Lee early and often.
“If there’s an area I’m really proud of our group tonight it’s that, while it didn’t always look pretty, we had players trying to figure things out on the fly,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “I was proud of a big group of players that played well on the fly tonight.”
Ranke, Carr and freshman forward Emma Chapman were held out for disciplinary reasons. Williams missed the game due to her duties with the volleyball team. They will all be available for Kansas State’s next game Friday.
“[Ranke, Carr and Champan] procrastinated something that I wanted everybody to get done before the season,” Mittie said. “They’ll play on Friday. They got it done, they just didn’t get it done when I wanted it done … We will have Peyton [Williams] for Friday as well.”
Lee had the first four points for the Wildcats and finished the game with 18 points and seven rebounds. She only played 19 minutes due to foul trouble.
“They started off the game fronting [Lee] and we obviously got her quick buckets right away,” Mittie said. “The one thing Ayoka does, which is a really good trait for a young person, is she doesn’t really get frustrated. She continues to talk, continues to rebound, still continues to be coachable and that allows her to come back into the game.”
When she was on the court, she stood five inches taller than Ichabod forward Hayley Thompson, who was tasked with guarding her for most of the night. K-State’s guards were able to send passes over Thompson to Lee’s waiting arms under the basket.
The Wildcats built up a sizeable lead by halftime. They headed into the locker room up 38-23 and in complete control of the game.
K-State was out-rebounded 17-10 in the third quarter and the rebounding woes let Washburn close the gap. They eventually took the lead on two separate occasions, though their lead never surpassed one point.
“We had a little situation there where we let them take the lead,” senior guard Angela Harris said. “If I’m excited, the team’s excited so that’s just what I was trying to do.”
By the end of the third, K-State had taken a 52-47 lead despite only making one of 11 field goals, being outscored 24-14 in the quarter.
“I like the fact that we responded when Washburn made the run on us,” Mittie said. “I don’t like that run happening, we’ll try to correct that and answer it better next time, but I like the answer that we gave in the fourth quarter.”
The Wildcats continued to stretch it out throughout the fourth quarter in which Lee, Harris and senior forward Jasauen Beard did significant damage on the scoreboard.
A 14-3 run during the late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter stretch helped K-State regain control of the game.
Beard, Harris and sophomore guard Cymone Goodrich all joined Lee in double-figure scoring. Beard had 16 points, Goodrich had 14 points and Harris, a transfer from the University of Houston, had 12 in her first action at K-State.
“I had like a year off of basketball completely,” Goodrich said in regards to the injury that held her out most of last season. “Just being able to play injury-free feels amazing.”
The Wildcats will have a couple days off before taking on Fort Hays State in the last exhibition game of the year. That game will tip off at 6:30 on ESPN+.