It was an ugly, slow game when the women’s basketball team met the second-ranked Baylor Bears in Manhattan Saturday afternoon. That was by design.
“I’m impressed y’all stayed to watch that ugly stuff,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said after beating K-State 54-40. “That was terrible, wasn’t it? Both teams.”
The Wildcats, weary of an athletic Bear offense that averages a full five more points per game than any other Big 12 team coming into the game, focused on limiting possessions.
“One of the things we talked about on offense was slowing the pace down a little bit and playing more to a speed that wouldn’t let them just run away with it and allow a lot of up and down,” senior forward Peyton Williams said.
That pace control worked for the most part. Kansas State managed to hold Baylor to a season-low point total and 38 percent shooting from the floor.
On offense, K-State tried to move the ball inside to their talented frontcourt duo of Williams and redshirt freshman center Ayoka Lee.
“They’re big inside and they are a big shot-blocking team,” Williams said. “So we talked about being able to move a little bit on the outside and maybe get some three looks, maybe get it back in a reshuffle the person behind you and get an open shot.”
Again, that worked for the most part, except that K-State shot just 21 percent from the field and 0-18 from the three-point line.
“When you hesitate for half a second, they have great closing ability,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “That probably is impacting our windows to shoot, but Baylor closes those small windows up very, very quickly.”
K-State is one of the few teams in the Big 12 who has the size to play the inside game against Baylor and that’s what they did.
Despite the abysmal shooting, Williams turned in 12 points and seven rebounds. Lee dominated yet again, recording 14 points and 12 rebounds, despite being sidelined by foul trouble early.
K-State’s game plan gave them an opportunity to make a game of it late in the ball game. An 8-0 run that spanned the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth cut the Baylor lead to just 10 with 5:20 to play.
“We had a couple of opportunities there,” Mittie said. “They’re number one in one poll, they’re number two in another. They’ve got good players.”
After that point, K-State had chances to cut the lead even closer, but failed to make the shots needed, recording only four points the rest of the game.
K-State has a quick turn-around, the Wildcats head to Morgantown, West Virginia, to take on the Mountaineers Tuesday night.