K-State women dominate early, fade late in loss to Texas

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K-State junior Ashley Ray plays defense against Texas' Charli Collier during the game against the Longhorns on Dec. 21 in Bramlage Coliseum. Texas won the rematch in Austin on Sunday, 59-48. (Photo courtesy of Scott Weaver | K-State Athletics)

After a dominating first quarter, the women’s basketball team (6-14) faded late into a 59-48 loss at Texas on Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats sit at 1-12 in Big 12 Conference play.

Kansas State came out of the gate hot to take an 11-point lead early in the second quarter despite two quick fouls from star sophomore center Ayoka Lee.

“She’s gotta make better decisions in terms of the contact down there, that’s always the challenge,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “She played a minute-thirteen, right? So she picks one up right away and then picks another one up on the other end of the floor.”

In her place, the Wildcats turned to freshman forward Taylor Lauterbach and senior forward Ashley Ray to hold down the middle. They had their work cut out for them trying to keep projected WNBA first-round draft pick Charli Collier in check.

“They were okay. We had to bring some extra help in there,” Mittie said. “I thought they gave up some offensive rebounds late. … [Collier]’s a terrific player. She’s the number one pick in various WNBA mock drafts.”

Collier scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead Texas in both categories.

K-State began to struggle when the Longhorns employed a full-court press — K-State’s kryptonite all season. The Wildcats committed 21 turnovers.

“They picked up and played hard man-to-man defense, there wasn’t anything different from before,” Mittie said. “We’re not handling that well and that’s a continued theme throughout the year.”

At times in the second half, the game seemed played entirely on the Longhorns’ end of the court. The Longhorns made shots and forced K-State to scramble in and force a turnover, which led to a layup and the cycle repeated itself.

“Our problem is that our guards don’t really play well together like they need to,” Mittie said. “What I mean by that: our timing’s off, our ball movement’s off, we don’t always move it to the right player. That ends up with a number like you see today: four assists, 21 turnovers.”

Texas scored 26 points off of turnovers.

A similar scenario played out in the fourth quarter with the Longhorns earning offensive rebounds off missed free throws and returning to offense to score repeatedly without K-State touching the ball.

“We had our opportunities in that stretch,” Mittie said. “We had two things: we had turnovers when we had numbers twice, and we gave up offensive rebounds off of free-throw box-outs after that. So that was when that number went from five to ten. That was a critical stretch in the last six-seven minutes of the game.”

With Lee out, the Wildcats’ only consistent offense came from banged-up junior guard Chrissy Carr, who earned a team-high 12 points in 34 minutes of play. Mittie originally didn’t want to play Carr that many minutes.

“It was good to have her back on the floor. Good to see her get some plays in there,” Mittie said. “It was good to see her get out of there relatively healthy because she played more minutes than I really wanted to play her coming off the injury.”

Senior point guard Sydney Goodson, who also missed time because of an injury, got in on the action but only played eight minutes. Mittie described her as “not 100 percent.”

K-State will play a struggling Texas Tech team at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night on ESPN+. Radio coverage will be through the K-State Sports Network.

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Nathan Enserro
Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, a graduate student from Olathe, Kansas, working on a Masters in Mass Communication. I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. This is my fourth year covering K-State sports for the Collegian.