Ayoka Lee entered Sunday needing just 13 points to become the 44th Kansas State women’s basketball player to score 1,000 career points.
She did it with her first basket of the second quarter, had a double-double by halftime and finished with 33 points in the Wildcats’ 76-44 win over Western Kentucky at Bramlage Coliseum.
“Obviously it was exciting, but honestly it was like, ‘We’ve still got a lot of game left,'” Lee said. “It was exciting too and fun to celebrate.”
To compliment her scoring, Lee had 13 rebounds and also led the team with four steals in 25 minutes.
The Lady Toppers came into the game wanting to pressure off-made baskets and force K-State into mistakes, but it would be the Wildcat defense that took over. They held WKU to just eight points in the first quarter and nine in the second.
“Loved the start right away. Felt like we were the aggressors right away, and that’s what we wanted to be,” head coach Jeff Mittie said.
It was the first time the young Wildcat guards — freshmen Serena Sundell, Jaelyn Glenn, Brylee Glenn and sophomore Rebekah Dallinger — had been subjected to so much pressure this year.
“We only had 10 turnovers going into like the last six minutes against a team that’s been pushing people to 30 turnovers, that’s really good,” Mittie said. “This team has made tremendous strides in the last three weeks at taking care of the basketball and that’s been a big key to us playing better.”
K-State continued to feed the post in the third quarter and dominate on defense. Between Lee and center Taylor Lauterbach, the post scored 11 of K-State’s 18-point quarter.
Lauterbach finished the game as K-State’s second-leading scorer with 10 points. She added six rebounds in 15 minutes.
“I thought our centers really played well … We get 43 [points from centers],” Mittie said. “I’ve got to give our guards credit. It’s not easy to pass into all that traffic, so we’re fortunate that we’ve got two really good centers that have good hands, and our team is learning to find them better.”
K-State only allowed Western Kentucky to shoot 28.3 percent from the field in the game and limited them to 4-26 from three. They also forced a total of 22 turnovers to just five Lady Topper assists.
“I think we’re playing really good defense together,” senior Laura Macke said. “Like Coach Mittie said, even when our offense isn’t doing good, we’re still bringing it on defense. That’s really important.”
Jaelyn Glenn stuffed the stat sheet for K-State. She scored eight points, pulled down six rebounds and also poked away three steals.
In the fourth quarter, K-State’s offense really took off. They moved the ball really well and had seven assists on eight made shots. Meanwhile, the defense snuffed out the Lady Toppers to the tune of eleven points and five turnovers.
“I think we’re making the right play a good amount of the time, and if you do that, I think our assist numbers will be even better,” Mittie said.
K-State has one more home Preseason WNIT battle lined up. The Wildcats take on North Carolina A&T Monday evening before heading to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on No. 5 NC State on Nov. 19.