Big games from freshmen Jaelyn Glenn and Serena Sundell helped overcome a sluggish start as the Kansas State women’s basketball team (13-2, 3-0) remains unbeaten in the Big 12 after a 71-61 victory over West Virginia (7-5, 0-2) on the road on Saturday, Jan. 8.
It wasn’t always pretty, but K-State stayed poised and took down West Virginia in Morgantown. After starting the game up 8-2, the Wildcats saw themselves trailing the Mountaineers 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
West Virginia led by as much as nine points in the second quarter and took a 35-28 halftime lead over K-State. A lack of energy was visible in the first half as typical starter junior Emilee Ebert and volume bench player senior Cymone Goodrich were absent from the contest.
“If you don’t have a good first half,” head coach Jeff Mittie said, “you’re going to have the opportunity in the second because there’s no one else to play.”
Among those struggling in the first half was freshman Serena Sundell, who finished 3-10 shooting with four turnovers through 20 minutes.
The second half was a different story.
Sundell shot 3-6 in the second half with six assists and one turnover. With free throws, Sundell finished with 21 points in the contest. Freshman Jaelyn Glenn also had a phenomenal game, scoring a career-high 20 points while hitting six three-pointers.
“Jaelyn Glenn hit some really big shots, but Serena [Sundell] delivered it really well,” Mittie said.
With four seconds remaining in the third quarter, Jaelyn Glenn would hit one of her three-pointers to give the Wildcats their first lead since the first quarter. Halfway through the final quarter, K-State started pulling away, eventually winning 71-61.
Junior all-American candidate Ayoka Lee put up a quiet double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, as the Mountaineers focused most of their attention on this past week’s national player-of-the-week.
Starting for the Wildcats were Sundell, Jaelyn and Brylee Glenn, Lee and senior Laura Macke in place of Ebert. Brylee Glenn finished with seven points and Macke with five, while sophomores Rebekah Gallinger and Taylor Lauterbach each recorded two points. Sophomore Jada Moore also found playing time and recorded five assists.
“I think our young group tonight really grew. They just got better as the game went along,” Mittie said.
K-State’s 3-0 start in conference play is the first time since 2011-12.
“This is a team that trusts each other,” Mittie said. “This is a team that is committed. Back-to-back wins in the Big 12, we’ll take them every time.”
K-State travels back home to take on No. 12 Iowa State at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11. The game will air on Big 12 Now on ESPN+, with a recap available on the Collegian after the game.