Kansas State women’s basketball did not let down following its upset of No. 4 Iowa, moving to 4-0 on the year with a commanding 70-45 win over UT Rio Grande Valley at Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wildcats picked up right where they left off the night before with a 19-9 first quarter, followed by a 12-0 run to start the second quarter. During the first half, scoring was distributed very well as eight different Wildcats recorded points. However, the driving force behind K-State’s domination was its defensive effort.
UTRGV recorded only four baskets in the first half, all of which came in the first quarter. The Vaqueros shot just 11% on all field goals and were 1-18 from the 3-point line. UTRGV’s struggles saw them down 34-11 at halftime.
Scoring improved for both teams after the break. K-State’s first four baskets of the second half all came from beyond the arc, two courtesy of senior guard Gabby Gregory.
While the Vaqueros did see better scoring in the second half, it was too little too late. The Wildcat lead continued to grow and sat at 55-27 going into the final quarter. Those last ten minutes saw UTRGV outscore the Wildcats 18-15, but the damage had been done.
Gregory was joined in double figures by the twin sophomore guards Brylee Glenn and Jaelyn Glenn. Fellow sophomore guard Serena Sundell — who led the Wildcats in points, rebounding and assists against Iowa — nearly recorded her first career double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds.
The Wildcats had limited downtime between games, taking on Utah Tech on Sunday at Bramlage. They defeated UTU 91-82 to move to 5-0 on the season, highlighted by a high-scoring first quarter.
The game began with fast-paced efficient offense from both teams. K-State and UTU scored a combined 13 3-point shots in the half. Both teams shot over 40% in the first quarter, with K-State shooting a staggering 60% to push them out to an early lead.
The second quarter saw team play start to settle in, with defensive stands by both sides leading to an increase in team turnovers. Fouls made an impact as UTU would commit two fouls late in the half leading to K-State points.
Gregory entered foul trouble in the third, receiving her fourth personal foul halfway through the quarter, leading to her not seeing the floor till the fourth quarter.
In her absence, Sundell would take control of the offense, creating shot opportunities and spreading the ball out to her teammates.
The fourth quarter saw Utah Tech climb back from a 28-point deficit to within 6 points. K-State’s shooting cooled off within the fourth, leading to a close final two minutes.
Miscommunication and turnovers plagued the K-State offense closing the game, making the ending too close for comfort for the Wildcats.
Gregory would make a quick impact, tying the school record for most points in a quarter with 16 points in the first and tying her personal best for 3-pointers with five.
Freshman forward Eliza Maupin would make key defensive plays, leading the team in rebounds with 10 and many leading to second chance points for the offense.
K-State saw four of its players score over double digits. The Wildcat free throw percentage helped them maintain their large lead, shooting over 74% from the line.
K-State will play its next game at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24, in Bramlage against Clemson.