Editor’s note: Added to the caption of Serena Sundell.
Kansas State women’s basketball will advance to the Super 16 of the Postseason WNIT after a 71-55 defensive victory over the Wyoming Cowgirls. K-State will take on the Washington Huskies in the Super 16.
After falling behind by five in the game’s opening minutes, K-State quickly settled in. A 13-0 run with the Wildcats dominating both sides gave K-State complete momentum and a 22-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“I thought our centers were really good, I thought our ball pressure was really good and I thought that was a key to us jumping out to the early lead,” head coach Jeff Mittie said after the game.
After that point, however, the offense began to sputter. K-State had already built itself a lead and relied on its defensive attack to stay in firm control.
“Offensively tonight — this was a struggle all night,” Mittie said. “We were out of rhythm, spacing was bad. … But you’re going to have nights like that and you got to show up and do the other things.”
K-State’s leading scorers in guards Serena Sundell and Gabby Gregory were at the forefront when the offensive succeeded. The duo combined to shoot 8-11 on field goals in the first half and scored or assisted 28 of the Wildcats’ first-half points.
“When we’re connected I think we play really well,” Gregory said. “Obviously tonight offensively we just kind of got stagnant at times. … But there were still several plays during the game where we’re playing really well together and it looks really good and it’s pretty hard to beat.”
Defensively, guard Jaeyln Glenn collected five steals in the first half — tying the program record for steals in a WNIT game. K-State led 36-20 at the break.
“She [Jaelyn Glenn] has great anticipatory skills,” Mittie said. “She’s got great length, she understands angles — all of those things are a big key. And she’s a heck of a competitor.”
The third quarter saw even play as the Wildcat offense struggled to see shots fall. K-State ended the quarter with a field goal drought of over four minutes. Wyoming took advantage and cut the deficit slightly to 14 points, but K-State still had control thanks to its early run.
“As spurty as we were offensive, that kind of run is crucial,” Mittie said. “We weren’t able to play well enough offensively to have another run like that so we were stubborn defensively.”
The Cowgirls kept their slight momentum going into the fourth, closing the Wildcat lead to 11 on multiple occasions. Wyoming could never close the gap to single digits, however, and K-State remained in control late.
Sundell finished with 20 points and five assists while Gregory finished with 19 points and four assists. Forward Sarah Shematsi recorded a near double-double with 9 points and 9 rebounds. Glenn finished with six steals to break the program’s WNIT record.
Forward Sarah Shematsi drives to the basket and finishes through contact, followed by a celebration from her teammates. (Avery Johnson | Collegian Media Group)
The next matchup with Washington will be played at Washington at a time yet to be announced on Friday.