CINCINNATI, Ohio – (11/16) K-State welcomed Cincinnati to the Big 12 with a 66-41 win over the Bearcats at Fifth Third Arena on Saturday afternoon.
K-State improved its record to 13-1 for the first time under the direction of head coach Jeff Mittie. This is the best start for K-State since opening the 2008-09 season with a 14-0 mark. In its history, K-State has opened a season 13-1 or better five times.
Senior Gabby Gregory, an Ann Meyers Drysdale Award candidate, led the Wildcats with 17 points, shooting 4-of-6 from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
Redshirt freshman Zyanna Walker came off the bench to card eight points and three rebounds.
Ayoka Lee recorded six points, eight rebounds, three blocks and a steal despite foul trouble. With her eight rebounds, Lee moved into second on the K-State career rebounds list and became the second player in program history with 1,000 or more career rebounds (1,001).
HOW IT HAPPENED
– K-State (13-1, 1-0 Big 12) broke an 11-11 deadlock after the first quarter, outscoring Cincinnati (8-4, 0-1) in the second frame, 18-3. The Wildcats held the Bearcats to 6.3 percent (1-of-16) from the field in the second quarter. The three points were the lowest allowed in a second quarter this season and the 6.3 field goal percentage allowed was the lowest in a quarter by a K-State opponent this season.
– Gregory outscored the Bearcats on her own in the second quarter, 12-3, on her way to 15 first half points. The product of Tulsa, Oklahoma, recorded 3-of-5 shooting including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and a 4-of-6 performance from the foul line in the second quarter.
– The Wildcats held a 29-14 lead at halftime, as the K-State defense surrendered the fewest points in an opening half.
– K-State extended its advantage to 22, 38-16, to open the third quarter. Jaelyn Glenn connected on a three-pointer and was followed by layups from Ayoka Lee and Brylee Glenn.
– The Wildcats would double their halftime lead by the end of the third quarter, 51-21. K-State made more field goals in the third quarter (10) than in the entirety of the first half (9). K-State shot 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from the field in the third frame, while holding the Bearcats to a 20.0 percent (2-of-10) performance.
– The Bearcats won the fourth quarter, 20-15, as Cincinnati was able to get to the foul line 14 times, converting 12 in the final frame.
– K-State shot 42.6 percent (23-of-54) from the field and held Cincinnati to a 20.0 percent (11-of-55) performance, including a 1-of-16 (.063) effort from 3-point range. The 20.0 percent effort was the lowest in a game by a K-State opponent this season.
– K-State and Cincinnati met for the first time on Saturday. The Wildcats are 220-237 (.481) in Big 12 games. Head coach Jeff Mittie is 5-1 (.833) in his career against Cincinnati.
– Kansas State ended a nine-game Big 12 road losing streak. Before Saturday, K-State’s last road win in league action came on March 5, 2022, at TCU.
– The Wildcats are 7-0 in the month of December. This was the first time since 2008-09 that K-State went unbeaten in the month of December. In its history, K-State is 244-103 (.703) in the 12th month and 43-18 (.705) in the Mittie era. The Wildcats have recorded a .500 or better record in the month of December 48 times including a current streak of 28 consecutive seasons.
– Mittie owns a career record of 631-363 (.635) and is 177-128 (.580) during his 10-seasons at K-State.
– The Wildcats are 289-321 all-time in road games. K-State is 3-0 this season in true road games and are 40-64 in road contests in the Jeff Mittie era.
– K-State owns a record of 235-88 (.728) as an AP ranked team. K-State is 27-5 (.844) all-time when ranked 11th in the nation.
– K-State’s starting five consisted of guards: Jaelyn Glenn, Serena Sundell, Brylee Glenn, Gabby Gregory and center Ayoka Lee. This was the 14th time this starting five has been used this season. This was the 101st career start for Lee, the 92nd collegiate career start and the 46th start at K-State for Gregory, the 83rd career start for Sundell, the 79th career start for Jaelyn Glenn and the 73rd career start for Brylee Glenn.
– The Wildcats held a 29-14 lead at halftime on Saturday. Under head coach Jeff Mittie, K-State is 141-17 (.892) when leading at halftime, including a 12-0 record this season.
– K-State shot 50.0 percent or better in the third quarter on Saturday. For the season, K-State owns 23 quarters with a field goal percentage of 50.0 percent or better.
– Lee has scored in every game of her career (101 games).
– Lee hauled in eight rebounds on Saturday. Lee’s career total for rebounds stands at 1,001 and passed Nicole Ohlde (2000-04; 995) for second in school history. She joins Kendra Wecker (2001-05; 1,087) as the only players in program history with 1,000 or more career rebounds. This was Lee’s 92nd career game with five or more rebounds.
– Lee is the fourth player in Big 12 history with 1,000 or more points, 1,000 or more rebounds and 250 or more blocked shots.
– Lee improved her career blocked shot total to 266 and remains in second in school history for career blocks. This was Lee’s 72nd career game with two or more blocked shots.
– Gregory registered her 75th career game, her 34th at K-State and her fifth this season with 10 or more points.
– Gregory made three 3-pointers on Monday, which is the 62nd time in her career with two or more connections from long range. During her time at K-State, Gregory has made 106 from long range.
– Taryn Sides handed out six assists on Saturday. This was her seventh game this season with five or more assists.
– Jaelyn Glenn made two 3-pointers on Saturday. This was her 40th career game with two or more connections from long range. Glenn’s career total stands at 130.
– Sundell’s six assists improved her career total to 429, which is sixth in school history for career.
– Zyanna Walker tallied her sixth game this season with 10 or more points.
FROM THE HEAD COACH
K-State Head Coach Jeff Mittie
On opening Big 12 play with a win…
“Good to get off good to a good start in Big 12 play coming back from the break. I think it’s good, you know, to just be back into a game routine and there’s obviously every coach cross country is concerned with how you come back off the break. I thought defensively we were really good to the scout and we really had good focus there defensively. Offensively, a struggle most of the day for us. I didn’t feel like we got a lot of rhythm. We just found stretches and credit Cincinnati on that they disrupted some things and we didn’t handle it well at times.”
On facing Cincinnati in their first Big 12 game…
“We didn’t really talk about it as a team other than just from a general statement of every team having the first home game is excited about Big 12 play in the start of that and we didn’t really talk about it being Cincinnati’s first. What I’ve talked to our team about is, you know people always talk about when you’re ranked. You’re going to get everybody’s best shot, right? And we just need to make sure we’re giving everybody our best shot. And I think defensively we did. I got a lot to look at offensively of why we didn’t play very well but I think defensively we were pretty solid most of the day.”
On defensive performance…
“We were switching some stuff so that probably made it look a little bit like that. But no, we were man the entire day. I think we wanted to keep them off the free throw line. We did that in the first three quarters. Fourth quarter, they went there a ton. Fourth quarter, they went 14 times. But in the 30 minutes of the game being decided we did a great job of keeping them and they do a great job of getting to the foul line. So I thought in that stretch we were really really good.”
On Ayoka Lee’s day…
“I thought we weren’t very good at getting rid of the ball before they got organized. And I think Cincinnati had a really good job. We weren’t shooting the ball very well. So they ran extra people in there. But we had a lot of opportunities early in this game to get her the ball where there wasn’t help and we just weren’t playing very well. And that’s something that we can’t afford to have those kind of stretches particularly when we’re not shooting the ball that can give us some problems. So credit Cincinnati for recognizing that we weren’t shooting the ball very well. They got extra help in there. And then credit our kids for making enough plays. Gregory got us going from three and then the rim seemed to loosen up a little bit for us.”
On 3-point shooting…
“We have been a pretty balanced three-point shooting team. You know, Jaelyn Glenn shoots it Brylee (Glenn) has been really good for us. Zy Walker, Taryn Sides, Serena Sundell, you go down the list. Gabby (Gregory) has actually struggled from three early in the season. So it was good to see her going. So you know, I just think for us, we’ve got a lot of weapons. If we take the right kind of shots, I think we’ll have some success.”
K-State returns to Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday, as the Wildcats host Houston at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday’s game is Kids’ Night and Willie the Wildcat’s birthday. Giveaways and pre-game activities for kids on the concourse. For tickets, call (800) 221-CATS or visit kstatesports.com/tickets.
K-State’s Big 12 home opener can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and can be heard on the K-State Sports Network, online at kstatesports.com, or on the K-State Sports app. Wednesday’s game will also be available on SiriusXM channels 202 or 211 and on the SiriusXM app.