MANHATTAN, Kansas – In a game featuring 12 lead changes and 11 ties, (12/12) K-State secured its second top-10 win of the season, as the Wildcats downed (10/10) Texas at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, 61-58. This was K-State’s 11th straight victory, the longest winning streak for the Wildcats since the 2008-09 team won 14 consecutive games to begin the season.
K-State improved its record to 17-1 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 17-1 mark. In its history, K-State has opened a season 17-1 four times.
K-State upped its Big 12 record to 5-0, the first time since the 200-7-08 season the Wildcats have opened Big 12 action with a 5-0 record.
The Wildcats have defeated two Associated Press top-10 foes in the same season for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
K-State had three players reach double figures on Saturday and were led by senior center and All-American Ayoka Lee with her sixth double-double of the season and the 55th of her career with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 5-of-5 from the foul line, 10 rebounds, four blocks, a steal and an assist.
With a layup in the first quarter, Lee became the fourth player in program history to surpass the 2,000-point mark in a career (2,017). With her third blocked shot of the afternoon in the first half, Lee became the K-State leader for career blocked shots, passing Breanna Lewis (2013-17; 282) and finishing the afternoon at 284 blocks in her career. The total ranks ninth in Big 12 history.
Joining Lee in double figures were junior guard and All-American candidate Serena Sundell with 12 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block.
Junior guard Jaelyn Glenn notched 10 points including a 2-of-5 effort from long range, three rebounds and two steals.
HOW IT HAPPENED
– Trailing by six points, 45-39, with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter, K-State (17-1, 5-0 Big 12) went on an 11-0 run that spanned the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters to build a 50-45 lead and force a Texas (16-2, 3-2) timeout with 8:20 remaining.
– Redshirt freshman Imani Lester opened the run with a pair of free throws after hauling in an offensive rebound at the 2:20 mark. On the next possession, Gisela Sanchez found Walker on a backdoor cut with 1:34 to play in the third for a layup to bring K-State within two, 45-43.
– Before the end of the quarter K-State made the play of the day. Sundell flew in from the weak side to block a layup attempt by Texas’ Amina Muhammad with five seconds remaining. After gathering the defensive rebound, Sundell found Walker near the K-State 3-point line with a long pass ahead. Walker caught and gathered herself before releasing a three-pointer with tenths of a second remaining. The ball swished through to bring the largest crowd of the season of 7,062 to its feet as the Wildcats entered the fourth quarter with a 46-45 lead. Walker ended the afternoon with nine points on 4-of-8 shooting, five rebounds, three assists and a steal.
– A baseline layup from Sundell and a layup from Lee forced the Texas timeout early in the fourth quarter.
– A three-pointer from Jaelyn Glenn with 3:40 to play sent the Wildcats into a seven-point advantage, 57-50.
– After the Longhorns got to within three points, 59-56, following a pair of Madison Booker free throws with 1:22 remaining K-State found Lee for a layup with 1:04 left for a 61-56 advantage.
– With 15 seconds left, Texas had an opportunity to tie the game but a Shaylee Gonzales three-point attempt was blocked by Sanchez and the ball was eventually snared by Walker with four seconds left. Texas attempted to foul four times in the last four seconds but time ran out before the Wildcats attempted any free throws.
– In the first half, the two teams traded the lead nine times and were tied eight times. K-State received from a four-point deficit, 25-21, midway through the second quarter with a 7-0 run to capture a 28-25 lead with 3:58 remaining following a Gabby Gregory 3-pointer.
– Texas would score the final four points of the opening half to hold a 31-30 edge at halftime.
– The Wildcats shot 34.6 percent (9-of-26) in the opening half, while the Longhorns were held to 32.4 percent (12-of-37).
– Texas leads the series, 31-18. The Wildcats are 10-12 against the Longhorns in games played in Manhattan. Head coach Jeff Mittie is 6-21 in his career against Texas.
– The Wildcats are 224-237 (.486) in Big 12 games.
– Mittie owns a career record of 635-363 (.636) and is 181-128 (.586) during his 10-seasons at K-State.
– K-State owns a record of 390-154 (.717) during its 36-seasons in Bramlage Coliseum. Mittie is 120-46 (.723) in home games with the Wildcats.
– K-State’s 12-game home court winning streak is the longest home court winning streak in the Mittie era, which started with the final two home wins of the 2022-23 season. This is K-State’s longest home court winning streak since a 14-game home winning streak spanning the end of the 2007-08 season to the end of the 2008-09 season.
– K-State owns a record of 239-88 (.731) as an AP ranked team. K-State is 18-4 (.818) all-time when ranked 12th in the nation. The Wildcats are 6-10 all-time against AP foes ranked 10th in the nation.
– With its attendance of 7,062 on Saturday, Kansas State surpassed the 2 million mark (2,007,002) for total women’s basketball attendance in Bramlage Coliseum since the building opened in the 1988-89 season.
– K-State’s starting five consisted of guards: Jaelyn Glenn, Serena Sundell, Brylee Glenn, Gabby Gregory and center Ayoka Lee. This was the 18th time this starting five has been used this season. This was the 105th career start for Lee, the 96th collegiate career start and the 50th start at K-State for Gregory, the 87th career start for Sundell, the 83rd career start for Jaelyn Glenn and the 77th career start for Brylee Glenn.
– K-State shot 50.0 percent or better in one quarter on Saturday. For the season, K-State owns 31 quarters with a field goal percentage of 50.0 percent or better.
– K-State registered a 35-33 advantage in rebounds on Saturday. This is the 14th time K-State has outrebounded its opponent this season (13-1).
– With her 55th career double-double, Lee moved into sole possession of fifth place on the Big 12 career double-doubles list, breaking a tie with former Iowa State center Angie Welle.
– Lee recorded her 96th career game with 10 or more points and her 45th career game with 20 or more points. Lee has scored in every game of her career (105 games). Lee’s career total stands at 2,017 and ranks fourth in school history.
– Lee improved her career blocked shot total to 284, setting the school record for career blocked shots. This was Lee’s 76th career game with two or more blocked shots.
– Lee hauled in 10 rebounds on Saturday. Lee’s career total for rebounds stands at 1,034, second in school history. She needs 54 rebounds to pass Kendra Wecker (2001-05; 1,087) for the school record for career rebounds. This was Lee’s 96th career game with five or more rebounds and 57th career game with 10 or more boards.
– Sundell notched her 56th career game with 10 or more points, including her 11th this season. Sundell owns 1,042 career points and passed Susie Norton (1,036; 1972-76) and Rachel Ranke (1,037; 2017-22) for 41st on the K-State career scoring list.
– Sundell’s seven assists improved her career total to 452, which is sixth in school history for career.
– Jaelyn Glenn recorded her 36th career game with 10 or more points and her sixth this season.
– Jaelyn Glenn made two 3-pointers on Saturday. This was her 42nd career game with two or more connections from long range.
FROM THE HEAD COACH
K-State Head Coach Jeff Mittie
“Tough battle today, two good teams battling start to finish. This was 40 minutes of it. I haven’t really looked at the stats but [it was] pretty even across the board, so not much separated us most of the day. I think we got the big boost at the end of the third, with the big block by Serena [Sundell] to erase some points at the other end, and then we get the three right at the buzzer there, that’s always a big boost. I think you them not ever giving the lead back in the fourth was critical. We took it and we kept them at least away from us and had them playing a little bit of catch up. We didn’t run away from them obviously, but we certainly made it harder on them.”
On the difference in the game in the 4th quarter…
“I think this [game] defensively we were stubborn. Offensively, we started to get some better movement. We lifted our centers up out of the paint, we lifted (Imani) Lester up out of there, we lifted (Ayoka) Lee up above the free throw line to try to give us some backdoor options, and to maybe put a little bit more concern on them defending so aggressively. So I thought that opened some things up for us, and we took care of it pretty good in that stretch, and we got good looks. And I say all the time ‘you’ve got to be a smarter team as the game progresses, you’ve got to be tougher’ and I think today we were.”
On how big Zyanna Walker’s performance was…
“Huge. Zy [Walker] has been playing so well, getting so comfortable with everything we’re asking her to do. She alleviated a lot of pressure off the point guards today, we were able to initiate offense with her, but then just big shots, big defensive plays. Jae [Jaelyn Glenn] got in a little bit of foul trouble, so Zy had to take more of an active role against [Madison] Booker. Booker is a heck of a player, she had a stretch there in the third where she was so good. I probably needed to make a switch earlier in that with our coverage. I do think that helped us, she was just getting so deep in the paint with that mid-range shot that she is so good at. So I think a lot of things have to happen in a game like this, but us taking care of the ball and limiting them to one shot was critical. And strange enough, some of the shot clock stuff made them defend for a long time. And we ended up scoring some baskets at the very tail end of some shot clocks that were big plays.”
On the key to defending their offense…
“I think limiting their second chances was big. They’re a physical, long team. And they can put lineups out there that are tough; you’re trying to match up with [Taylor] Jones, you’re trying to match up with [Amina] Muhammad, you’re trying to match up with [Aaliyah] Moore. There are not many teams that have the ability to go 6’5, 6’4, 6’1, and be physical. I thought Gabby (Gregory) battled down there, [Amina] Muhammad only gets three rebounds today. I thought she battled. I thought Gisela [Sanchez] battled down there. I thought Eliza [Maupin] gave us three valuable minutes. I thought Imani Lester gave us a valuable six minutes. I thought that it was gonna take everybody to do this, but to hold them under 58, we had enough patience offensively. And while it looked ugly at times, it limited the possessions that helped us at the other end.”
On having the largest crowd of the year…
“Well here’s what I want to say about it. I’ve seen a lot of social media, and everybody’s telling everybody to get out here, and ‘gotta get to the game to support the team’ and ‘gotta do this’ and ‘it’ll be a crime if we don’t have 10,000 [fans in attendance]’. Man, just enjoy life, guys. I mean this is serious weather out there. Anybody that came to this game, I am thanking them 100% for getting out and making the commitment to come support us. I thought it was an awesome crowd. Most women’s basketball teams across the country would have had 1500 in there. And everybody always names Iowa, whatever, but I’m telling you right now, that’s a hell of a crowd. It’s a hell of a commitment from seven, eight [thousand], whatever it ended up being, to be there. And I know the ones that weren’t there we’re watching on TV, so I probably can’t thank them enough. Because I saw this stuff this week and I’m thinking I don’t know what the crowd is gonna be. I know we’re gonna show up, but I was amazed how many people were there with what we’ve got going on weather-wise out there. I’m glad I only had to be in the weather for about a minute and a half. I got a really good parking spot out here. So I can’t thank them enough.”
On Ayoka Lee reaching 2000 points in the game today…
“We needed every one of them today. Yeah, she just does so much. And she’s such a joy to coach, in that she just does so much. She’s not caught up with the individual things. Obviously I think they mean something to her, because we all have that in us when we work hard. We want to see those accomplishments. But that’s not why she plays. But I think she’ll look back down the road and be really proud of these numbers, and she should be. When you come back from an injury like that, you have the long days in the weight room, and the long days in the training room, and the long days to get ready, and you don’t know if it’s gonna work out or not. So it’s pretty special to watch her do what she does.”
Texas Head Coach Vic Schaeffer
“First just congratulations to Kansas State. I thought they were really tough today. You know in a game like this, it’s all about one possession and we have a poem that we give the kids and it’s entitled ‘It’s only one possession’ and today’s game was one possession. I could pick out 10 of them, but the one that stands out that is the one that ends the third quarter, and then the one second on the shot clock and we won’t even look to tip it away. I can go down the list like I said, in a game like this today where it’s a one-possession game, you can go down every player we have and they can probably come up with one.”
On playing in the Big 12 and the atmosphere…
“I think it is it’s all of that and then some every year. There’s so much parity, great coaching, and players that are going to be in the league and it’s like that every year. I have so much respect and admiration for the coaches and programs in this conference. It’s always been that way and you know, they had a nice crowd today great environment for college athletics and college basketball. Didn’t hear one demeaning thing hollered at me, which was nice, that’s unusual. It’s a great league and with home court, you got to hold serve on your home court. And then when you go on the road, if you can win one on the road, it’s just like winning one and a half. So I don’t expect anybody to be undefeated in this league at the end of the year and probably going to have more than one or two losses.”
On Zyanna Walker’s buzzer-beater to end the 3rd…
“You try to keep that from happening. I’ll have to go back and look at the film, there wasn’t anybody around her, you know, and we had a couple of instances in transition defense today where we didn’t quite get matched up. And that’s kind of been an Achilles heel all year for us to be quite honest. If you’re talking about a possession, three-point game, that’s an easy one to grab. And give the kid credit for making a shot. Wasn’t like she was standing there five feet from the rim, she made a 30-footer.”
FROM THE FLOOR
K-State Senior Center Ayoka Lee
On scoring her 2,000 points and breaking the school record for blocks…
“I’m just glad we got the win. I’m glad we fought through 40 minutes. I think it’s an honor. I knew how many I needed, I don’t know if I was thinking about it, possession by possession.”
On the atmosphere…
“I’m just so thankful so many people came out in the weather because I know I don’t even want to go outside my house. So it’s cool. So, very thankful for that and I just hope that going into the semester it will continue.”
On Zyanna Walker’s big three to end the 3rd…
“For sure, I think it was a momentum change. Being up in the last 10 minutes is like, we don’t have to dig ourselves out of a hole. Let’s make them dig out of a hole. I think for all of us, it was like ‘okay, now let’s lock in, and let’s not lose this.’ We fought so hard to get this lead. We’re not going to lose it.”
On the good offensive play in the 4th after some offensive struggles…
“We struggled with that, just like timing and cuts and knowing when to look and pass. That was something we struggled with. But I think it just goes back to we were just locked in the last quarter. Like I know in my mind, I was like ‘we’re not losing this.’ Every decision I made was like, ‘we’re not losing this.’ I think we’re really determined.”
K-State Redshirt Freshman Guard Zyanna Walker
On her buzzer-beating 3 to end the 3rd quarter…
“I just knew the time was going down and I had to get it off. I wanted to at least get a shot off you know, no matter how good I thought the shot was. And I was confident in it and it felt good. And I made it.”
On her rebound in the final seconds of the game…
“She was saving it and I saw the direction she was about to save it too. And I was like, yeah, I gotta get this ball. I don’t want them to get any more shots off. If I get this it pretty much ends the game. So I was like, Yeah, I got it. I got to chase this rebound for sure.”
On the atmosphere …
“It was a great atmosphere. I hope now that we’re in conference play more people come to the games and the energy’s high just like how it was tonight.”
K-State makes a quick road trip to Texas on Wednesday, as the Wildcats face TCU at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday’s game can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and can be heard on the K-State Sports Network including the flagship stations Sunny 102.5 FM and 1350 KMAN, online at kstatesports.com, or on the K-State Sports app. The game can also be heard on SiriusXM channels 200 or 211 or on the SiriusXM app.