(7/6) K-State Collects 16th Straight Home Win

MANHATTAN, Kansas – (7/6) K-State saw an 11-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter evaporate late, but a layup from Jaelyn Glenn in the final seconds pushed the Wildcats past UCF, 60-58, on Saturday evening at Bramlage Coliseum. Dating back to the final two home wins of last season, the Wildcats have now won 16 consecutive home games.

K-State had four players reach double figures on Saturday and were led by senior guard Gabby Gregory with a season-high 19 points, seven rebounds, a block and a steal.

Sophomore forward Eliza Maupin came off the bench to record her third career double-double and her first this season with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting and a career-high 11 rebounds and added three steals in a career-best 34 minutes of action. Maupin scored 12 of her 15 points in the first half.

Junior guard and All-American candidate Serena Sundell recorded 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting, five assists, three rebounds and a blocked shot. This was Sundell’s 12th straight game in double figures.

Redshirt freshman Zyanna Walker also came off the bench to register 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

– K-State (22-4, 11-3 Big 12) held an 11-point advantage, 49-38, following a three-pointer from Gregory with 9:08 remaining.
– UCF (12-12, 3-11) chipped away at the deficit and pulled to within two, 56-54, with 46 seconds remaining as Kaitlin Peterson outscored the Wildcats, 7-1 over a three-and-a-half-minute stretch.
– Sundell tallied a layup with 28 seconds left to push K-State into a four-point lead, 58-54. The Wildcats surrendered a layup by Peterson with 20 seconds left and then missed two free throws with 15 seconds remaining.
– UCF raced up the floor with the rebound and found Mya Burns with a right-handed layup with six seconds to play.
– Walker inbounded the ball to Sundell, who dribbled near the right sideline. With the UCF defenders lining midcourt, Jaelyn Glenn snuck behind all defenders and Sundell found her with a long pass. Glenn collected the ball, took one dribble and made a right-hand layup with two seconds remaining to win the game for the Wildcats. Glenn finished Saturday’s game with five points, a career-high seven steals and three rebounds.
– K-State shot 41.8 percent from the field (23-of-55) and were held to 13.3 percent (2-of-15) from 3-point range. The Wildcats shot 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from the foul line.
– UCF shot 40.0 percent (24-of-60) from the floor and shot 15.0 percent (3-of-20) from long range.

– K-State leads the series, 2-0. This was the first meeting between the programs in Manhattan. Head coach Jeff Mittie is 3-0 in his career against UCF.
– The Wildcats are 230-240 (.489) in Big 12 games.
– Head coach Jeff Mittie owns a career record of 639-366 (.636) in 32 seasons as a head coach and is 185-131 (.585) during his 10-seasons at K-State.
– K-State’s 16-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 16-game home winning streak in the 2003-04 season.
– K-State’s 14-game home court winning streak this season is the longest single-season home winning streak since the Wildcats won 19 consecutive home games in the 2002-03 season.
– K-State owns a record of 244-91 (.728) as an AP ranked team. K-State is 15-5 (.750) all-time when ranked 7th in the nation.

– K-State’s starting five consisted of guards: Jaelyn GlennSerena SundellBrylee GlennGabby Gregory and forward Gisela Sanchez. This was the sixth time this starting five has been used this season. This was the 104th collegiate career start and the 58th start at K-State for Gregory, the 95th career start for Sundell, the 91st career start for Jaelyn Glenn, the 85th career start for Brylee Glenn and the sixth career start for Sanchez.
– The Wildcats held a 27-24 lead at halftime on Saturday. Under head coach Jeff Mittie, K-State is 147-17 (.896) when leading at halftime, including an 18-0 record this season.
– Over the last 12 seasons, K-State is 47-31 (.603) in games decided by five points of less, including a 5-2 mark this season.
– K-State pocketed 15 steals on Saturday. This was K-State’s 12th game this season with 10 or more steals.
– The Wildcats tallied a 40-38 advantage in points in the paint. This was K-State’s 20th game with 30 or more points in the paint.

– Maupin reached double figures for the third time this season and the ninth time in her career.
– Maupin pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds on Saturday. This was her third career game with 10 or more rebounds. This was her 11th career game and her third this season with five or more rebounds.
– Maupin’s three steals on Saturday tied her career-high and marked her sixth career game with two or more steals.
– Gregory registered her 81st career game, her 40th at K-State and her 11th this season with 10 or more points.
– Gregory hauled in seven rebounds on Saturday. This was her 54th career game and her ninth this season with five or more rebounds.
– Walker carded her 11th career game with 10 or more points.
– Walker hauled in five or more rebounds for the ninth time in her career.
– Walker’s two steals marked her eighth game of her career with two or more steals.
– Sundell notched her 64th career game with 10 or more points, including her 19th this season. Sundell owns 1,162 career points and is 30th on the K-State career scoring list.
– Sundell’s five assists improved her career total to 499. This marked her 60th career game and the 18th this season with five or more assists.
– Jaelyn Glenn pocketed a career-high seven steals on Saturday. This was her ninth career game with five or more steals and moves her into second in program history for career games with five or more steals. This was her 52nd career game with two or more steals.

K-State Head Coach Jeff Mittie

Opening statement…
“Well, we’re finding ways to win, and I think that’s really important for this team. I think it’s important that we understand that that’s not easy to do, and finding a way is pretty good. There’s a lot we can do better, we know that. There’s a lot that you can dissect as a coach, but at the end of the day, it’s a heck of a play by Zy (Zyanna Walker) to Serena (Sundell) to Jae (Jaelyn Glenn) with no timeouts to get that done. That’s a heads-up play, that’s a really good play to take advantage, because in our game, because you can advance it, most times people have timeouts and take timeouts, so give Central Florida credit for doing it to us with no timeouts, and then we answered. So, a good play by us, and we’re fortunate to walk out of here with a victory.”

On Eliza Maupin’s performance…
“Yeah, we’re thin there, there’s no doubt, and we weren’t playing very well. I think we’ve got a little mental fatigue as a group right now. Our focus is not where it needs to be, but Eliza gave us a boost in that stretch, and we certainly needed it.”

On the team’s lack of focus during the last few games…
“I think it’s just the season in general. You just go through a stretch where you have some mental fatigue. I think sometimes it can be other things, it can be class. But I think it’s all bundled up in there and every team goes through it, and we seem to be in it. Then you have a double overtime game where you fight like crazy, and you’ve got an opportunistic Central Florida team that has really played well in the last six games in the Big 12. So, we knew that this was going to be a really tough basketball game, with or without (Ayoka) Lee and Imani (Lester), and then that made us thin. So, we’ve got to play some zone, or I at least felt like we needed to get some zone in, and we were able to do that. Offensively, we were just 0-11 from three (in the first half). So that can be a little bit of fatigue as well.”

On the difference in the team’s play between the first quarter and the second quarter…
“I think defensively we were quicker. We were getting a lot of turnovers in that stretch. Offensively, I thought we were more aggressive at the rim. I thought Eliza was good in that stretch and really took advantage of some transition buckets, Gabby was aggressive in that stretch, and then defensively they were turning it over. We were getting in some gaps and getting to some areas in the zone that I think was giving them some trouble.”

On if the team has grown during the last few games without Ayoka Lee
“Well, I think we have in some areas. I think it’s been good to get Eliza Maupin in the rotation. I think that’s been a real positive. I thought Zyanna Walker had a good stretch today. We’ve been forced to do some things like zone (defense) that we hadn’t played hardly at all previously. So, I think that can be a plus going forward. But I think we’re kind of, honestly, I thought we were feeling a little sorry for ourselves. You know, when players are out, and you’re not sure if they’re going to be able to play, that can hurt you more than a player that you know is out. I think we were feeling a little sorry for ourselves, that they found out around shootaround time that this is going to be a no go. And I just didn’t think we responded very well to that.”

On Ayoka Lee’s status moving forward…
“Yeah, it’s gonna be day to day. I mean, we didn’t know until 10:30 this morning that some rest would do her some good. I think the one thing is that we’ve got bigger things on the horizon, and we need to have our team as healthy as we can be. And unfortunately, she rolled the other ankle and stepped on somebody’s heel. It was a physical game, but that did not occur on a physical play. It occurred on just a play out by the three-point line, and she just stepped on somebody’s heel, and she continued to play. So, I think it’ll be day-to-day. I just felt like it was better for her not to go today.”

On how the team has been able to persevere without Ayoka Lee
“It says we’ve got good competitors. This is a competitive group, I watch them on the road play cards and they’re competitive, when they come over to my house, they are competitive at charades, you know, stupid stuff. But I think we need to be a more physical team. I do think we’re a tough-minded team. But there’s a part today that I didn’t think we were as physical. But when you’re tough-minded and competitive, I think it allows you to win close games. The fact that we’ve been able to do it without Lee, we’re having to find different people to go to in critical stretches. That can make us good, like I ran a play for (Eliza) Maupin, and I’ll have to look at it on film, but they called a travel on it, but to me it looked like that was gonna be a hell of a play. And she got the spin, and I thought it was gonna play, but maybe they got it right. Maybe the pickup was early or whatever. But we ran plays for Gabby, ran a couple for Jae (Jaelyn Glenn), ran a couple for Zy (Zyanna Walker). So, we’re getting more people to experience making tough plays in tough situations. Now we gotta knock some free throws down. We were missing some free throws in critical stretches. We gotta address that, they’ve got to step to that line with more confidence, and some of that I think is fatigue related as well, because they’ve certainly made them in the past in their career. Serena has made big free throws throughout her entire career. But I think 5-2 without (Ayoka) Lee is good, and I think the fact that not having Imani (Lester) today as well. Imani was starting to come around, and unfortunately, she just really has been knocked down and I’m hoping that she’s on the upswing now.”

UCF Head Coach Sytia Messer
On Kaitlin Peterson…
“Kaitlin Peterson has been the heartbeat of our team this season. With her ability to score, her ability to defend, the steals that she gets are crucial. So, she’s definitely the heartbeat of our team right now.”

On preparing for Ayoka Lee to play…
“We prepared for her today. We prepared for her because we watched the Iowa State film, but we didn’t see her when she went down in the second. She kept playing. So yeah, we prepared for them doing both. But we thought more that she would play. We did.”

On Ayoka Lee as a player…
“I spent most of my career in the Big 12. I was an assistant at Baylor for eight years. So, I’ve seen bigs, I know bigs, and she’s one of the better bigs I’ve seen in the Big 12, and I think she is good for the league.”

On UCF’s overall ability…
“I told my team we played for 39 minutes and 54 seconds. I’m proud of them for that fight on the road and in this environment. You guys have a great environment to play in front of and we never backed down. But we have to finish the deal. And that’s part of when you’re taking a program and elevating them to the Big 12, because I’ve been in the Big 12 before, I know what it looks like. It’s gonna take a little bit, these losses are tough, right? But I keep telling my players one possession, we’re one possession away from winning five more games, but we got to learn it to seal the deal. I’m proud of the way that they showed their resilience there at the end. We had times where we could have folded in the second quarter. The second quarter was tough for us. I mean, when you look at it, it was a 17 – 6 scoring so that’s where we kind of went down there.”

K-State Senior Guard Gabby Gregory

On assessing a close win today and other types of wins…
“I’d say any game that you win in the Big 12 Conference, it should be celebrated. And I don’t think this UCF team that we played today is the same team that we played the first time. They are playing well right now. I mean, coming off a game of beating Iowa State someone who just beat us, so I don’t think their record reflects the type of basketball team that they are honestly so yeah, I think we didn’t do everything right, but you know games are just gonna be like that. But yeah, I think celebrate any win that you get in this conference because it’s just so tough.”

On the difference of play from quarter to quarter…
“We had different things that we were looking for. We weren’t really hitting our three-pointers. And Coach Mittie kind of just told us, we need to attack the basket. So, we had stretches of time where all we were doing was we were trying to get downhill, we were trying to attack the basket, and not shoot threes. And I think we did a really good job just listening to the gameplan listening to what he told us. And it kind of just got us going, and that carried over on to the defensive side. Especially that second quarter, we just got so many steals very disruptive. And that’s just how we need to play defense for 40 minutes. But we’re doing a lot of good things in spurts. We just have to put it together for a whole game.”

On if the losses and gains of players have affected the team…
“No matter who we have on the team like tonight, we didn’t have Imani (Lester) either. And you know the group of girls that we have going into the game, that’s just what we must do we have to go in and fight. Obviously, it’s tough not having Ayoka out there. There’s no replacing a player like her. So to not have her it’s really tough to get her back for a game and then lose her again. It does suck. It sucks, but we just have to keep going and just keep winning and hope that she can come back and join us and just get her healthy. That’s really all we’re focused on is just get everybody healthy Imani, Ayoka and then, you know towards the end of season we can be at full health and as strong as ever.”

K-State Junior Guard Jaelyn Glenn
On the team’s confidence level…
“I feel like our confidence goes up with every game, just being able to put the pieces together. And I feel like I say this in every interview, but we talk about every day the standard that we want to play to. So I feel like, win or lose, if we feel like we played to the standard that we talk about every day then that brings up our confidence. I feel like we could have been better in some areas, but I feel like we were close, not all the way there. So just improving in the little areas that we need to.”

Sophomore Forward Eliza Maupin
On what allowed her to be successful today…
“I just knew we were down a player obviously, that’s an opportunity for me to step up and our whole team to step up and take that to the next level. And thats what I did tonight.”

K-State concludes a two-game home stand on Wednesday, as the Wildcats host (24/23) West Virginia on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. For tickets, call (800) 221-CATS, visit kstatesports.com/tickets or stop by the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at Bramlage.

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 will also be available on SiriusXM channels 137 or 199 and on the SiriusXM app.