IOWA CITY, Iowa – With a 12-0 run in the final three minutes, K-State upset (2/2) Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday night, 65-58. This was K-State’s second win over a top-5 ranked Iowa squad, as the Wildcats downed the fourth-ranked Hawkeyes in Manhattan last season.
With the win, K-State registered its second-ever win over an Associated Press second-ranked team as the Wildcats defeated Old Dominion in Manhattan on December 4, 1982.
HOW IT HAPPENED
– Trailing by five points following a free throw from the Hawkeyes with 2:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, K-State (3-0) started its rally with a layup from Gabby Gregory. After a defensive stop, Ayoka Lee finished a layup in traffic with 1:40 remaining.
– Lee was then fouled on her next attempt and buried her two free throws to give the Wildcats a 59-58 lead with 1:12 left. Lee ended the night with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots.
– Another defensive stop by K-State resulted in a Gregory free throw line jumper with 30 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 61-58 lead.
– After an Iowa (3-1) missed 3-pointer, freshman Taryn Sides hauled in the rebound and was fouled with nine seconds to play. She calmly made two free throws to send the game to a two-possession margin, 63-58. A long rebound and fastbreak layup by redshirt freshman Zyanna Walker was the icing on the cake for the Wildcats. Walker notched 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, while Sides carded eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
– Defensively, K-State held Iowa to 36.1 percent (22-of-61) shooting including 2-of-21 (.095) from 3-point range. The Hawkeyes were led by 2023 National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark with 24 points on 9-of-32 shooting.
– K-State is 6-1 in the series against Iowa. The Wildcats are 75-60 against current members of the Big Ten Conference.
– The Wildcats are 288-321 all-time in road games. K-State is 39-64 in road contests in the Jeff Mittie era.
– K-State head coach Jeff Mittie owns a career record of 621-362 (.632) and is 167-127 (.568) during his 10-seasons at K-State.
– The Wildcats are 88-238 against Associated Press top-25 opponents, including a 2-10 mark against teams ranked second in the poll. K-State has defeated an AP top-10 foe in three straight seasons.
– K-State’s starting five consisted of guards: Jaelyn Glenn, Serena Sundell, Brylee Glenn, Gabby Gregory and center Ayoka Lee. This was the third time this starting five has been used this season. This was the 90th career start for Lee, the 81st collegiate career start and the 35th start at K-State for Gregory, the 72nd career start for Sundell, the 68th career start for Jaelyn Glenn and the 62nd career start for Brylee Glenn.
– K-State held Iowa to 58 points, 34 points below their season average entering play on Thursday. The 58 points were the fewest Iowa has scored during Clark’s 103 career games with the Hawkeyes.
– With her double-double on Thursday, Lee registered the 51st of her career. This was Lee’s 26th career double-double with 20 or more points and 10 or more rebounds.
– With her 22 points on Thursday, Lee tallied her 39th career game with 20 or more points. This was Lee’s 82nd career game with 10 or more points.
– With her 12 rebounds on Thursday, Lee moved into fifth in K-State women’s basketball history with 916 career rebounds passing Shalee Lehning (2005-09; 914).
– Redshirt freshman Zyanna Walker carded her third career double figure scoring game with 12 points. Walker has made five or more field goals in a game twice this season.
FROM THE HEAD COACH
K-State Head Coach Jeff Mittie
“I think you know, hard fought game, not a very clean game. Offensively, both teams struggled. I think both teams had a lot to do with that. It was a really gutty performance by our group. Really proud of them. We had some players really step up that didn’t necessarily have great nights but made big shots late. Gabby Gregory, you know has gotten off to a rough start this year, but boy, you just trust her. She’s a competitor. Wants the ball in her hands. Most players that shoot an air ball that misses by about six feet don’t have the confidence to shoot the next one but by gosh Gabby does and big turnaround in the middle and then Taryn Sides. Our young one from Phillipsburg, Kansas makes two big free throws so just a lot of tough plays down the stretch.”
On defensive stops…
“It’s an interesting question I think we did because at one point we had five but I don’t know what the final numbers were. But the way we finished the game, I’d be surprised if we didn’t you know I will say this. We were able to keep them from getting the easy run out. Stuelke didn’t get the easy ones. Marshall had such a great game on Sunday where she got a lot of threes in transition. We wanted to try to make that as hard as we could on them and that’s easier said than done, but you know, we talk a lot about shot recognition. And I think for the most part, our team was pretty sound in that.”
On finishing the game strong…
“That’s a good question. I think you know what, I talked to them with three minutes to go, we were down and I said you know, we made a great push in Manhattan last year. Let’s finish this game the same way but it’s got to start with a stop down here at this end. Gabby made two tough plays. I think we got one or two from Yokie in there on a rebound putback maybe. I don’t know. I think our team is really developing some trust in each other. And we’ve got a big number on this roster that didn’t play last year. So this was a big win for us in a lot of ways because you know Zy Walker only played four games a year ago, Taryn Sides was in high school. Obviously, Gisela Sanchez was out with an injury. Yokie was out with an injury so I knew we were going to learn a lot from our basketball team. What I learned was that we can survive a bad stretch like that and we’ve got enough trust to fight through it and boy that as a coach that’s always good to see.”
On last season to this season in women’s basketball…
“Coming off last year I thought last year was such an exciting year. I’m sure it was pretty exciting around these parts of the country right and so good for women’s basketball but I think you’re just seeing so many great players play this game right now. And we’re probably reaping the benefit a little bit of that COVID extra year where you’ve got some great players that have hung around and veterans and teams that are older and some of that’s been really fun to watch. From our perspective, you know, we had a lot of injuries last year. This is a team that we felt like could be a really good basketball team. And to be a part of it now and to have this opportunity and to do some things in playing well enough to have an opportunity to win at the end and to finish it is pretty special. And it’s really special to watch. You hurt for the players when they’re injured. It’s such a tough thing and we had Sanchez play tonight, who didn’t play in a year. Yokie and you watch them put the work in and you go into the training room with them and you’re watching it and then you watch tonight it’s pretty special to watch and pretty fun and and a great crowd. This is something that’s pretty special. I know the people around here don’t take that for granted. But that’s a great crowd. That’s a great atmosphere. That’s a knowledgeable crowd. So yeah, it was a great game. Not necessarily a well played game, but a great competitive basketball game.”
On slowing Caitlin Clark…
“I don’t know the answer. What I would tell you is that I thought Jaelyn Glenn and Zy Walker had excellent defensive games on her. I thought that when we switched out on her, we were pretty sound with it. Serena got switched out on a little bit. Taryn Sides got switched out on her a little bit. We weren’t going to guard her with one player because we knew that in transition. We were probably going to have to guard her in waves. And we knew that if she got past the first wave. We were going to bring somebody else to get her and peel off and go get somebody else. And that was our game plan going in. It sounds great when it works. But the challenge of that is everybody has to be on point of what we’re doing. So I don’t know if we were good at what we wanted to do. And sometimes with Caitlin it doesn’t matter how good you are, you know, she can still knock shots down. So we were fortunate to do our job and have her covered.”
FROM THE FLOOR
K-State Senior Center Ayoka Lee
On playing with early foul trouble…
“I knew I had to be smart. But that was like a part of our scout too. So I mean, obviously not happy to get the two quick ones. But just kind of staying the course trusting the scout and just being more mindful. And then just communicating well with the guards and, you know, having them try and help me out a little bit more and I think they did great. I think we did good. I stayed in the game, so that’s good.
On holding Iowa to 58 points…
“I think this year, I mean every year, I think we want to take a lot of pride in our defense. So I think it’s coming in with that mentality. We want to get three stops in a row, seven times and narrows the gap. We get that seven times. And that’s like our goal. So I think having that mentality talking, executing well, and just knowing the matchups knowing where everyone’s at on the floor. We knew that this one would be one in transition. We had to have transition D and I think it fell apart sometimes. But we did a good job of picking it back up after it fell apart to get those seven stops.”
On getting this win after missing last season…
“It was definitely a year. It felt like a year. I think just the opportunity to play tonight made it so worth it. And just to pull through with the win with my teammates beyond the score, be able to celebrate with them be able to be in the huddle with them. Be able to talk to them when we’re falling like crazy and be able to talk to them when we’re not scoring. Like I think all those moments just like matter so much. And I mean, I probably don’t know it in the moment. They probably don’t know it in the moment. So much gratitude for like everyone who stuck with me that year. Everyone who went through the workouts with me that year. And yeah, it just means a lot.”
K-State returns to Bramlage Coliseum on Sunday afternoon, as the Wildcats host Wisconsin at 4 p.m. Sunday’s game is Pack the House day. All advance-purchase general admission tickets and select concessions are just $2 each. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free purple light-up stick. Sunday’s game will also feature a halftime performance by Christian and Scooby.
Sunday’s game can be seen live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and can be heard on the K-State Sports Network, on the K-State Sports app and on kstatesports.com.