MANHATTAN, Kansas – With a combined 50 points and the first career double-double from Sarah Shematsi, K-State captured its Big 12 home opener with an 86-72 win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday night in Bramlage Coliseum.
K-State (12-3, 1-1 Big 12) secured its ninth straight home win of the season. With the victory, the Wildcats tied its longest home court winning streak in the Jeff Mittie era, which occurred twice before in the 2014-15 and the 2021-22 seasons.
Shematsi, a graduate transfer forward from Annecy, France, recorded a career-high 25 points on a career-high 10-of-24 shooting, including a 4-of-8 effort from beyond the arc, and pulled in a career-high 11 rebounds to lead the Wildcats.
The Big 12’s leading scorer, Gregory made her return from a one-game absence due to injury a successful one as she poured in 25 points and dished four assists. The senior guard from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has scored 25 or more points in a game five times this season.
This marks the second time this season and the 35th time since the 1986-87 season in which a K-State duo combined for 50 or more points in the same game, as Gregory and Jaelyn Glenn scored a combined 58 points against Northern Arizona during the Paradise Jam on November 25.
Joining Shematsi and Gregory in double figures were sophomore guards Serena Sundell and Jaelyn Glenn. Sundell narrowly missed a triple-double as she tallied 14 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot.
Glenn chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
Oklahoma State (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) also had four in double digits and were led by Naomie Alnatas with 19 points and Lexy Keys with 17.
HOW IT HAPPENED
– Despite trailing by nine, 9-0, in the opening minute and a half, K-State battled back to tie the game at 21 to end the first quarter.
– The Wildcats clawed back into the game with a 10-2 run midway through the first quarter. Gregory started the rally with a layup and was followed by consecutive three-pointers from Shematsi and Sundell. Gregory capped the run with a pair of free throws with 2:59 remaining in the frame to bring K-State to within one, 15-14.
– Jaelyn Glenn recorded five of her seven first quarter points with a 3-pointer and a driving layup with 1:17 to play. Gregory then beat the end of quarter buzzer with a layup to square the game at 21.
– Shematsi hit three-pointers on consecutive Wildcat possessions to begin the second quarter and push K-State into a 27-23 lead with 7:54 remaining.
– Shematsi would finish an old-fashioned three-point play to begin a 9-0 K-State run and force an Oklahoma State timeout with 3:40 remaining in the second frame and the Wildcats leading 40-32.
– Sundell would end the scoring in the first half with a contested layup and free throw of her own with 45 seconds left to send K-State into the locker room with a 47-40 lead. The 47 first half points were the second-most points K-State has scored in an opening half this season and the most since registering a season-high 54 against Utah Tech on November 20.
– In a fast-paced third quarter, K-State opened the stanza with a 7-0 run to build a 54-43 advantage with 8:01 remaining following a steal and layup by Brylee Glenn.
– The Cowgirls would pull to within four points, 62-58, after a pair of free throws by Lexy Keys with 1:17 remaining. Shematsi would give the Wildcats a six-point lead entering the fourth quarter, 64-58, as she finished a putback on an offensive rebound with a minute remaining.
– K-State would go in front by eight, 68-60, following a Sundell jumper in the lane with 9:24 remaining in the final quarter.
– Oklahoma State closed to within two, 68-66, with 6:47 left in the fourth stanza following a layup by Taylen Collins to force a K-State timeout.
– A Shematsi jumper following the K-State timeout was quickly answered with a Claire Chastain jumper with 5:51 remaining. This would be the final time the Cowgirls would be within two points, as the Wildcats generated an 15-4 run to close the game.
– Shematsi connected on her fourth and final 3-pointer of the night with 3:29 remaining to start the run. Gregory then followed with a contested layup at 2:56 to give the Wildcats a 75-68 lead.
– After a Keys layup with 2:41, Gregory buried 3-pointers on back-to-back K-State possessions to give the Wildcats an 81-70 lead with 1:39 to play.
– K-State ended the night shooting 47.9 percent (34-of-71) from the field, including 36.0 percent (9-of-25) from 3-point range. The Wildcats recorded two quarters (second and fourth) with
– K-State leads the series with Oklahoma State, 42-36, and has won seven of the last 10 meetings in the series.
– The Wildcats are 18-9 in Big 12 home openers.
– K-State is 9-0 this season in home games. The Wildcats are 23-3 over the last two seasons in games played in Bramlage Coliseum.
– Kansas State owns a 251-186 record in the month of January including a 31-34 mark in the Mittie era.
– Wednesday’s starting five were Sarah Shematsi, Jaelyn Glenn, Serena Sundell, Brylee Glenn and Gabby Gregory. This was the fourth time this group started a game together this season (3-1).
– K-State held a 47-40 lead at halftime on Wednesday. The Wildcats are 9-0 this season when leading at halftime. During head coach Jeff Mittie‘s tenure, K-State is 123-16 (.885) when leading at halftime. The 47 points marked the eighth time this season K-State has scored 40 or more points in the opening half.
– K-State has tallied 70 or more points in a game 12 times this season (11-1).
– The 34 made field goals by the Wildcats were the most made field goals this season and the highest total since making 37 against Abilene Christian on November 23, 2021.
– Gregory tallied her 54th career game in double figures for points and her 13th at K-State. She secured her Big 12 leading 10th game with 20 or more points this season and the 18th in her career.
– Shematsi notched her second game with 10 or more points this season and the fourth of her career.
– Shematsi was 4-of-8 from 3-point range, the eighth time in her career she has made two or more 3-pointers in a game and the second time at K-State. She has made four or more 3-pointers in a game four times in her career including twice this season.
– Shematsi’s 11 rebounds were a career-high. This was her second game this season and the fourth of her career with five or more rebounds. The 11 rebounds are tied for a season-high by a Wildcat this season, joining Sundell’s 11 against UTRGV on November 18.
– Sundell recorded her ninth game of the season and the 28th of her career with 10 or more points.
– Her 10 assists were a season-high and marked the third time in her career with 10 or more assists.
– Sundell dished out five or more assists for the 29th time in her career. With her 10 assists on Wednesday, Sundell improved her career total to 253 and moved into 20th on the K-State career assists list. She is the 20th player in school history with 250 or more assists in their career.
– Jaelyn Glenn recorded her 17th career game and her 10th this season with 10 or more points.
FROM THE HEAD COACH
K-State Head Coach Jeff Mittie
“Well, real proud of our group. I thought we really played with a good aggressive pace. We wanted to get the tempo going and we were able to do that. I thought Serena [Sundell] had a good pace to her. I thought Sarah [Shematsi] was huge, knocking down some big shots. I thought we played better as the game went on. We had stretches where I think both teams were fatigued out there and both teams were taken advantage of that, but Sarah was huge all the way around. Inside, outside she moved herself around very well and her teammates did a great job of getting the ball in those spots. So, good win for us. Good bounce back win for us. And yeah, it feels really good after how poorly we played on Saturday.”
On how the team responded in practice after Saturday’s loss…
“Solid but I think, yeah, we were all just disappointed. But I thought we were solid in practice. I have had no qualms with how we’ve practiced, I really like this team in practice. They might not always feel that way that I do, but for the most part I do. And I do tell them all the time because they really do practice pretty consistent. I think their sense of urgency at times needs improved. And what I saw early in this game tonight is we were still kind of in a lull of not understanding that we needed to be the aggressor and we talked about it but you got to do it. You can just talk about it.”
On multiple players scoring in double figures…
“Thought we hit big shots, I thought we made big shots tonight. Particularly when the game got to two points. I thought one of the plays of the game was [Emilee] Ebert’s drive off the window and it’s her only bucket of the game. But that was a big play coming out of the timeout. We had ran a couple of different options and that was kind of the third option of it if things didn’t work. Oklahoma State guarded the first two options very well and she made a really aggressive move but then you look at Sarah [Shematsi] knocks a big three down, Serena [Sundell] finds her for that three, Gabby [Gregory] knocks a big one down. Yeah, I mean, this was a game of you had to make plays, had to make plays.”
On if getting Sarah Shemasti that many shot attempts was a part of the gameplan…
“No, not at all but I think one of the things we wanted to do was we did want to get her some looks around that top of the key area and we moved her around a little bit differently. But really, that’s just a credit to her and her teammates because a lot of the shots she got was just them playing together. There wasn’t a ton of set plays called in this game. Now we have set actions that we’re looking for, but no it’s a credit to her and a credit to her teammates. She just had a good aggressive mentality and you know, I think her overall game tonight…we know Sarah we recruited Sarah out of South Plains. She is a heck of a player, she said no to us the first time so I would have liked to have her for longer, but I’m thankful she’s here. And you go back to her junior college, she put up big numbers. And I think she’s starting to just even get more comfortable with just her role here and it just takes time. I really liked her defense tonight and the second half. It’s an area that got a lot better. First half I didn’t like it so much. Second half, I thought it was much, much better. And one of the things that I would say about her game that goes unnoticed is their leading offensive rebounder gets zero tonight and it’s been a big emphasis for us to make sure we do that. And so I think just her overall game, it’s a heck of a performance by her.”
JACIE HOYT, OKLAHOMA STATE HEAD COACH
“Yeah, I mean we are growing up right now. We’ve got a lot of learning to do and I think our team is figuring out what the Big 12 is all about and this game was another indicator of that. So we’ve got to figure that out and we’ve got to figure it out quick. We’ve got to finish games better, obviously. And just know what it takes to win in this conference.”
On K-State retaking after an early lead.…
“Well I think they responded like good teams do. I didn’t really feel like it was anything that they did or we didn’t do just as much as a good response from a good team. Our emphasis was to start really aggressive and fast and we did that. Then, I think after K-State woke up, we just got who they are. ”
On Sarah Shematsi’s performance…
“No I mean, we knew what she was capable of and had done early. She has not shot that well recently, but she definitely made us pay.”
On returning to K-State…
“Well, it’s awesome. I mean, I love this place. You know, Manhattan and K-State have a really special place in my heart. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without my time here and the things I got to learn under Coach Mittie. So it was really good to be back.”
FROM THE FLOOR
SARAH SHEMATSI, SENIOR FORWARD
On if she came into the game planning to take 24 shot attempts…
“No honestly, I just went into this game with the mentality of wanting to win.”
SERENA SUNDELL, SOPHOMORE GUARD
On how the team improved offensively…
“Yeah, I think we were all obviously disappointed in Saturday’s game and we knew that we could play better than what we showed. So I think we did a good job of taking coach’s message right in the locker room after the game on Saturday was just to flush that one and know that we can play better as a group and we all knew that. We wanted to come in here and we were hungry for a win, we wanted to prove that we can compete against anyone across the floor.”
K-State completes its two-game home stand on Saturday, as the Wildcats host West Virginia at 1 p.m. Saturday’s game is K-State’s annual Dollar Day, as all general admission tickets and select concessions are just $1. Saturday’s game will also feature a halftime performance by Rolla Bolla, a gravity-defying daredevil extreme rolla bolla act that has performed on America’s Got Talent, is thrilling to watch and impossible to look away from. For tickets, visit kstatesports.com/tickets or call (800) 221-CATS.
Saturday’s game will also air on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the K-State Sports Network.