For the sixth time in program history, Kansas State women’s basketball hosted an opening round game of the Postseason WNIT in Bramlage Coliseum and for the sixth time the Wildcats advanced to the second round, as K-State defeated Saint Louis, 75-61, on Thursday night.
Kansas State will face Utah on Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets for K-State’s second round matchup with Utah are available now, by calling the K-State Ticket Office at (800) 221-CATS, visiting www.kstatesports.com/tickets or by stopping by the K-State Athletic Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum.
Tickets are priced at $15 for chair backs, $10 for adult general admission and $5 for youth and senior citizens. All K-State students will receive free entry by showing a valid K-State ID at the door.
Kansas State (17-15) was led on Thursday by the trio of Peyton Williams, Rachel Ranke and Kayla Goth. Williams finished with a game-high 21 points and pulled in eight rebounds. This was her 15th game this season with 15 or more points and five or more rebounds.
Ranke recorded her first career double-double with 17 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. With her three 3-pointers against the Billikens, Ranke has 88 for the season and is tied for seventh in program history.
Goth carded 19 points and six assists for her 18th game this season with 15 or more points and five or more assists. With her 19 points, Goth has now scored 545 for the season and ranks third in program history for points by a Wildcat in a junior season.
Senior Shaelyn Martin returned to the lineup to finish with eight points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Saint Louis (17-16) was paced by Maddison Gits with 14 points while Jenny Vliet chipped in with 13 points.
After a sluggish first quarter by both teams, Kansas State held a 12-10 lead. Goth would beat the end of quarter buzzer with a jumper to give the Wildcats the two-point edge. K-State shot 4-14 from the field in the opening frame, while Saint Louis was held to a 5-of-13 effort.
In the second quarter, K-State turned up the offense by racing out to 12 quick points to force a Billikens timeout as the Wildcats held a 24-16 lead with 6:58 remaining in the second frame. Goth capped the opened the run with a layup and capped the effort with a three-pointer to force the timeout.
After the timeout, Saint Louis narrowed the game to three, 24-21, with 6:01 to play. K-State then found Williams on the next three offensive possessions, as she tallied six points to give K-State a 30-23 lead.
Saint Louis would close to within three twice before the end of the half, but three free throws from Goth and Martin sent K-State into halftime with a 38-32 lead. K-State outscored Saint Louis, 26-22, in the second quarter as the Wildcats shot 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from the field.
After the teams traded baskets to open the third quarter, a baseline cut by Ranke resulted in a layup that started a 2-2 run. At the end of the run, Ranke chased down a loose ball. After gaining control away from a Billiken, Ranke remained on her backside and found a cutting Williams who finished a layup and forced a Saint Louis timeout with K-State leading, 48-38, with 6:29 to play in the third.
Ranke then scored K-State’s next five points, knocking down a 3-pointer in transition then finishing a layup to increase K-State’s lead to 53-38 with 4:59 to play in the quarter.
The Billikens ended the third quarter on an 11-4 run to bring the game to within eight, 57-49. K-State went cold from the field over the final 4:24 of the quarter, shooting 1-of-10 from the floor to close the third.
In the final frame, K-State used an 8-0 run to increase its lead to 16, 65-49, with 5:58 remaining. The Wildcats held the Billikens without a field goal for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to construct the advantage.
After five quick points from Saint Louis, K-State put the game away with a 7-0 run as Williams converted a layup and a jumper during the run to give K-State its largest lead of the night at 18, 72-54, with 2:54 remaining.
For the night, Kansas State shot 40.0 percent from the field (26-of-65) but held a 16-0 edge in second chance points. K-State outrebounded Saint Louis, 42-28, which was its largest rebounding margin since Dec. 18, 2017, against Chicago State when K-State held a +23 edge on the boards.