Breanna Lewis scored 23 points, Kindred Wesemann added 16 and Kansas State used great team defense to defeat Drake, 67-54, in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday afternoon.
Entering the contest, 10-seed Drake was averaging 83 points per game and had won 22 straight games. But the 7-seed Wildcats frustrated the Bulldogs with their physicality, especially Lewis in the paint.
“I thought our defense was outstanding,” K-State coach Jeff Mittie said. “Our awareness was very good.”
Drake (28-5) jumped out to an early 6-2 lead, but K-State led the rest of the way. The Wildcats kept their foe from the Missouri Valley Conference at arm’s length for most of the game before stretching out the advantage down the stretch.
In addition to Lewis and Wesemann’s contributions, Karyla Middlebrook scored 8 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out seven assists.
“I’m proud of our effort today and how hard we’ve worked to get to this point,” Mittie said. “They’ve learned to prepare and they have an appreciation for playing the game the right way.”
Lizzy Wendell scored 17 points to lead Drake.
Mittie said the crowd, which was predictably large given that K-State is hosting the first two rounds at Bramlage Coliseum, played a big role.
“Our crowd was energized, and part of that was how energetic the Drake fans were,” he said. “It was a good atmosphere. Everyone was treated to a good NCAA Tournament game.”
K-State (23-10) will face 2-seed Stanford on Monday for a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.