‘Tis the season for giving…and Abilene Christian (7-3) was definitely in a charitable mood on Monday night. Kansas State (9-1) was the beneficiary in a 68-53 victory as the visitors gave up 24 steals in front of 3834 fans.
With both teams wearing purple and calling themselves the “Wildcats”, ACU’s generosity could be understood.
Head Coach Jeff Mittie pointed at K-State’s defensive pressure as the reason for the turnovers. “That’s a team that’s pretty good at taking care of the basketball”, he said. “I thought our defense was really swarming”.
Breanna Lewis led K-State scorers with 16 points…10 in the first frame. Bri Craig added 9 and Haley Texada, fighting an illness, dropped 8 more. That was impressive to Mittie. “It probably doesn’t hurt too bad sitting here, but you get out there on the court…we had to use her in short spurts”.
Both Wildcat teams shook off a sluggish start, with the first points coming on a Texada steal and layup. K-State then went on a 7-2 run to push the lead to 10 midway through the first half. They continued to build their advantage for the remainder of the period, and went to the locker room up 42-27.
The slow start was forgotten after the intermission, as K-State held ACU scoreless for the first 7:45. With just over seven minutes to go, Kansas State led by 25…but their opponent wouldn’t go quietly. They chipped away at the lead, cutting it to 13 with just over two minutes remaining, but Erica Young rejected a shot with authority and K-State shut the door for the win.
Mittie’s team came in leading the country in scoring defense at 45.6 ppg, and after giving up only 53 that ranking shouldn’t change much. Whitney West, a 5-7 guard, led all scorers with 19…but Abilene Christian never led in the contest.
Bri Craig left the game late after appearing to take a knee to the thigh, but Mittie thought she’d be okay. Kansas State is off for the holiday…they’ll return to action on December 30th when they host Samford. Conference play opens up the following Saturday with a trip to Iowa State.