(photo credit Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
Leading up to the game, Head Coach Jeff Mittie was certainly aware of the added attention to a game against his former team. And for the most part, his team treated it like any other important Big 12 contest. “I didn’t bring it up”, he said. “I preached to them all year long…control what you can control”.
Brianna Lewis, however, had bigger plans.
The sophomore forward shot a blistering 70% from the field and notched a career-high 28 points, and the Cats led start to finish for a 93-79 victory over TCU on Wednesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
Lewis was a force in the paint, connecting on 12 of 17 shots and snagging a dozen rebounds. Her point total bested the previous high of 22 set just two months ago, and marks the third time in her career that she’s scored more than twenty. Ashia Woods added 21 points, and pocketed three steals. That puts her just five behind Megan Mahoney and 10th place on the Wildcats’ list of all-time steals leaders.
For a team that’s been known for defense this season, the offensive output was a pleasant surprise for Mittie. “I didn’t expect to have 93 points tonight”, said the coach. “But I think we got the right shots to do that”. As a team, the Cats connected on 63.5% of their shots from the floor in setting a season high scoring mark.
As for the Horned Frogs, the result wasn’t surprising. “They really did a solid job in moving the ball, and obviously getting the ball into the paint with Lewis”, said TCU first-year head coach Reagan Peebley (who replaced Mittie last spring in Fort Worth). “Our defense was non-existent”.
K-State got out of the blocks quickly, opening up the game with a 12-6 advantage, with half of those points coming from Lewis. When she checked out at the 12:19 mark, she’d already hit double-digits and the Wildcat lead was seven. Jessica Sheble replaced her and hit two buckets to push the advantage to ten. The Cats used the rest of the opening period to build their cushion, and went to halftime holding a 48-33 lead. Reserve guard Deborah Meeks provided the last points of the half, banking in a jumper at the buzzer.
It was more of the same to start the second half as Lewis, Woods, and Haley Texada fired off a 10-3 run and push the Wildcats out to a 60-37 lead. But if any of the 4,099 in attendance thought the game was over, someone forgot to tell the visitors. Three straight baskets, ending with a three pointer from Zahna Medley, forced Mittie to use a timeout at the 12:25 mark. It was the first time in the game that TCU had scored points in succession. The deficit would later be whittled to twelve, and then to ten as K-State began to get a little careless with the ball. But the Horned Frogs would get no closer than 81-71 with just under two minutes remaining. Bri Craig, Woods, and Lewis all hit clutch free-throws to seal the win.
Kansas State (15-8/5-7) has now won 4 of the last 5, starting with the overtime thriller against Oklahoma State. The Wildcats have split six games with TCU, winning two of three in Manhattan. The Horned Frogs are now 14-9/6-6. With all but one of their remaining games coming against teams from an eight-team pack separated by just two games, the Cats certainly have a favorable schedule to continue their winning ways.
K-State continues the homestand this Sunday afternoon against Texas Tech. Tipoff is set for 1:00pm. Our pregame coverage begins at 12:30pm.