Led by a game-high 17 points from sophomore guard Rachel Ranke and strong defensive play that held Central Arkansas to single-digits in the second and third quarters, Kansas State expanded their home court win-streak to six games with a 70-54 victory over Central Arkansas at Bramlage Coliseum on Thursday evening.
Kansas State (8-3) held Central Arkansas to single-digits in scoring in consecutive quarters on Thursday night, marking the first time this season the Wildcats have done so. The Wildcats have now held opponents to single-digits in 10 quarters this season, including 9-of-11 games, as the Wildcats held the Sugar Bears to 9 points in the second quarter and 8 points in the third quarter, respectively.
Central Arkansas (5-5) had the hot hand early, scoring the first seven points of the game on 3-of-5 shooting from the field in the first three minutes of play. The Sugar Bears got their first points of the game from junior guard Taylor Sells, who knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
The Wildcats struggled from the floor early on, missing on their first five shots of the game and connecting on just two of their first 11 shots in the opening quarter. The tough start from the field led the Wildcats to draw contact and shoot from the free throw line, where they scored five of their 10 first quarter points. The free throw shooting was a theme for the Wildcats on Thursday, as they matched a season-high 24 free throw attempts.
Despite the slow start, junior forward Jasauen Beard connected on a jumper as time expired in the first stanza, to bring K-State within three, 13-10, at the end of the first quarter. K-State’s 10 first quarter points were the fewest scored by the Wildcats in an opening quarter this season.
K-State found their rhythm in the second quarter, as K-State led for the first time following a jump shot from senior guard Kayla Goth to make the score 16-15 with 7:16 left in the second quarter. Goth finished with six points, six assists, three steals and two blocks.
Later in the second quarter, the Wildcats put together an 8-0 run, led by strong interior defense to solidify a first half lead, as K-State outscored the Sugar Bears 15-9 in the second quarter, which led to K-State holding a 26-22 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Wildcats expanded on their lead by shooting 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers from sophomore guard Rachel Ranke, as K-State exited the third quarter with a 46-30 lead.
Ranke continued her hot shooting into the fourth quarter, as she connected on her fourth 3-pointer of the evening to give K-State a 62-43 lead with 5:07 remaining. Ranke went on to lead all scorers with a season-high 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, with 14 points coming in the second half.
The Wildcats featured three individuals in double-digits, including Ranke (17), senior forward Peyton Williams (12) and Beard (10). Williams’ 12 points marks the 15th straight double-digit scoring effort of the for the product of Topeka, Kansas.
As a unit, K-State shot 44 percent (22-of-50) from the field and 42.1 percent (8-of-19) from beyond the 3-point line. The Wildcats bounced back from a tough first quarter, by closing out the game with a 72.7 percent effort (8-of-11) from the field in the fourth quarter.
Central Arkansas was led by freshman forward Alana Canady, who scored a team-high 14 points on 4-of-12 from the field. The Sugar Bears shot 37.3 percent (19-of-51) as a team.
After a break for the holidays, Kansas State returns to action on Saturday at 1 p.m., as the Wildcats close out their regular season non-conference schedule against Northern Iowa. Saturday’s game is part of a Wildcat Weekend. Fans may purchase a general admission ticket for only $3 when showing their ticket to that evening’s men’s basketball game against George Mason.