RALEIGH, North Carolina (Kansas State Sports Information) – K-State hung close for three quarters against (5/4) North Carolina State on Friday night in the 2021 Preseason WNIT at Reynolds Coliseum, but the Wolfpack halted the Wildcats’ upset bid with a 90-69 win.
“I really think that you don’t like walking out of here like this, but as I told them in the locker room, I believe NC State had to play really well to beat us,” said K-State head coach Jeff Mittie. “And they knew they were in a fight and give them credit for raising up and playing well. We give our young players credit for not coming in here and being intimidated about the atmosphere. And if we can build off of this game, this will be a real positive force, no doubt about it.”
K-State (4-1) played the Wolfpack to a 19-19 draw after the first 10 minutes. Ayoka Lee opened the game with six points and two blocks. Brylee Glenn came off the bench to add five points.
Lee finished the night with her third straight double-double, as she carded 19 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and a steal. This was Lee’s 10th career game with a double-double and five or more blocks.
The highlight of the first quarter came from K-State’s Jada Moore. The Wildcats held possession for the final shot of the quarter with 25 seconds remaining. As Cymone Goodrich started to initiate the offense, she was pressured into scramble mode and found Moore with time winding down.
Moore collected the ball and launched her buzzer beater from 35 feet and banked in her attempt to tie the game at 19.
After the Wildcats took a 21-19 lead on a pair of Serena Sundell free throws early in the second quarter, N.C. State (4-1) used a 10-3 run to build a 29-24 advantage with 6:58 remaining. K-State fought back to within two, 31-29, as Lee connected on a layup and Sundell knocked down her second 3-pointer of the quarter.
Sundell ended the night with a team-high 21 points which included a 5-of-11 effort from beyond the arc, while also dishing out six assists. The freshman from Maryville, Missouri, is averaging 6.0 assists after five games this season. Mittie was pleased by the play of his young backcourt.
“In a fast-paced game, I thought she (Sundell) played fantastic. I thought she ran the team well and had a good connection with everybody. Executed the plays well, but also didn’t stop playing.”
The Wolfpack locked down K-State for a three-minute stretch and went on a 9-0 run to build a 40-29 lead with 1:10 remaining in the opening half. K-State’s Jaelyn Glenn ended the drought with a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock and bring the Wildcats to within eight, 40-32.
NC State converted on its final possession of the half, as Kayla Jones knocked down a jumper with seconds to play for the 42-32 halftime edge. K-State shot 44.4 percent (12-of-27) from the field in the first half, including 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from beyond the arc. NC State shot 64.0 percent (16-of-25) from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
K-State pulled to within five, 47-42, with 6:38 to play in the third quarter, as Jaelyn Glenn and Sundell hit 3-pointers on consecutive Wildcat possessions. NC State answered with a 7-0 run to increase its lead to 54-42 with 4:57 remaining and force a K-State timeout.
The Wildcats were able to cut into the deficit and pull within eight, 56-48, with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter. Lee converted a jumper, while Brylee Glenn finished a layup in transition. A floater and a 3-pointer by the Wolfpack gave them a 61-50 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
NC State dashed out to begin the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run and hold a 72-52 lead with 6:40 remaining. K-State was able to pull back to with 17, 74-57, with 6:08 remaining in the game after Sundell made her fifth 3-pointer of the night.
The Wolfpack kept K-State from closing the margin in the final six minutes, as Diamond Johnson finished a jumper and buried a 3-pointer to pace the NC State attack in the final minutes.
NC State featured four in double figures, led by Elissa Cunane with 18 points and six rebounds, while Johnson added 13.
K-State shot 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from the field, including a season-high 10-of-22 (.455) from beyond the arc. NC State finished the night at 54.8 percent (34-of-62) and were also 10-of-22 from 3-point range.
The Wildcats begin a three-game home stand on Tuesday, November 23, as the Wildcats host Abilene Christian at 6:30 p.m.