MANHATTAN - The Kansas State women's basketball team tried everything in their might to catch No. 15/16 Oklahoma State in a trap game at Bramlage Coliseum, but the Cowgirls took advantage of several key second half turnovers to come away on top 58-51.
"This is a disappointing loss but an improvement from our basketball team," said K-State head coach Deb Patterson. "To an extent I am really pleased with the growth that I saw from us competitively."
"We went through a segment where we got sloppy and got a little indecisive and when we got that way it leads to turnovers that make you scratch your head. You can see it coming. I liked that we recovered from it, but we recovered too late and unfortunately for us they ended up with 13 points off of turnovers and that can be a game changer in a tight basketball game"
Much of the first half of K-State women's basketball was a feeling out process for what they could get accomplished against Oklahoma State (13-1, 2-1 Big 12). The Wildcats played aggressive defensively forcing seven turnovers that they converted to five points. The Cowgirls inside presence of Kendra Suttles finished the game with 11 points but the Wildcats found ways to push her away from the basket and hold the senior from Lawton, Okla. scoreless in the first half and outscored OSU 16-12 in the paint.
"Coach Patterson always has her teams so well prepared defensively that it is no mystery why she has won so many games here," said OSU coach Jim Littell. "I thought they did a great job defensively and kept us out of sync on some things"
After a 27-23 lead at the half by Oklahoma State, the Wildcats started the second half on fire with an 8-0 run after threes by Haley Texada and Woods as well as a layup by Katya Leick to put the Wildcats up 31-27 with 16:45 left in the game. The threes by Leick and Texada were two of the four K-State would hit on the night, as the Wildcats would finish just four of 23 from behind the arc.
"We have been working hard at practice and we talked about it at half time about coming out hard in the second half," said senior forward Chantay Caron. "We just have to work a little bit harder and not have as many turnovers in the second half, and we will be there."
Those turnovers would be part of the momentum shift at the 14:23 mark of the second half when Leticia Romero picked up her third foul and went to the bench. Up to that point Romero had been keeping OSU on their heels with dribble penetration and the ability to move the ball quickly in the offense. Oklahoma State countered the Romero exit from the game with a 15-2 run and never allowed K-State (6-7, 0-2 Big12) closer than seven points despite a few opportunities inside the final ninety seconds for the Wildcats to draw the game closer.
"I think part of it with Oklahoma State is the longer that you struggle offensively, the more you have some empty possessions and the more you have turnovers in the second half and that led to them gaining confidence," said Patterson. "Turnovers lead to a lot of pressure on your defense"
Ashia Woods was the only Wildcat in double figures on the night with 17 points while Katya Leick and Leticia Romero added eight points.
Romero and Leick led the Wildcats on the boards with six rebounds each.
K-State will travel to Norman to take on Oklahoma Saturday. The Sooners (10-6, 1-2 Big 12) lost to Texas 79-74 in overtime despite leading by 12 at halftime. The Wildcats will face the task of getting their first victory over OU since January 31, 2004.