Last night at Bramlage the Panthers made the return visit, and once again the Wildcats held the short end of the stick as they fell 72-71 after Kayla Goth — the clear MVP of the team thus far this season -- shockingly missed a pair of free throws in the final second.
That’s going to leave a mark. It was a horrible way for the game to end for Goth, who once again led all scorers with 26 points, including the final 11 K-State points of the first half. Goth also had five of K-State’s 11 assists on the night. Peyton Williams chipped in 21 points along with six rebounds.
Ironically, free throw shooting helped keep the Wildcats in the game. An abysmal 4-17 effort from beyond the arc saw K-State (8-3, 0-0 Big 12) trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half, but the Cats had gone 17-21 from the stripe before Goth’s pair of misses ended the game.
Kennedy Kirkpatrick led the way for the Panthers (4-7, 0-0 Valley) with 24 points; Mikaela Morgan had 18 and Ellie Howell had 11 to go with eight rebounds.
Things aren’t going to get any easier going forward. The ladies return to action at Bramlage next Thursday as they’ll open Big 12 play against sixth-ranked Baylor Bears.
In other basketball news, the eligible candidates for the 2018 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame have been announced, and there are a few nominees with Wildcat ties — three obvious and one subtle. Bob Huggins finds his name under consideration for the first time, while Cotton Fitzsimmons and Gene Keady are also on the ballot as a holdover. Villanova legend Rollie Massimino, who passed away in August and is the grandfather of K-State golfer Roland Massimino, has also been nominated.
Big name NBA players on the ballot for the first time include Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Grant Hill, Chauncey Billups, and Rip Hamilton. Becky Hammon and Katie Smith headline the list of women on the ballot, and Kim Mulkey returns in both the player and coach categories; Steve Fisher and Lefty Driesell join Massimino and the Wildcat trio on the list of eligible coaches.
The list this year is massive, largely due to a rule change which was suddenly announced earlier in the week: players are now eligible three years after retirement rather than five.
The team is now in Arizona, reports Corbin McGuire for Sports Extra, and Bill Snyder addressed Josh Rosen as well as K-State’s experiences in the Grand Canyon State during the Cactus Bowl’s opening press conference.
From Ken Corbitt: While K-State is dealing with distractions that won’t matter until Wednesday, UCLA Bruins are facing some which directly affect Tuesday night’s Cactus Bowl. The two chief culprits: the coaching change, and the fact that Josh Rosen still hasn’t been cleared for contact (much less actual play) after a November 24 concussion.
Tim Griffin at DieHards reports on the swirling rumors and conflicting messages coming from Winston Dimel and Bill Snyder.
Elliott Lapin at the Houston Chronicle checks in on John Holcombe, who signed with the Cats on Wednesday.