It started out so well.
Even at the end of a sloppy first quarter, the 7-seed Kansas State Wildcats were within five points of the 2-seed Stanford Cardinal. But K-State star Breanna Lewis had just picked up her second foul a minute before the end of the quarter, and that was all the opening Stanford needed.
Stanford went on a 10-0 run with Lewis on the bench, and even when she came back it wasn’t enough to stem the tide. By halftime the deficit was 18, and the Wildcats were never able to get it much closer the rest of the game, falling 69-48 to close their 2016-17 season and finish in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.
It was only K-State’s fourth loss on the season on it’s home court, and Stanford was the lowest ranked of those foes — merely 7th-ranked overall — but K-State just wasn’t enough against another Top 10 foe at home.
Two stats stand out in the loss.
K-State dished only 11 assists to 15 turnovers, while Stanford dished 23 assists to 14 turnovers, and outscored K-State heavily on points off turnovers. The Cardinal big run beginning in the closing seconds of the first quarter was fueled on K-State turnovers, and they kept feeding through most of the second. At halftime alone, 14 of Stanford’s 39 points had come off K-State turnovers.
But the biggest stat was rebounds. Breanna Lewis was held to just four rebounds, and K-State as a whole managed only five offensive rebounds and only 25 as a team. Stanford, meanwhile, pulled down 39 rebounds in the game, and gave themselves plenty of chances at second-chance points with 14 offensive rebounds.
The teams were also juxtaposed shooting the ball, with K-State shooting 38.8/26.7/54.5 (FG/3pt/FT) for the game, while Stanford shot for a killer 45.5/42.1/75.0 clip for the contest.
First Team All-Big 12 honorees Breanna Lewis and Kindred Wesemann, and fellow seniors Jessica Sheble and Kelly Thompson end their K-State careers after fours years, including the tumultuous final season of Deb Patterson’s tenure, finishing with three straight post-season appearances and two straight trips to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. These ladies have helped to lay a strong foundation in the first three years of Jeff Mittie’s tenure in Manhattan, and now we look to the future and a continuance of this upward trajectory. We at Bring on the Cats wish the seniors nothing but the best in their future endeavors, and thank them for representing Kansas State so well and faithfully.