We don’t often lead with women’s basketball, but a noteworthy performance by K-State’s best pro prospect in any sport deserves top billing today.
Ayoka Lee was a dominant force in K-State’s 74-57 win over the Kansas City (formerly UMKC) Roos Monday night. The 6-5 sophomore used her size advantage to score 31 points and snare 14 rebounds in only 26 minutes of play.
Though the final score suggests a comfortable night for the Wildcats, they actually trailed by five at the end of the first quarter and by two at halftime. A 25-9 third quarter gave the Cats a 12-point lead going into the final period. Though Coach Mittie initially removed Lee, who is nursing an ankle sprain suffered early in the Kentucky game, from the contest midway through the fourth quarter, he sent her back in to get a final bucket and eclipse the 30-point barrier. She only required one possession, about 8 seconds of game time, to bank home that final shot. Mittie called an immediate timeout, and Lee’s teammates put a bow on the final four minutes of play.
Emilee Ebert was the only other Wildcat to reach double figures, dropping in 12.
Like the men, the women’s squad begins league play on the road at Iowa State. That game will begin at 6 p.m. Friday and air on ESPN+.
Coach Weber’s team will begin the conference journey tonight against an Iowa State club that, like the Wildcats, is powered by youth and inexperience. Both teams will be looking to improve their play though the Big 12 conference grind. Weber admits the challenge can be “scary” for freshmen who have not confronted such consistent competition, game in and game out. Does Hilton Coliseum still exude magic and mysticism when it’s not packed to the rafters with rabid ‘Clones? We’ll soon find out.
Further highlighting the similarities of the two teams, you could change the names on some of Coach Steve Prohm’s quotes in this preview from Cyclone territory and think the article was about K-State.
Weber and his staff are running in rare company as they seek the commitment of combo guard Kyle Cuffe, Jr. The New Jersey combo guard, ranked 78th in the 2022 recruiting class, has K-State in his final four, along with St. John’s, Georgia and...Kansas. He says both Weber and assistant coach Shane Southwell have been working pretty hard to land his services.
Our lone football link this morning is available only the subscribers to The Athletic. Ari Wasserman chronicles K-State’s “biggest recruiting win in a decade,” suggesting that the signing of 4-star quarterback Jake Rubley had its genesis at Northern Iowa way back in 1987, when then-defensive back Chris Klieman hosted hot-shot quarterback prospect T.J. Rubley. Klieman fell short in that recruiting effort, as the elder Rubley went on to play at Tulsa. But that chance encounter in the tiny world of college football relationships may have been just the crack in the doorway that opened a meaningful conversation about the younger Rubley becoming a Wildcat.