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SLATE: Kansas State almost put the shoe on West Virginia’s other foot

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Plus a fresh installment of I Did Not Know That, and academic honors

Lee was stellar, but it wasn’t enough
Lee was stellar, but it wasn’t enough
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Fans of Kansas State women’s basketball have, by and large, seen three things happen this season:

  • K-State gets a big lead, and blows it
  • K-State gets a big lead, and manages to hold onto it
  • K-State plays Baylor

Last night at Bramlage, on Senior Night, neither of those three things happened. Midway through the third quarter, West Virginia had a 13-point lead and it seemed like all was lost.

And while the Mountaineers (19-4, 13-4 Big 12) did go on to prevail 72-64, the usual script was upended last night. Over the course of the last part of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth, the Wildcats (8-16, 3-14) did something they really haven’t done much all season: they went off late in a basketball game.

By the time the third quarter had ended, K-State had whittled West Virginia’s lead down to just four points, and less than a minute later a Christianna Carr three and an Ayoka Lee layup had given the Cats the lead at 56-55. West Virginia surged back, and held a five-point lead for most of the rest of the game, but until the final minute K-State didn’t let the Mountaineers pull away. They answered basket for basket, for the most part, and closed to within three on two occasions, including an Emilee Ebert layup with 3:30 to go to make it 67-64.

Then someone closed the lid on the buckets. Even foul shots didn’t seem to go in, and over that final three and a half minutes West Virginia scored the only five points to go on the board.

Still, the determination to erase such a huge lead in the second half was a big step up for the Wildcat ladies, and it was a game effort against the squad which, with the win, secured the #2 seed in the Big 12 tournament.

Lee, once again, landed a double-double after scoring a game-high 26 points with 14 rebounds. Carr also hit double figures, dropping 15 points on the visitors. For the Mountaineers, Esmery Martinez also had a double-double with 23 and 12, and four other players scored in double figures.

Ashley Ray and Sydney Goodson were honored for Senior Night, although last night may of course not be the last we see of either player at Bramlage thanks to the COVID year. It won’t be the last we see of them this year, either, as the Wildcats conclude their regular season at 3:00 on Sunday in Norman. That game will — surprise — not be on ESPN+ but on FOX Sports KC and FOX Sports Oklahoma.

Track and Field

On Sunday, your benevolent despot made a big deal out of how the relay points individually earned by athletes weren’t “officially” credited to them, and now we’re going to see who actually reads the Slate.

Your benevolent despot was, apparently, wrong WRONG WRONG. After initially having announced that Tejaswin Shankar and Iowa State’s Wesley Kiptoo had tied for the men’s indoor high point award at the Big 12 Championships, the Big 12 has made a correction: Shankar is the outright winner of the award, because — wait for it — they forgot to count the 1.25 points he officially earned as part of the Wildcats 4x400 relay team.

Other

A total of 16 Wildcats — the second largest number in the conference, although in a confusing and disturbing plot twist it was Kansas who had the most — were recipients of the Big 12’s Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award. This is an even bigger deal than academic all-conference; it’s an award that an individual can only win once, and only after having completed 100 credit hours with a GPA of at least 3.8 at the time they’re nominated. A few of the Wildcat honorees require no real introduction; you all know Brookelynn Entz, Ayoka Lee, and Landry Weber, after all.

Many of the others will still be familiar to regular Slate readers who pay attention; volleyball’s Brynn Carlson and Shelby Martin, track’s Alex Ferguson, Helene Ingvaldsen, Cara Melgares, Lauren Taubert, and Shaelyn Ward, Anna Turco of the tennis team, and Zack Kokoska of the BatCats have all made frequent appearances in roundups. The remaining athletes include Lilia Barzo (tennis), Caylene Hume and Jessica Williams (track), and Madison Jensen (rowing).