Hosting its first NCAA Tournament since 2003, Kansas State snapped Drake’s 22-game win streak on Saturday to advance to the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are now 6-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games played in the Little Apple.
Kansas State (23-10) held the lead for over 37 minutes on Saturday. The Wildcats were paced by the senior duo of Breanna Lewis and Kindred Wesemann. Lewis registered her first career double-double in NCAA Tournament play with 23 points on 11-of-17 shooting and 11 rebounds. Wesemann added 16 points, five assists and two steals.
Drake (28-5) was paced by senior Lizzy Wendell with 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting. The Wildcats held Wendell to four points under her scoring average (21.1 ppg). The Bulldogs also saw freshman Becca Hittner add 13 points and sophomore Sammie Bachrodt add 10.
K-State shot 42.9 percent (21-of-49) from the field on Saturday, including 50.0 percent effort in the first quarter and a 62.5 percent output in the fourth. Drake entered Saturday averaging 83 points a game, but were held to a 36.5 percent (19-of-52) performance from the field.
The Wildcats handed out 21 assists on their 26 made field goals and pocketed 11 steals. Kansas State finished the day with a 22-8 advantage in points off turnovers. This was the sixth game this season K-State tallied 20 or more points off turnovers.
K-State responded to a pair of Drake 3-pointers with a 10-2 run in the first quarter to take a 13-8 lead with 4:08 left. A 9-2 run boosted K-State’s lead to 20-13 at the end of opening quarter. Lewis tallied back-to-back layups and Lanie Page buried a 3-pointer off the bench during the run.
Drake pushed back to with two, 22-20, with 8:20 left in the second quarter, as the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 burst. K-State absorbed the rally and rebuilt the lead to eight, 30-22, with a 8-2 advantage. Lewis started the scoring with a layup and Wesemann capped the run with her second 3-pointer of the half. Drake pulled within five at the half, 30-25.
In the opening half, K-State forced 10 Drake turnovers including seven in the first quarter. The Wildcats held a 17-4 edge in points off turnovers at the half. K-State also distanced themselves from Drake in the paint, outscoring the Bulldogs 16-8.
Lewis scored eight of K-State’s 13 points in the third quarter to send the Wildcats into the fourth quarter with a 43-35 lead. K-State held Drake to just 10 points in the quarter, which was the result of a 4-of-16 effort from the field and three turnovers.
The Bulldogs cut K-State’s lead to six, 43-37, on the first possession of the fourth quarter. This was the closest Drake would get for the remainder of the game. K-State received three straight field goals from Lewis to keep K-State in front by 10, 54-44, with 5:51 left.
A three-pointer from Wendell with 5:01 remaining brought the Bulldogs to within seven, 54-47, but Wesemann answered back with a 3-pointer of her own. On K-State’s next offensive possession, Wesemann connected on a midrange jumper to keep K-State in front by 10.
Drake’s Hittner buried a 3-pointer on its next possession to again pull within seven, 59-52, but Karyla Middlebrook connected on her first 3-pointer of the afternoon to give the Wildcats a 62-52 lead with 3:04 left. Hittner’s 3-pointer at 3:36 of the fourth quarter was Drake’s second to last field goal of the day as K-State held the Bulldogs without a field goal for 3:30 down the stretch.
After a defensive stop, Wesemann drained her fourth 3-pointer with 2:32 remaining to put the game out of reach and send K-State to the Round of 32.
This is the second straight season and the 11th time in program history that K-State has advanced at least one round in the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas State will face Stanford on Monday night. A game time will be announced at a later time. The game will be available on ESPN2 and ESPN3. The game will also be broadcast on the K-State Sports Network. For tickets, contact the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221-CATS or visit the ticket office in Bramlage Coliseum.