For the second time in three years, Kansas State has advanced to the semifinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship following a 72-59 win over West Virginia on Saturday afternoon at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The win was K-State’s sixth straight and eighth win in its last nine games.
With the win, head coach Jeff Mittie secured his 100th win at Kansas State. Mittie owns a record of 100-64 (.610) during his five seasons with K-State. He is the fourth head coach in program history to win 100 or more games.
K-State (21-10) pocketed a season-high 18 steals on Saturday. The 18 steals set a school record for a Big 12 Championship game.
Kansas State forced five West Virginia turnovers in the opening five minutes of the game, as K-State held an 8-5 lead with 5:03 remaining in the first quarter. Christianna Carr and Rachel Ranke each hit a 3-pointer to help K-State’s early scoring.
Ranke’s three-pointer started an 11-0 run for K-State, as the Wildcats would build a 16-5 lead with 3:31 to play in the first quarter. Peyton Williams, an All-Big 12 First Team selection and All-America candidate, scored six of the 11 points during the run. The Wildcats would end the opening quarter with a 21-8 lead.
The Wildcats would build a 15-point lead, 35-20, with 3:21 remaining in the second quarter. Ranke buried her third 3-pointer of the first half to stake K-State to the lead.
West Virginia (20-10) closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to pull within six, 35-29. Williams (15) and Ranke (11) accounted for 26 of K-State’s 35 points in the opening half.
K-State took control of the third quarter with a 10-2 run over a three-and a half minute stretch to build a 50-41 lead. Ranke and Jasauen Beard scored 13 of K-State’s 15 points. Beard would end the day with eight points, five rebounds and five steals. Her five steals tied the school record for steals in a Big 12 Championship game.
West Virginia closed to within one, 53-52, with 6:04 remaining in the fourth quarter by using a 9-3 rally to begin the quarter.
Kansas State answered with a 6-0 run, as Ranke finished a three-point play and Carr finished a putback in transition to force a West Virginia timeout with 4:48 to play and K-State leading, 59-52.
Carr, a member of the Big 12 All-Freshmen Team, would score six straight points for K-State, as she made a free throw and then knocked down her second 3-pointer of the afternoon to stake the Wildcats to a 63-53 lead with 3:57 to play.
After a pair of free throws from West Virginia, K-State ran the shot clock down and freshman Laura Macke confidently knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:47 remaining to give K-State a 66-55 lead. Macke would finish with three points, three rebounds and two steals off the bench.
On the next possession, Carr hit her third 3-pointer of the day with 1:40 remaining and send K-State to a 69-55 lead.
Kansas State had three players in double figures led by a game-high 22 points from Williams. Williams added six rebounds and three steals. The native of Topeka, Kansas, has scored 20 or more points in eight games this season.
Ranke tallied her second 20-point game of the season with 21 points on 8-of-20 shooting including a 4-of-12 effort from beyond the arc. The sophomore from Burnsville, Minnesota, added six rebounds and two steals.
Carr finished with 12 points including a 3-of-8 effort from beyond the arc, a career-high three blocks and six rebounds.
Kayla Goth set the school record for assists in a Big 12 Championship game with a game-high 13. The 13 assists tied the school record for any game in program history and set a new career-high for a single game.
Goth, a 2019 All-Big 12 First Team selection and All-America candidate, set the school record for assists in a two-season span with 442, surpassing the record of 432 set by Shalee Lehning in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
West Virginia had a pair of players in double figures with Naomi Davenport finishing with 14 points and Kari Niblack chipping in with 13 points off the bench.
Kansas State ended the afternoon shooting 35.3 percent (24-of-68) from the field and were 9-of-29 from beyond the arc. West Virginia shot 38.0 percent (19-of-50) but were stymied with 25 turnovers. The 25 turnovers by the Mountaineers led to an 18-3 advantage in points off turnovers by Kansas State.
Kansas State has advanced at least one round 17 times in the Big 12 Championships and own an overall record of 20-22 in the event. This is the ninth time K-State has advanced to the semifinals.
Kansas State will face the winner of Baylor/Texas Tech on Sunday at 2 p.m., in the semifinals of the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Courtesy: K-State Athletics