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Wildcats Move On To WNIT Semifinals



MANHATTAN, Kan. Claire Coggins scored 17 of her game-high 22 points in the second half as Kansas State won its rubber match with Big 12 Conference rival Nebraska, 77-63, Friday night before 6,258 at Bramlage Coliseum to advance to the semifinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.


JoAnn Hamlin added 20 points and Kimberly Dietz poured in 19, including 16 to carry Kansas State (22-10) during the first half.


The Wildcats also got eight assists and 11 rebounds from Shalee Lehning, as K-State controlled the glass all night long and outrebounded Nebraska by a 44-32 margin. Lehning broke the school single-season record for most assists (176) previously held by former Wildcat Mary Jo Miller (175) during the 1990-91 season.


K-State will host Western Kentucky (27-6) in semifinal action on Tuesday, March 28, at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Postseason WNIT championship game.


Kelsey Griffin scored 19 points, while Elena Diaz and Kiera Hardy each tallied 14 to pace Nebraska (19-13), which trailed 36-26 at intermission but never got closer than eight during the second half.


Coggins, who ignited the Wildcats in the second half with five three-pointers and tied her career-high with six for the game, hit her third of the period with 12:35 to play to give K-State its biggest lead of the game at 55-39.


Nebraska was able to get K-State's edge to single digits twice in the final two minutes of the game. But, Twiggy McIntyre connected on four-straight free throws and Hamlin added a layup as the Wildcats scored the final six points of the game.


In the first half, Kansas State jumped out to a quick 15-10 lead behind eight points from Dietz. But, the Cats went cold over the next seven minutes and managed a lone bucket from Dietz during a 12-2 Nebraska run that put the Huskers on top 22-17 with just over five minutes left in the half.


Hamlin stopped the bleeding with a three-point play and Lehning added a layup and a short jumper in the paint as K-State struck back with 15-4 run that not only gave the Wildcats a 35-26 lead at the break, but also may have been the deciding factor in the game.