MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Claire Coggins scored 16 points and Kimberly Dietz hit a free throw with 10 seconds remaining in overtime Tuesday night to lead Kansas State to a 57-56 win over Western Kentucky in the semifinals of the Women's NIT.
JoAnn Hamlin was the only other Kansas State player to score in double figures with 15 points, while Shalee Lehning grabbed 10 rebounds for the Wildcats.
Western Kentucky (27-7), which was held to its lowest point total of the season, was led by Crystal Kelly's 19 points, 11 of them from the free-throw line.
The Lady Toppers were without their leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, Tiffany Porter-Talbert, who did not make the trip after being suspended for violating team rules.
Tied at 53 with 8 seconds left in regulation, Kansas State had a chance for the win but Coggins two free throws and Western Kentucky was not able to get a shot off before the buzzer.
The Wildcats (23-10), who had been 0-4 in overtime games this season, got three of their four overtime points from Dietz, whose steal from Tifany Zaragoza forced the Lady Toppers to commit a foul with 10 seconds left in the game.
This is the first time Kansas State has advanced to the championship round of any postseason tournament. The Wildcats will host Marquette (22-10) in the title tilt on Friday, March 31, at 7 p.m. (CT) in Bramlage Coliseum. Marquette advanced to the finals after defeating Pittsburgh, 77-64, on Monday night. The Wildcats will be playing in their fifth-straight home game of the tournament.
Tickets for the WNIT championship game may be purchased in person at the K-State Athletic Ticket Office from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum and by calling 1-800-221-CATS or ordering online at: www.k-statesports.com.