MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State picked up its 200th victory in Bramlage Coliseum and earned its 10th Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic championship as it held on to defeat UTEP, 66-58, Saturday.
Despite being held scoreless for the first 8:56 of the second half and seeing its eight-point halftime margin turn into a five-point UTEP lead, Kansas State (4-3) was able to muscle up and went on a 16-2 run over the next 4:47 to put the Miners (4-2) away.
Ashley Sweat scored seven of her team-high 17 points during the span and shot a perfect 5-for-5 at the line. Kimberly Dietz added 14 and Shalee Lehning chipped in 11 and collected a season-high 13 rebounds en route to being named tournament MVP.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early eight-point lead in the first half at 15-7 with a made jumper by Jackie Stanley, but the Miners cut the lead to four with a three pointer by Natasha Lacy with 10:43 left in the first period. K-State went on a quick 7-0 spurt over the next minute, capped by Kari Kincaid’s three-pointer to push the lead to 24-13.
Kansas State led by as many as 15 on two different occasions, the last coming with a three by Shalin Spani with 3:04 to give the Wildcats a 38-23 lead. However, UTEP closed out the half strong on a 6-2 run to cut the lead to 40-29 going into halftime.
UTEP used that momentum and came out of the locker room on fire as it held K-State scoreless for the first 8:56 of the second half and outscored the Wildcats 16-0. Sweat finally got the Cats going with a bucket and a free throw at the 11:04 mark to get the Wildcats out of their shooting funk.
After its 16-2 run to go up by nine, UTEP pulled back within two with a three pointer by Jareica Hughes at the 4:32 mark. But the Wildcats came back to outscore the Miners 10-4 in the final minutes to earn their fourth win of the season.
Just like its semifinal game against Lipscomb, Kansas State owned the paint, holding a 28-16 margin and also outrebounded the Miners 41-27 despite going up against UTEP’s 6-5 center Izabella Piekarska.
Next action for the Cats is on Dec. 5 as Kansas State will travel to take on Wisconsin-Green Bay. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Lipscomb vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Katie Rollins led all scorers with 15 points and also pulled down nine rebounds to lead Lipscomb over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 48-43, in the consolation game of the 13th Annual Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic. Catie Woods added nine points for Lipsomb (2-7), while Ciara Shields led Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-5) with 10 points and eight rebounds. Both teams struggled from the floor all afternoon as the Lady Bisons only connected on 27.3 percent (15-of-55) while the Lady Lions shot 27.7 percent (18-for-65) from the floor.
2007 Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic All-Tournament Team
Shalee Lehning, Kansas State (MVP)
Kimberly Dietz, Kansas State
Jareica Huge, UTEP
Natasha Lacy, UTEP
Ashley Sweat, Kansas State