Kansas State had three scorers in double figures, led by senior Brittany Chambers’ 21 points, and led virtually throughout on the way to a 66-48 win over Illinois in the quarterfinal round of the Women’s National Invoitation Tournament. By virtue of the win, the Wildcats’, now 19-17 on the season, move on to the NIT semifinals and just two victories away from their second NIT championship.
In posting wins in each of the first three rounds of this year’s NIT postseason tourney, all three games played before a home crowd at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, the Wildcats have been able to salvage something positive out of a season in which they finished eighth out of 10 teams and won only five conference games. In fairness to the Lady Wildcats, however, the Big 12 featured the top-ranked team in the country in Baylor and had six other schools receive NCAA Tournament at-large bids this season. Three teams – Oklahoma, Kansas and Baylor – have advanced to the Sweet 16 round.
The Wildcats followed up earlier NIT victories over Texas Southern and Illinois State with a dominant performance against the visiting Fighting Illini. Kansas State shot 46 percent for the game and 54 percent in the second half, as the Cats’ gradually lengthened their 10-point halftime margin. In addition to the scoreboard, K-State also outrebounded Illinois (31-26), had five more assists (18 to 13) and five fewer turnovers than the 18 committed by the Illini.
Junior Chantay Caron contributed 19 points and sophomore Haley Texada added 16 to Kansas State’s winning total.
The quarterfinal victory gives the Wildcats a fourth straight tourney game at home. They will host Utah on April 3 in one of the two Women’s NIT semifinal games. Florida is at Drexel in the other game. The winner of those two games will meet for the championship on April 6 at a site to be determined (usually the home court is awarded to the school with the higher seed).
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