The Kansas State men’s basketball season came to an abrupt close a couple of weeks ago in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but the Lady Wildcats sere still alive going into Wednesday night’s semifinal round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
The Lady Wildcats were playing at home against the Utah Utes. The home court had worked to Kansas State’s advantage in defeating four previous WNIT apponents and nine other conference foes previous to that for a 13-game winning streak at KSU’s Bramlage Coliseum.
On Wednesday night, the Lady Utes fired out to a 7-0 advantage, holding Kansas State without a field goal for over three minutes to start the game. Despite shooting only 22 percent in the first half while Utah shot 47 percent, the Wildcats were down by just nine points, 26-17, at the intermssion. Senior guard Brittany Chambers scored 10 of her team-high 16 points in the game in the opening half to keep Kansas State within striking distance.
The Lady Wildcats fought back in the second half and narrowed the Utah lead to just four points, at 39-35, with under 10 minutes remaining. From that point, KSU put on the defensive clamps, holding the Lady Utes scoreless for the next six minutes, which enabled K-State to tie the score at 39-39 and force an overtime session.
That’s when Utah’s Michelle Plouffe took over, scoring six of her game-high 24 points, as the Utes outscored the Cats 15-7 in the extra session to capture an eight-point win and move on to the WNIT championship game against Drexel, a 67-57 victor over the Florida Gators.
Kansas State, which played its final 10 games of the year with only seven players, ended the season with a 19-18 record. It was the Lady Wildcats 11th postseason appearance in the last12 years.
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