MANHATTAN, Kansas (KSNW/KSU) — K-State women’s basketball senior center Ayoka Lee announced on Thursday that she will undergo season-ending knee surgery. She plans to return to the roster and complete her graduate degree at Kansas State in the 2023-24 season.

Ayoka Lee (Courtesy K-State Sports)

“I am devastated for Yokie,” Jeff Mittie, K-State women’s basketball coach, said. “She has battled this knee injury for two years. We were hopeful with a summer procedure and extended rest, she would be able to play this upcoming season. Unfortunately, after meeting with the medical staff the last couple of days, she will require season-ending surgery. We will support Yokie through her recovery and rehab and look forward to her returning to the court for the 2023-24 season.”

Lee, a 2022 All-American, completed her undergraduate degree in May of 2021 in psychology and is currently pursuing her graduate degree in couples and family therapy.

“While it deeply saddens me that I cannot be on the court with my teammates this season, I am fully committed to getting healthy and contributing as a leader on the sideline,” Lee said. “Although my role will be different, I am confident in what we will accomplish as a team this year. There is no other team, coaches or support staff I would want to work through this with.

“As my team surrounds me in support through my recovery, my hope is that Wildcat Nation will continue to surround our team with the same love and support they always have. I look forward to getting back on the court and finishing my graduate degree in 2023-24. Forever thankful and blessed to be a Wildcat.”

According to K-State Sports, Lee has been recognized for her efforts in the classroom:

  • Two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America (second team in 2021; first team in 2022)
  • Two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team recipient
  • 2022 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year
  • 2021 Big 12/Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award

Lee was the second player in K-State women’s basketball history to be named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team, joining Laurie Koehn in 2004.

K-State Sports also says that Lee ranks ninth in school history for points scored with 1,661, sixth for rebounds with 887, third for blocks with 235, sixth for field goals made with 665 and sixth for free throws made with 331. She is also second for double-doubles with 49.

In the 2021-22 season, Lee collected numerous accolades:

  • First Team All-American honors by The Athletic and Sports Illustrated
  • Second Team All-American selection by the Associated Press and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA)
  • Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-America Honorable Mention
  • Finalist for the 2022 Lisa Leslie Award
  • Unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection by the league’s coaches
  • Selection to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team

Lee completed last season with career-highs in a number of statistical categories, including points (727), points per game (22.0), field goals made and attempted (296-526), free throws made and attempted (135-175), rebounds (339), blocks (95), steals (39), assists (23) and double-doubles (20).

Lee was the only player in NCAA Division I women’s basketball this season to register 725 or more points, 325 or more rebounds and 90 or more blocks. This was the first time in the 54-season history of K-State women’s basketball in which a player reached the statistical markers of 725 or more points, 325 or more rebounds and 90 or more blocks in a single season.

With her scoring average of 22.0 points per game and total of 296 field goals made, Lee set the single-season school records for scoring average and field goals made. Her point total of 727 ranks second in school history for points in a season and set a school record for points in a junior season.

Lee was the first player in K-State women’s basketball history to average a double-double in at least two seasons, as she achieved the feat in her freshman season in 2019-20 and again in 2021-22.

As part of her 2021-22 statistical resume, Lee set the NCAA Division I single-game record of 61 points scored against Oklahoma on January 23. She also led the Big 12 for field goal percentage and a Big 12-high eight games with 30 or more points.

A two-time USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week recipient, Lee’s 339 rebounds established a new school record for rebounds in a season.

Lee, a four-time Big 12 Player of the Week selection and a three-time National Player of the Week honor, set the school record for double-doubles with 20. She became the sixth player in the history of the Big 12 to register 20 or more double-doubles in a season.

For the 2022-23 season, Kansas State will be led by the sophomore trio of Brylee Glenn, Jaelyn Glenn and Serena Sundell. The Wildcats also welcome in graduate transfer Sarah Shematsi, senior Gabby Gregory, redshirt sophomore Heavenly Greer, sophomore Gisela Sanchez and freshmen Mimi Gatewood, Ja’Mia Harris, Eliza Maupin and Mikayla Parks.