MANHATTAN, Kan. (K-State Athletic Communications) – K-State saw three players in double figures and used a big first quarter to ease past Abilene Christian, 93-53, on Tuesday night at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats have now won five straight home games.
“I didn’t really expect the start,” said K-State head coach Jeff Mittie about the first 10 minutes of Tuesday’s game. “We were a little flat in warm-ups so I was concerned about that and the staff was concerned about that. So I did not expect the start, but I do think our group addressed it and knew we needed to raise their enthusiasm and their effort. They obviously went out and played well. I thought they had a good read defensively. I thought they really understood what Abilene Christian was trying to run. Obviously, their attention to detail and scout was pretty good. Coaches did a pretty good job with that.”
K-State (5-1) blitzed ACU from the opening tip, as the Wildcats went on a 19-3 run in the first six minutes to force an Abilene Christian timeout. Freshman Serena Sundell registered 11 of the 19 points, including three connections from beyond the arc. The K-State defense held ACU to 1-of-7 shooting and four turnovers during the opening run.
Sundell ended the game with a game- and career-high 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Sundell also added five rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Among her 25 points, Sundell set the school records for points in a first quarter with 14 and three-point field goals made in a first quarter with four.
In the last two games, Sundell is averaging 23 points and five connections from beyond the arc. Sundell went into the game with a shot-ready approach.
“I think I just wanted to be more shot-ready. That was kind of my mindset, being ready to shoot it and shooting it confidently. I think there was a little bit in my head going on, but I found it again and I give credit to my teammates for just making the right read. Obviously, people are helping a lot inside so we have open three-pointers so I just have to be ready catch and shoot.”
K-State upped its first-quarter advantage to 27-3, as the Wildcats scored eight straight following the ACU timeout. Sundell knocked down her fourth 3-pointer of the quarter, while Rebekah Dallinger added her first. Laura Macke finished a layup in transition to force a second ACU timeout.
K-State would end the first quarter with a 31-5 lead, as Ayoka Lee finished a layup and Macke beat the buzzer with a fast-break layup. For the quarter, K-State shot 61.9 percent (13-of-21) from the field including a 50.0 percent effort (5-of-10) from beyond the arc.
Ayoka Lee recorded her fourth straight double-double, notching 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting, 13 rebounds, and two blocks on Tuesday night. With her double-double, Lee improved her career total to 33 and tied former teammate Peyton Williams for third in program history for career double-doubles.
Joining Sundell and Lee in double figures was freshman Jaelyn Glenn with a career night, as she tallied a diverse stat line of 13 points, eight assists, five steals, and four rebounds. Glenn was prepared for whatever the game asked of her.
“It’s always being shot ready of course, and Coach tells us to play with the open player. So of course, you want to do that, if your shots not there, then you are looking into Ayoka (Lee), or we’re looking for skips. I wouldn’t say do-it-all just being long on defense and being shot ready.”
In the second quarter, K-State found Lee for five of its first seven points and extend its lead to 38-9 with 6:22 remaining, and force ACU to take its third timeout of the first half.
K-State then went on a four-plus minute drought, as Abilene Christian (3-1) registered five straight points to cut the K-State lead to 38-14.
Kansas State found its offensive groove again in the final two minutes, as K-State outscored ACU, 9-2, to hold a 47-16 lead at the half. The 31-point halftime advantage was K-State’s largest of the season, as the Wildcats shot 50.0 percent (18-of-36) from the field and held ACU to 20.7 percent (6-of-29).
ACU scored the first four points of the third quarter, which was followed by a 16-0 run by K-State over the next four minutes, as the Wildcats built a 63-20 lead with 4:39 remaining in the third stanza. During the run, Lee scored seven points while Jaelyn Glenn added five.
K-State would complete the third quarter with a 70-31 lead, as Macke made a trio of free throws and Sundell finished with a cut to the basket and layup.
Sundell connected on her fifth 3-pointer of the night to start the fourth quarter. The Wildcats would push their advantage to 42, 86-44, with 5:01 remaining on a fastbreak layup from Emilee Ebert.
K-State ended the night shooting 51.4 percent (37-of-72) from the field and were 10-of-29 (.345) from beyond the arc. This was the second straight game K-State made 10 three-point field goals. The Wildcats dished out 25 assists and committed just seven turnovers, which improves upon K-State’s Big 12 lead in assist-to-turnover ratio. K-State continues its three-game home stand on Saturday morning at 11 a.m., as the Wildcats host Northwestern State.