Center Court with the Lady Wildcats
"The Cats" came out with an early aggressiveness that resulted in a 16-0 lead. Kindra Wecker continued her torrid pace by scoring 7 of the first K-State points. Then the worst possible occurrence happened for the Lady Wildcats as Wecker landed wrong on her left foot and went down in severe pain. You could have heard a pin drop in Bramledge as Wecker was assisted to the sidelines. She was later seen leaving on crutches and will miss anywhere from 3-8 weeks.
After the injury to Wecker at the 4:21 mark in the first half Kansas State only outscored New Hampshire by three points to take a 45-28 lead into the locker room.
Kansas State came out strong in the second half by going on a 15-2 run to put the game away by taking a 63-35 lead.
The loss of Wecker was lessened in the game due to the shooting of Laurie Koehn who nailed 5 baskets from the 3-point range to fuel the Lady Wildcats.
In the finals of the tournament Kansas State played Liberty who destroyed Tennessee State74-38. The lack of intensity was the key to the game as the Wildcats lost 77-56. The loss snapped a 35 game regular season winning streak at Bramledge Coliseum.
The Lady Wildcats were dominated on the boards losing the rebounding margin by a count of 42-26. Rebounding and toughness inside are going to have get better when conference play begins. Megan Mahoney led K-State with 9 boards, but overall much like the Duke game the team found themselves pushed around inside on numerous occasions.
From the beginning the Lady Wildcats looked lost and at time unprepared to play. The emotional loss of Kendra Wecker, the teams' leader missing her first game after 104 consecutive starts had an obvious affect.
Kansas State's defense and careless play from The Lady Flames caused the visitors to turn the ball over 24 times but their shooting percentage was 54 percent. Shooting like that can help any team overcome other deficiencies in their game on any particular night.
The next game was a short trip down I-70 to take on the women from UMKC. This was the second game without Kendra Wecker but K-State responded with a 63-31 victory. The Lady Wildcats out rebounded UMKC 41-26 and held them to only 25.5 percent shooting.
Laurie Kohen contributed 9 points for Kansas State to go along with a great defensive performance against UMKC's Katie Holahan, holding her to only 8 points in the game well below her average of 20.8. Holahan represented one of the few chances UMKC had to stay in the game and as she faltered so did the Kangaroos.
Wecker missing her second straight game was seen without the protective boot on her badly sprained ankle, but still no definite return date was disclosed.
Neither Team set the nets on fire in the first half as UMKC only hit 25.9 percent from the field in the first half as the Lady Cats went to the locker room with a 28-17 advantage. K-State wasn't setting the nets on fire either as they hit only 39 percent for the game overall.
"The Roos" came out and hit a couple of quick shots to begin the second half cutting the Lady Cat lead to 28-22. Mahoney hit the first 6 points for K-State to begin the next half and help K-State build up a 34-24 lead and they were never challenged in the game the rest of the way.
K-State was very fortunate to win this game by as much as they did. When Megan Mahoney hit a bucket at the 18 minute mark in the second half it represented the first points scored by K-State since there was 5:10 left in the first half. Droughts like that can be devastating to any team and the fact UMKC wasn't able to take advantage of the bad shooting ,is a blessing for Kansas State.
Hopefully Kendra Wecker will return sooner than the doctors predicted because not only is she a great player on the court but a leader for this team as well. The experience that players like Jessica McFarland and Shanna Wheeler are gaining could prove invaluable as the season moves on. This will help soften the blow of losing Wecker and keep the Lady Cats on track this season before conference play begins. The early gut check this team has had put before them will go along was in determining how successful they will be this year.
The Kansas State Lady Wildcats don't play again until next Saturday when they travel to Springfield, Missouri to play the Alabama Crimson Tide.
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