K-State defeated the University of Texas- Pan American 82-56 to advance to the championship game for the 11th consecutive year.
It was a down and dirty type of game against the Lady Broncs (1-5), with both teams combining for 43 personal fouls. You might say it was the perfect type of non-conference test for the K-State women's basketball team, because Big 12 play is just a little over a month away.
"This is what Big 12 basketball is all about," said junior guard Twiggy McIntyre, who scored a career-high 22 points on 6 of 9 shooting from beyond the arc.
"You didn't play a game unless you come out with some of blood on you."
Kansas State (5-0) struggled against UTPA's aggressive zone defense in the first half, unable to get the ball inside and attack the basket.
In the first eight minutes the Wildcat starters managed to put only six points on the board and led by just two.
Once again the dynamic duo of McIntyre and freshman guard Shalee Lehning came off the bench and provided a much needed spark. McIntyre began her 3-point reign hitting her first three attempts. Lehning hit her first trey, followed by a steal, the lay-up and the free throw.
In just five and a half minutes the two guards put up 15 points and extended the Kansas State lead to eight.
Lehning recorded her first career double-double with 15 points and 12 assists and also grabbed six rebounds
The Lady Broncs' defense kept it close in the first half by winning the rebounding battle (19-16) and turning six of their offensive boards into ten points.
K-State Coach Deb Patterson said the lack of aggressiveness affected more than just points on the scoreboard.
"When you see tentativeness, it tends to carry over into your rebounding and we addressed that at halftime," Patterson said.
"We needed to bring more energy to the ball, we needed to go find it, we were standing around a great deal and that's a very easy thing to do when you're playing zone offense and also when you're defending with the zone."
Patterson went to the bench tandem of McIntyre and Lehning early in the second half and got another much needed lift. And things just cruised from there.
"They were the two that came out and changed the look of the game in the second half," said junior Claire Coggins, who added 12 points. "It's hard for teams to keep up and it fires us up. And then we go on our blow-outs."
Kansas State takes on St. Joseph's University for the Wildcat Classic title Saturday at 5 p.m.