Lady Cats open Conference Play with a Win

MANHATTAN, Kan-- Winning a basketball game is not always dependent on how "pretty" you play. That's the approach Kansas State brought to their Big 12 home opener against Texas Tech.

For the second consecutive year the Wildcats and Red Raiders' contest was characterized by defense and decided by just two points.

K-State beat Tech 53-51 Wednesday night in Bramlage Coliseum.

It was obvious from the beginning that this was going to be a low scoring nail bitter decided by a block, a free throw, or simply a timely basket.

How about all of the above?

K-State's lone senior Jessica McFarland had a few big baskets leading the Cats with 11 points.

With 2:44 left in the game a determined McFarland hit a tough shot in the lane giving K-State (11-1, 1-0) the lead for good. The 6-2 center also grabbed five rebounds, including four offense boards.

Junior guard Twiggy McIntyre helped the Cats down the stretch from the foul line tying a career-high with eight free throws.

"I feel confident going up to the line, but especially as a point guard," said McIntyre whose biggest contribution came in final two minutes sealing the win with five consecutive free throws. "That's a gimme and I should make free throws any given night."

McIntyre finished the night with 10 points and a career-high seven rebounds.

But the biggest highlight of the night came from junior guard Claire Coggins. Texas Tech (5-7, 0-1) trailed by three with 20.2 on the clock when Tech's Alesha Robertson curled around a screen and threw up a shot. But the ball didn't go very far as Coggins flew over, knocking it out of bounds.

"There's no doubt at all in my mind that Alesha was getting the ball," Coggins said. "I was hoping I could get across the flair screen a little bit earlier because I wanted to be in front of her, but I was fortunate enough that I could get that block."

The Cats limited Tech's leading scorer, senior LaToya Davis, to just nine points. But it was Davis who dominated in the first half grabbing 13 rebounds.

Despite a miserable shooting performance (26-percent) Kansas State addressed the 29-17 rebounding deficit at halftime.

"As soon as we got in the locker room rebounding is exactly what coach emphasized," McIntyre said.

"We made it more of a task to block out their posts. Our post players stepped up. Our perimeter players stepped up."

The Wildcats picked up the slack in the final 20 minutes limiting Davis to two boards and zero points.

"I thought everyone, young, old, alike, stepped up the floor and gave us a chance to compete to the final second," Patterson said.

"We were willing to understand that it doesn't have to be pretty for it to lead to success. And that is going to be the story of our season."

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