The Wildcats defeated Nebraska 71-64 Saturday night in Bramlage Coliseum and improved to six and four in conference play and 16 and five overall.
Nebraska was the aggressor in the beginning of the game outscoring Kansas State 12-5 in the first four minutes. But they were left playing catch up after K-State went on a 17-5 run at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second.
"We always say you have to play the first five minutes of each half and that determines how well you're usually going to do," said Husker guard Kiera Hardy, who was held well below her season average of 17.5 points a game.
Hardy struggled from the floor shooting a 4-for-20 from the field and 0-for-11 from beyond the arc. She finished with 14 points.
The play of freshman forward Kelsey Griffin was the real bright spot of the game for Nebraska. She led all scorers with 28 points and 12 rebounds and just completely dominated the first half.
"I didn't know she was a freshman at first. She's a great player," said K-State senior Jessica McFarland, who finished with 12 points.
"We were lax in the first half. We weren't pushing her out or getting around her and in the second half we came out and tried to bring attention to her, make sure she didn't get close to the basket where she could make those easy post shots."
McFarland's play on both ends of the floor was very important to the Wildcat's success when freshman frontcourt starters JoAnn Hamlin and Marlies Gipson sat much of the game in foul trouble.
The lone-senior was the only Wildcat who played significant time on the court and didn't pick up a single foul. That's an impressive feat during a game where gently running your hand through the air would grab the officials' attention.
In the second half Kansas State matched up a little better against Griffin thanks to some different defensive looks and comparable quickness in the paint.
"As a team I thought we did a better job once we got in front of their posts of supporting the ball, got in help, got some tie-ups, go some deflections," said K-State coach Deb Patterson. "It was kind of a process of figuring it out." Sophomore Kimberly Dietz played the entire 40 minutes and led the Cats with 19 points shooting 4 for 6 from 3-point range. Junior Claire Coggins was close behind in scoring with 17 points. Freshman point guard Shalee Lehning finished with six points, 11 assists and a team-high seven rebounds.
Junior Twiggy McIntyre sat the bench the entire game in what was called a "coach's decision."
The last Wildcat to sit the bench for that reason was Coggins, who responded well to the unique coaching method dropping 24 points the very next game.
Kansas State travels to Boulder on Wednesday.