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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Women’s basketball wins OT thriller against West Virginia

Lee starred, scoring 34 points and securing 12 rebounds. 
Center+Ayoka+Lee+high+fives+her+coach+on+the+way+to+the+bench.+In+26+minutes%2C+Lee+scored+34+points+and+picked+up+12+rebounds+in+K-States+73-64+overtime+victory+over+West+Virginia.
Avery Johnson
Center Ayoka Lee high fives her coach on the way to the bench. In 26 minutes, Lee scored 34 points and picked up 12 rebounds in K-State’s 73-64 overtime victory over West Virginia.

No. 10 Kansas State women’s basketball went to overtime with West Virginia, emerging victorious 73-64 against the No. 22 Mountaineers. In her second return from injury, center Ayoka Lee dominated in just 26 minutes, scoring 34 points — 10 in overtime — and 12 rebounds.

The Wildcats again struggled in the first quarter. They committed 10 turnovers because of strong defense from the Mountaineers and flimsy passes from the perimeter. K-State walked out of the quarter down by eight, only putting up five points to West Virginia’s 13.

The Wildcats picked up the pace in the second quarter with a newfound offensive strategy, moving the ball around the perimeter to force the Mountaineer’s defense to come up. Then, they lobbed the ball to the post or drove to the basket for points. The Wildcats closed the scoring gap, tying things up 24-24 into halftime.

Although a stagnant following quarter for the Wildcats, they continued to score points by lobbing the ball to center Ayoka Lee. She scored nine out of the Wildcats’ 11 third quarter points. 

The Wildcats had an energetic fourth quarter, coming out strong with a 3-pointer made by guard Serena Sundell on the first play. A series of unfortunate events followed, as Sundell injured herself after landing on a defender’s feet and guard Brylee Glenn gaining a technical foul after alerting a ref. 

“That moment was really pivotal in the game, because we could’ve used my bad choice — and how it got me T’d up — we could’ve used that and let it bring us down cause I just gave them free points, but we used it and it gave us energy,” Brylee Glenn said. “The crowd was in it, we were in it, we were all turned up and ready for the [next] possession.” 

In a following major Wildcat play, Lee stole the ball from a Mountaineer post player resulting in two points from Lee off of a lob pass. West Virginia responded with a layup of its own, but guard Jaelyn Glenn was able to pull a 3-pointer, bringing the score to 44-44. 

The duration of the quarter was jammed with back-and-forth scoring, but the Wildcats momentarily pulled away from the Mountaineers with the help of Lee and Brylee and Jaelyn Glenn. 

“When we have that energy together, I think that’s when we can get to the core of who we are as a team, and like, that’s when we are successful regardless of the turnovers, regardless of the missed shots,” Lee said. “We’re playing our best when we have that as a team.”

The Mountaineers climbed back, hitting a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds left in the game, bringing the score within one, 57-56.

To get the ball back in its possession, the Mountaineers fouled Lee with four seconds left in the game. She only made one of her free throws, so the Mountaineers were able to tie the game 58-58 with a layup right at the buzzer.

“I was really proud of them, because they came out of [the huddle] with their eyes forward, and you could see it when we started overtime,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. 

Overtime was just as thrilling as the fourth quarter. Guard Jaelyn Glenn quickly made a great hustle play ending with a layup from Sundell.

The Wildcats’ free throws allowed them to pull away from the Mountaineers after failing them at the end of the fourth quarter. Lee made all six of her free throws in overtime, granting the Wildcats the win, 73-64. 

“All of these close game situations are just teaching us how to win games,” Lee said. “Like, how to have poise and just continue to fight when it is a close game.”

The much-needed win to keep Big 12 champion hopes alive places K-State at a 23-4 record and 12-3 in Big 12 play. The Wildcats head back on the road to play Kansas at 1 p.m. Saturday. 

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About the Contributor
Avery Johnson, multimedia editor
Multimedia editor for 2023-24. Previously photographer for spring 2023.
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