Kansas State women advance to face No. 1 Baylor

8 Mar

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas State made the most of its opportunity for revenge against Iowa State. Jalana Childs scored 31 points as the 5-seed Wildcats knocked off the 4-seed Cyclones 67-64 on Thursday afternoon, earning a showdown with No. 1 Baylor for the third time this season.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey caught the last three minutes of the game, and she said she tried to pay attention to both teams because it was far from clear what the outcome would be.

With under two minutes to play, Jalana Childs grabbed the rebound of an errant 3-point attempt by Chantay Caron and took it right back to the rim. She scored, and the Wildcats took a 61-59 lead. Iowa State called a full timeout then promptly turned the ball over.

Kansas State frittered away its entire shot clock, and Mariah White tried a 3-pointer. It did not go, but Branshea Brown boxed out well enough to be in position to swat the ball to Brittany Chambers, who went up for the layup and got fouled. She made just one of her free throws to extend Kansas State’s lead to 62-59.

Chelsea Poppens missed a shot on the other end of the floor, but Lauren Mansfield corralled the rebound and returned the ball to Poppens. This time she did not miss, and Iowa State trailed just 62-61.

Childs showed her range with a jumper to give Kansas State a 64-61 edge with just 21 seconds remaining.

Hallie Christofferson answered, pulling the Cyclones within a point again. Forced to foul, Iowa State needed missed foul shots by Chambers. She made both to put the Wildcats up 66-63, and Childs hit one of two attempts from the charity stripe to give her team a two-possession lead.

“Last time we played them we weren’t there as a team at all,” Childs said. “We just played off each other tonight, and it was really fun.”

At the beginning of the game, Iowa State shot out to a 12-2 run to put Kansas State on the ropes early. Nikki Moody made a layup and a free throw; Christofferson finished a jumper and a layup, and Mansfield made a two-point jumper and a shot from beyond the arc. The Wildcats got some good looks at the basket in the paint during that stretch but struggled to finish.

Kansas State responded with an 11-2 run to not only erase its deficit but to take the lead 16-15 midway through the first half. 

Once the Wildcats climbed back into the game, they kept it close. Consecutive 3-pointers by Moody and Mansfield put the Cyclones up 26-22 with 5:03 left in the first half and threatened to swing the momentum back their way for good.

Brown made two free throws to counter, and those points would begin an 11-3 run for the Wildcats to end the first half. Again Kansas State stole the lead, and they entered halftime up 33-29.

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