Women Of Troy Fall To Fourth-Ranked Kansas State In WNIT Semifinals

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State coach Deb Patterson got her 100th career victory Wednesday night. But it was smaller, yet more disappointing, numbers that caught her attention.

The Wildcats committed 29 turnovers against a physical USC women's basketball team, which pressured them often and aggressively.

But Kendra Wecker had 24 points, 18 in the second half, and 12 rebounds to lead No. 4 Kansas State to a 73-61 victory over the Women of Troy on Wednesday (Nov. 20) night in the semifinals of the preseason WNIT in Manhattan, Kan.

'I felt like we tried to take too much responsibility on our shoulders when they pressured us,' Patterson said. 'We didn't make good decisions. Sometimes we tried to do too many things too quickly. But it's the first time we faced that kind of pressure.'

Despite the sloppy play, Kansas State (3-0) never trailed and with the win earned a finals berth at home Sunday against No. 14 Penn State. The Nittany Lions State beat Mississippi State 82-66 Wednesday night.

Nicole Ohlde added 19 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas State, while Laurie Koehn had 17 points and Brie Madden pulled down 14 rebounds.

Sophomore forward Rachel Woodward led USC (2-1) with 13 points and freshman Meghan Gnekow added 12 and junior Aisha Hollans 11. Guard Jessica Cheeks also led with six steals in the effort.

Kansas State threw the ball away seven times in the first seven minutes of the second half as the Trojans trimmed an 18-point lead to 10 with 13:34 left. The Wildcats eventually settled down and went on a 10-0 run to take a 21-point lead with 9:13 left.

The Women of Troy cut that lead to 10 again, but Madden scored with 1:45 left and the Trojans never got any closer.

'I definitely think we're pretty happy to get a win,' Ohlde said. 'We were all cheesing in the locker room. But there's definitely some things we need to work on. They played solid defense and our offense wasn't as sharp as it can be.'

The Wildcats shot 46 percent while holding the Trojans to 31 percent. While forcing 29 KSU turnovers, the Women of Troy also collected 17 steals and 32 points on those possesions.

Wecker converted a three-point play to give Kansas State a 13-point lead with 11 minutes to go in the first half. The Trojans went on a 5-0 run to cut it to 23-15 before the Wildcats answered with an 11-2 run that gave them a 17-point lead. The Wildcats turned the ball over 13 times in the first half.

'If we had not come out so slow, we would have been in this game,' USC head coach Chris Gobrecht said. 'They are too good for you to spot them 15 points. But a lot of that's jet lag. They were all toasty warm in bed, while we were on airplanes.'

The Women of Troy return home on Thursday after playing three games in six days and changing time zones four times, playing games in Colorado and Kansas. USC will host New Mexico on Saturday, Nov. 23, at noon at the Sports Arena.

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