No. 21 KSU Downs Colorado On Senior Day
BOULDER – Kansas State senior guard Shalee Lehning had a triple double as the No. 21 (WBCA) Wildcats defeated Colorado 71-61 Saturday afternoon at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
With the loss, Colorado (11-17, 3-13 Big 12) will be the No. 12 seed in the upcoming Big 12 Conference Championship and will play a first round game on Thursday, March 12, at the COX Convention Center in Oklahoma City. The Buffaloes have to turn around and face Kansas State again, as the Wildcats will be the No. 5 seed. The complete bracket will be officially announced by the Big 12 on Sunday.
Lehning had 16 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for her first triple-double in Big 12 play.
Senior center Kara Richards, in her final home game, led CU with 19 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Brittany Spears had 18 points and six rebounds.
Kansas State (23-6, 10-6 Big 12) shot 48 percent in the first half and made 5-of-9 from 3-point range as the Wildcats built a 14-point lead in the first half.
Colorado was able to erase that deficit by the end of the half as the Buffaloes went on a 19-5 run to close the period. Spears scored six points during the run and Kelly Jo Mullaney added five points, including a 3-pointer with 2:17 remaining in the half to cut the KSU lead to 35-30.
Spears then stole the ball in the backcourt and laid it in to cut the lead to three. After Ashley Sweat hit a pair of free throws, Spears answered with another layup. The Buffaloes got a defensive stop and completed the comeback when Bianca Smith was fouled by Sweat on a 3-point attempt and sank all three free-throws for a 37-37 deadlock at the half.
However, the Wildcats did not let the Buffs' comeback shake them. In the second half, Kansas State came out tough and ready to play, scoring the first six points and pushing the lead back up to double digits in the first six minutes with an 18-6 run.
Lehning scored six points and dished out another two assists on that run to break the game open.
"The difference in the game was Shalee Lehning." CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said, "I think 12 assists is exceptional. You feel like you have them figured out, but she finds a way. When she comes out with a triple double like that it's hard to combat. They're a great team, but we need to play better."
Marlies Gipson had a game-high 21 points for Kansas State and grabbed eight rebounds. Sweat finished with 13 points and six rebounds.
Freshman guard Alyssa Fressle added 10 points and three steals for Colorado.