CANCUN, Mexico – Kari Kincaid’s career night off the Kansas State bench was not enough on Thursday night, as No. 18/19 Michigan State held off the Wildcats 68-65 in the Caribbean Challenge at the Moon Palace Resort. The Wildcats have now lost three straight and are 2-3 for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
Kincaid, a sophomore guard from Andover, Kan., registered a career-high 18 points on a career-high 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the three-point line. Senior guard Kimberly Dietz tallied her second straight double-figure effort with 16 points and added four assists.
Junior forward Marlies Gipson registered a season-high 13 rebounds to go with seven points, while junior guard Shalee Lehning neared a triple-double with a game-high eight assists, seven points and seven boards.
The Spartans (4-1) were led by 6-9 sophomore center Allyssa DeHaan with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds, while Kalisha Keane carded 19 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 5:28 to play in the second half.
Kincaid sparked the Wildcats late in the first half with consecutive three-point connections, her second make coming from at least 25 feet from the basket, to tie the game at 22.
K-State (2-3) fell behind 25-23 to the Spartans, but a third Kincaid 3-pointer gave the Wildcats a 26-25 advantage with 2:41 to play in the opening half. Marlies Gipson followed with a jumper and Kincaid buried her fourth 3-pointer of the half from the deep left corner for a 31-25 K-State lead with 1:20 to play in the half. The Wildcats took a 32-27 lead into the locker room.
Michigan State secured a six-point lead with 6:39 to play in the second half after a Courtney Davidson lay-in gave them a 55-49 lead. The Wildcats cut the lead to two, 55-53, with 5:28 remaining following a four-point run from Ashley Sweat, as she scored an acrobatic lay-in and a pair of free throws.
The Wildcats could not close the gap any further, as the Spartans extended the lead to seven on three separate occasions down the stretch. Kincaid attempted to bring the Wildcats back with a pair of three-pointers in the final 15 seconds, including a connection off the glass, for the final margin of three, 68-65.
Kansas State will return to Manhattan to host the 13th Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic on Nov. 30-Dec. 1. The first game between UTEP and Arkansas-Pine Bluff is set for a 3:30 p.m. tip-off in Bramlage Coliseum, followed by the Wildcats taking on Lipscomb at 6 p.m.