LOS ANGELES – Despite playing in a half-lit gym for a significant duration of the second half, Kansas State defeated Arkansas-Little Rock 52-40 on Friday evening in the LMU/Hilton LAX Holiday Classic at Gersten Pavilion.
The Wildcats (6-5) were led by senior guard Kimberly Dietz, who tallied a game-high 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. Also in double figures for K-State was junior forward Marlies Gipson with 12 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high four blocked shots. This was the third double-double for Gipson this season and the ninth of her career.
Junior guard Shalee Lehning narrowly missed carding her third career triple-double, as she finished with eight points, a game-high 12 rebounds and eight assists.
Kansas State held a 31-24 lead at the half over the Trojans (8-4), as Gipson and Dietz had eight and seven points, respectively. As K-State set up for its third offensive possession of the second stanza with a 34-24 lead, half of the lights in Gersten Pavilion went dark. The officials consulted with both teams and each coach agreed to play with the available light in the arena. Power was eventually restored with eight minutes to play in the contest.
The Wildcats quickly turned the lights out on UALR with the benefit of a 17-2 run to open the half and push the lead to 48-26 with 10:43 to play on a Dietz three-point field goal. The K-State defense was solid for the entire second half, including a 12:38 stretch to open the half in which UALR was 1-of-20 from the field.
K-State finished the night with a .383 to 258 edge in field goal percentage and a 45-38 advantage in rebounds.
Kansas State will conclude action at the LMU/Hilton LAX Holiday Classic on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT against the winner of Loyola Marymount and Cal State Bakersfield.