LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas State built an early 21-0 lead on Wednesday night, and used a strong second half shooting performance to defeat Kansas, 76-68, at Allen Fieldhouse. The win ends a four-game road losing streak and halts a three-game skid to Kansas.
K-State (11-16, 5-11 Big 12) dashed out to a 13-0 start by going 6-of-6 from the field, forcing two early Kansas (12-16, 5-11) timeouts in the first half. Leticia Romero registered a trio of jump shots, while Kindred Wesemann added a long 3-point field goal.
The Wildcats would build its early lead to 21-0 at 13:58 of the first half following three-point field goals from Romero and Wesemann. The Jayhawks did not register their first field goal until 12:19 of the frame, but used a 14-5 run to narrow K-State’s lead to 26-14 with 7:43 to play.
Kansas State would rebuild its lead to 16, 35-19, as Ashia Woods converted on an acrobatic layup. Kansas would cut the K-State lead to 11, 35-24, but a heads up play by Romero on an inbounds play gave K-State a 37-24 lead at the half.
The 37 points marked the most first half points by K-State in a Big 12 game this season and the most since scoring 39 against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 15, 2013. The Wildcats shot an even .500 from the floor (16-of-32) and turned the ball over just three times. Kansas shot a .320 field goal percentage and turned the ball over eight time resulting in seven points for K-State.
Both teams started the second half on a blistering pace from the field, as K-State was shooting .625 from the floor for 11 points, while Kansas was .714 for 15 points, as K-State held a 48-39 lead with 14:03 to play. Chantay Caron carded six of K-State’s first 11 points to begin the second half.
Kansas would cut the K-State lead to two twice, with the Wildcats holding a 53-51 edge with 8:22 remaining. A 7-0 run by the Wildcats over a two-minute stretch pushed K-State’s lead back to eight, 66-58, with 3:52 to play.
The Jayhawks cut K-State’s lead to five, 69-64, with 1:52 to play on a pair of free throws from Natalie Knight. The Wildcats responded as Romero found Wesemann open in the corner for a three with 1:31 remaining to give K-State a 72-64 advantage. Romero would connect on four free throws down the stretch to provide the final margin.
K-State saw three player reach double figures for the ninth time this season. Leading the way was Big 12 Freshman of the Year candidate Leticia Romero with 26 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals. This was her sixth game and her fifth in league action with 20 or more points.
Joining Romero in double figures were Wesemann, Ashlynn Knoll and Chantay Caron. Wesemann finished with a career-high 15 points, while Knoll added 12 off the bench. Caron, playing in her final game in her hometown, registered her first double figure effort of the season with 10 points.
For the night, K-State shot a season-high .574 from the field which included a season-best field goal percentage for a half at .682 in the second stanza.
Kansas State will conclude its final two-game road trip of the season on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats face No. 15/14 Oklahoma State in Stillwater at 1:30 p.m. The game will be available on the K-State Sports Network and for free at kstatesports.com/allaccess.