Women’s basketball falls just short at Kansas State

The Cougars were in it until the very end against the No. 4 team in the country Saturday afternoon, but ultimately the Kansas State Wildcats held on to get their 14th straight victory, which ties their previous consecutive win record set in 2008-2009.

The last few minutes of the game transpired as follows:

Down 62-56 with four and a half minutes remaining, Lauren Gustin made back-to-back layups to make it a one score game.

Gabby Gregory missed a layup for the Wildcats and on the other end, Emma Calvert (63% free throw shooting on the year) was unable to capitalize at the free throw line. Fortunately for BYU, teammate Kailey Woolston was right there to grab the miss and put it right back up to tie the game at 62 a piece with 2:52 remaining.

After the Woolston putback, the teams traded turnovers, followed by alternating trips to the foul line for the rest of the game.

With 57 seconds remaining, Kansas State went 1-2 from the free throw line. Then Amari Whiting took a turn at the charity stripe making both, putting the Cougars up 64-63.

Serena Sundell, who finished the game with 14 points and half of them coming at the free throw line, was then fouled by Gustin and made both putting the Wildcats up 65-64.

K-State Freshman Zyanna Walker was then fouled and went 1-2 at the line to put the Wildcats up two, 66-64, with 24 seconds left in the game.

Calvert was then fouled with a chance to tie the game with a pair of free throws but unfortunately only made one bringing the score to 66-65.

Sundell then went 1-2 from the line extending the lead to two, 67-65, for Kansas State.

In the last eight seconds of the game, Calvert, Woolston, and Smiler all attempted game tying shots, but none of them connected leaving the Cougars on the losing end of a seemingly David versus Goliath matchup.

BYU falls to 2-6 in the Big 12, but they played the conference’s No. 1 team down to the very end. In fact, the Cougars had a one-point lead with 44 seconds left.

Saturday afternoon’s performance proved that the Cougars can hang with the best of them in spite of their shaky conference play thus far.

Let’s crunch a few numbers to prove this point.

K-State leads the Big 12 and ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense (52.1 ppg). BYU scored 65. They are only the third team (out of 21) all season to score more than 60 points on the Wildcats.

The Wildcats lead the league and are No. 2 in the nation in FG percentage defense (.326). BYU nearly shot 50%.

Kansas State also leads the nation in 3-point FG percentage defense (.216). BYU shot double that (42%).

Furthermore, coming into this game, the Cougars only had the advantage over Kansas State in 2 out of 16 major statistical categories.

BYU came to play.

Gustin had another phenomenal game coming off a record breaking game last Saturday against Texas Tech. With Kansas State’s star center, Ayoka Lee, out with an ankle injury, Gustin took full advantage dropping a cool 25 points and 21 rebounds, her 2nd 20-20 game of the season.

10 of Gustin’s 25 came in the 4th quarter
Photo: Charlie Riedel Associated Press
#30 Gisela Sanchez scored her season high on Saturday against the Cougars
Photo: Charlie Riedel Associated Press

Gisela Sanchez, a sophomore from Spain, stepped up to fill the void left by Lee and led K-State in scoring with 18 on the afternoon.

The Cougars will hop on over to Lawrence, Kansas, next to the face the 10-10 Jayhawks, who also suffered a close loss on Saturday.

As seen on their X (Twitter) account, the Jayhawks recently revealed some pristine baby blue jerseys. We’ll have to see if they bring them out again Jan. 31 against the Cougars.

Regardless of the jerseys, Wednesday night will be an appealing competition as both teams look to bounce back and earn a coveted conference win.

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