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Kansas State comeback falls short to Texas in Big 12 Women’s Tournament

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sixteenth-ranked Kansas State battled back to gain a late lead but couldn’t hold off fifth-ranked Texas in a 71-64 loss in the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament semifinals.

Texas raced out to a 13-6 lead halfway through the first quarter thanks to five points from Shaylee Gonzales including a three-pointer before the first KSU timeout.

Kansas women end Big 12 Tournament with loss to Texas

The quarter ended with a 24-14 K-State deficit as Serena Sundell (4) and Ayoka Lee (10) were the only points scorers for the Wildcats while the Longhorns had six different scorers.

Sundell exited the game for some time in the second quarter after bleeding from the mouth as K-State and Texas went tit for tat in scoring, but the deficit remained in the double digits halfway through the second quarter at 33-22.

The Wildcats cut that deficit to 38-30 with a 6-0 run to end the half.

Despite being the focus of Texas’ defense, Lee recorded 18 points (8-11 FG) and seven rebounds. The next closest Wildcat scorers were Jaelyn Glenn and Sundell who both allotted four points.

Texas had six different scorers led by forward Aaliyah Moore with nine points.

KSU was also 0-3 from three in the first half while shooting 53.8% from the field.

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Texas opened the half with some quick buckets to get their lead to 10 before Gabby Gregory hit a three to cut the lead to 42-37 with six and a half minutes to go.

Gregory went back and forth with Big 12 Player of the Year Madison Booker who hit mid-range jumpers while Gregory hit another three before Booker scored on a layup to go with a foul to put Texas’ lead back at 49-40 with less than five minutes to go in the third.

Six total points were scored the rest of the quarter with KSU taking a 51-44 deficit to the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats cut the deficit to 51-47 with 6:48 to go in the game, the lowest deficit for KSU since early in the first quarter.

A Lee And-1 and free throw cut the deficit down to 53-50 with less than six minutes to go and two Sundell free throws brought Kansas State within one.

Texas’ Deyona Gaston picked up her fourth foul for Sundell to hit the line. She was the Longhorns’ top option to guard Lee in the post.

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A Moore bucket got Texas’ lead back to three before a Lee layup put the deficit back at one.

A three from Kansas City native Brylee Glenn gave KSU the first lead of the game before Booker’s layup hushed the raucous K-State crowd.

Two Glenn free throws gave K-State a 59-57 lead before a Gaston rebound and putback off of a Shaylee Gonzales miss tied the game with 2:33 to go.

Gonzales hit a layup while being fouled but missed the next free throw while Glenn tied the game with a layup at the other end.

Texas senior Shay Holle then hit a three to take a 64-61 lead with 1:13 to go. After a K-State miss and foul, Holle scored a layup off of an inbound pass to put the Longhorns up 66-61.

Lee ended the game leading the team with 25 points and 10 rebounds. The senior also left the game as the third all-time leading scorer in program history.

Sundell was the only other double-digit scorer with 10 points and six assists and four rebounds to go with it. Glenn finished with nine points.

KSU also shot 49% from three and 27.3% from three. The Wildcats also struggled to get to the free-throw line before the second half only attempting three free throws in the first half and finishing hitting 11 of 14 from the charity stripe.

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Four of UT’s five starters scored in the double digits led by Booker who scored 17 points with three assists.

The 25-7 Wildcats now wait for Selection Sunday where some experts have them as a 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Two-seed Texas will face 4-seed Iowa State in the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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