Wildcat Surge Not Enough in NCAA Tournament

Brittany Chambers

March 20, 2011

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STORRS, Conn. – The Kansas State Wildcats fell behind early against Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, and a second-half charge was not enough to advance to the second round and face No. 1 seed Connecticut. K-State (21-11) lost 53-45 to the Purdue Boilermakers (21-11) with guards on both teams putting on a show for the fans.

Sophomore Brittany Chambers carded her fourth career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. This was the first double-double for a K-State player in the NCAA Tournament since Kendra Wecker tallied 25 points and 12 rebounds against Bowling Green on March 19, 2005 in Seattle.

Fellow sophomore guard Taelor Karr joined Chambers in double digits with 14 points as the pair led the way for the Wildcats. Purdue’s top player Brittany Rayburn poured 21 points into the basket hitting 7-of-15 from the field. Rayburn came into the contest shooting 31.4 percent from 3-point range, but she was only 1-of-7 from deep thanks to Karr’s strong defense on the perimeter.

K-State is now 10-12 all-time in NCAA Tournament games after losing for just the third time in the first round of the tournament. The loss also keeps the Wildcats winless against the Boilermakers as Purdue has won all three contests the teams have played against each other.

Trailing by eight at the half, the Wildcats took a two-point lead with 13:32 to play, 29-27, with an 11-2 run to open the second half. K-State registered four points during the run from Branshea Brown, while Brittany Chambers poured in seven including a follow-up layup on a transition attempt to force a Purdue timeout.

Purdue clawed back into the game with an 18-2 run to take a 45-36 lead with 5:11 remaining. The Boilermakers’ rally was started with a three-point play from Brittany Rayburn, who also notched a three-point play to push Purdue out in front and break a 36-36 tie. Rayburn and Drey Mingo also collaborated on a pair of 3-pointers to extend the lead.

The Wildcats battled back with key buckets from Karr and Chambers. A deep 3-pointer from Chambers pulled the Wildcats within a point at 46-45 forcing Purdue to take a timeout with 2:10 remaining. From there, K-State struggled to convert any shots and Purdue scored the final seven points of the game.

K-State opened the game 0-of-12 from the field and went scoreless for the first seven and a half minutes of the game before Taelor Karr tallied a driving layup for K-State’s first points with 12:55 to play. The Wildcats’ defense was able to keep them in the game during this stretch, as K-State held Purdue to 22.2 percent shooting from the field and forced three turnovers.

The Wildcats pulled to within one, 9-8, on Chambers’ first 3-point field goal of the game with 9:24 to play. The connection from beyond the arc by Chambers was her 85th of the season and the 150th of her career to become the ninth player in school history to make 150 or more 3-point field goals in a career.

The Boilermakers built an 11-point advantage following the Chambers’ three, 21-10, with a 12-2 run highlighted by five points from Antionette Howard. A deep 3-pointer from Kelsey Hill and a layup from Chantay Caron brought K-State back to within six, 23-17. A layup from Drey Mingo before the end of the first half, provided Purdue with a 25-17 lead.

K-State tallied its lowest first half point total this season and its lowest first half shooting percentage this season with a 21.9 percent effort (7-of-32) and its lowest since Jan. 20, 2010 against Colorado (21.4 percent). The Wildcats were paced in scoring by Chambers and Karr with five each.

Kansas State closes the year 21-11 after advancing to its 12th NCAA Tournament in program history and eighth under head coach Deb Patterson. Chambers finished the season with 514 points and made 88 shots from long range to rank fifth in school history. This was the eighth 20-win season in the Patterson era as well.