K-State Upsets No. 14 St. John's

Mariah White tallied a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds during Saturday's win.

Nov. 13, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Behind a career-high performance from Mariah White, Kansas State was able to pull the upset of No. 14/16 St. John’s in Saturday afternoon’s championship game of the Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic, 64-53.

K-State (2-0) has now won 13 of the 16 Wildcat Classics, while also extending their winning streak in the event to 10 games. St. John’s (1-1) dropped their first contest of the 2010-11 season after defeating Marist in its first round game on Friday. The win marked the first time K-State defeated a ranked opponent since taking down No. 18 Iowa State on January 31, 2010.

Defense was the key to victory for the Wildcats, who held St. John’s to just 27.1 percent from the field on 19-of-70 shooting. The Red Storm did not hit their mark on any 3-pointers in the contest, going 0-for-7 from beyond the arc.

Despite St. John’s having 24 more field goal attempts than the Wildcats, K-State was able to convert on 20 of their 46 attempts to provide the difference against the Red Storm.

White posted career high numbers in both points (17) and rebounds (9) to lead the Wildcats in both categories, marking the first time in her career that she has led the team in either category. Eight of her 17 points came on free throws, where White put the game on ice for the Wildcats, with all 11 of her attempts from the charity stripe coming in the last five minutes of the contest.

K-State spread the ball around on offense with three players joining White in double figures. Branshea Brown tallied a career-high 14 points, while blocking a career-best four shots. Also in double figures were sophomore guard Brittany Chambers with 12 and junior forward Jalana Childs with 10.

St. John’s Nadirah McKenith led all scorers with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field. She was the only Red Storm player to break into double digits, with Shenneika Smith chipping in nine points.

Both teams battled it out early on in the second half, with the lead changing hands six times along with five different ties over the first 12 minutes of play. K-State took the lead for good at the 8:31 mark, on a jumper from Childs to bring the score to 38-36.

The Wildcats broke the game open late in the contest with a 3-pointer for guard Taelor Karr, marking her first points in the game to give K-State a nine-point advantage with 2:39 to play. St. John’s managed a late surge to cut the Wildcat lead to a little as five points with under a minute to play, but White’s clutch free throw shooting was enough to close out the victory.

The Wildcats shot out of the gate, opening the game with a 14-4 run over the first eight minutes of the contest by pounding the ball inside where Brown and Childs combined for 10 of the 14 points.

St. John’s stormed back though, going on a 12-0 run of its own, capped off by McKenith to take the Red Storm’s first lead of the contest, 16-14. During the St. John’s run, K-State was held scoreless over a span almost eight minutes. Both teams played aggressive defense over the final four minutes of the half, with the game tied at just 18-18 going into the halftime break.

The 16th annual Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic All-Tournament Team was announced at the conclusion of the championship game. Representing K-State were Childs (MVP) and White, while St. John’s was represented by McKenith and Da’Shena Stevens, with Marist’s Brandy Gang rounding out the squad.

Kansas State will return to action in Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday, as the Wildcats host Indiana State at 7 p.m. The game is part of the Wildcat Weekday 4 Pack, as fans can purchase four general admission tickets and four concession vouchers for just $30. Tickets can be purchased by calling (800) 221-CATS, in person at the K-State Athletic Ticket Office or by visiting www.kstatesports.com.