K-State Wins Third Straight with 68-53 Victory

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Ashley Sweat scored a season-high 21 points and Kimberly Dietz added 13 as Kansas State downed Western Illinois, 68-53, Wednesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas State won its third-consecutive game for the first time since downing Southern Illinois, Illinois, and Auburn in last year’s WNIT. The three game winning streak also marks the longest regular season streak since winning nine-in-a-row from Nov. 25 to Dec. 30 last season.

Sweat led K-State’s charge as she notched her fifth-career 20-point game on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, hitting on 2-of-4 from three-point range, while Dietz was 3-for-7 from behind the line. Overall, Kansas State (8-5) connected on 48.3 percent from the field, going 28-for-58, its best shooting performance since a 54.2 percent mark in its last home game against Texas State on Dec. 16. Western Illinois (3-9) could only muster a 37.5 percent clip from the field as it dropped its third straight.

Both teams got off to slow starts as they didn’t reach double-digits until the 12:01 mark when K-State took an 11-10 advantage after being down 10-7 a minute earlier. Western Illinois cut the lead to one at 16-15 heading into a media timeout at the 7:56 mark.

Kansas State was poised to make a run following the media break, but a a shot clock malfunction caused play to halt for 13 minutes. The break proved to be just what the Wildcats needed as they went on a 15-7 run over the next 3:39 to pull out to a nine-point lead at 31-22. However the Westerwinds scored six of the half’s final eight points to pull the margin to five at 33-28 going into the lockerroom.

Western Illinois continued its run after the break to pull within four at 35-31, but K-State went on a 6-0 run over the next 2:52 capped by Sweat’s three-pointer, which forced the Westerwinds to call a timeout.

After Western Illinois pulled within nine at 47-38 with 12:47 left, the Wildcats rallied to go on a 14-3 run over the next 4:48, capped by Shalin Spani’s three-pointer at the 7:59. Sweat scored seven of her game-high 21 during the run which helped the Wildcats cruise to the 15-point win.

K-State and Western Illinois tied with 34 rebounds apiece, but dominated the point 38-18 and scored 30 points off of 20 Western Illinois turnovers.

Kansas State gets a week off before it begins Big 12 play Jan. 9 as the Wildcats travel to College Station, Texas, to face Texas A&M. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.