Cats Crush Kansas, 72-39

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Shalee Lehning had 14 points and 10 assists to help No. 20 Kansas State open defense of its Big 12 title with a 72-39 victory over rival Kansas on Saturday night.

Kansas State (14-0) is off to the best start in school history and has matched its second-longest winning streak, three behind the record set in 1981-82. The Wildcats have won nine straight home games.

Ashley Sweat scored 18 points, most coming on assists from Lehning, who also had six rebounds. Marlies Gipson anchored the defense, blocking five shots to give Kansas State its 15th win in 16 games against its in-state rival.

Kansas (11-3) had won four straight, but struggled mightily against the nation's best scoring defense, scoring a season-low in points and shooting 32 percent. Sade Morris was the only Kansas player in double figures with 12 points.

Lehning was at her do-it-all best early, knifing inside for shots under and around defenders' arms, driving and dishing to 3-point shooters on the wings. She set up Gipson for an easy basket midway through the first half by wrapping a bounce pass around a Kansas defender and later whipped a no-look pass to Sweat for another layup.

Lehning, the nation's assists leader (9.2), had eight by halftime, including three straight to Sweat in the closing minutes to put the Wildcats up 39-21.

It wasn't just Lehning. Kansas State played a near flawless first half, shooting 17-of-33 from the floor with just two turnovers, holding the Jayhawks to 9-of-24 shooting while forcing 11 turnovers.

The Wildcats continued to put pressure on Kansas in the second half, continuing to drive agressively to the basket, forcing difficult shots at the other.

Lehning was still going even with the game out of reach, racing the length of the floor then diving to save a loose ball off a defender - with 5:35 left and Kansas State leading 63-34.