Nelson Steps Up, Cats Advance

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Kansas State found a replacement for injured star Kimberly Dietz in Kelsey Nelson and ended the nation's longest winning streak.

The little-used reserve scored a career-high 20 points to help fifth-seeded Kansas State snap No. 12 Chattanooga's 24-game streak with a 69-59 victory Sunday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Shalee Lehning added 12 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists for Kansas State (22-9), which will play Louisville or Miami of Ohio on Tuesday night in the second round of the New Orleans regional.

Laura Hall scored 19 points and Brooke Hand added 15, hitting five 3-pointers for Chattanooga (29-4).

The Lady Mocs last lost Dec. 1 to Alabama A&M. Chattanooga's only other losses this season were to Tennessee and Louisville.

Trailing 37-31 early in the second half, Kansas State went on a 14-4 run. Nelson scored seven straight points during the spurt to give the Wildcats a 45-41 lead with 9:17 left. The junior guard easily surpassed her career highs in points (five), and minutes (13).

Kansas State coach Deb Patterson was forced to turn to Nelson with Dietz out with a knee injury she suffered in the Wildcats' loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament. Dietz had been averaging almost 14 points.

The teams traded baskets until Shanara Hollinquest hit one of two free throws with 3:25 left to cut the deficit to 56-55. The Wildcats scored the next four points to extend the lead to 60-55 on Ashley Sweat's layup.

Hall answered with back-to-back baskets to make it 60-59 with 1:22 remaining.

Lehning converted a three-point play to restore the four-point lead with 1:08 to go, and the Wildcats made their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Kansas State shut down Alex Anderson, the Southern Conference player of the year. She scored just nine points, nearly eight under her average. She was just 3-for-14 from the field.

After a sluggish start for both teams that saw Chattanooga leading 10-9 midway through the first half, the offense picked up. Kansas State scored seven straight points capped by Nelson's 3-pointer before Hand got hot. She hit three straight 3-pointers for the Lady Mocs to give Chattanooga a 22-18 lead with 6:22 left before break.

The Wildcats closed the half with a 7-2 spurt to take a 25-24 lead. Hand scored nine points and Hollinquest added seven for the Lady Mocs. Nelson led Kansas State with seven.

K-State will play the winner of the Louisville/Miami of Ohio matchup on Tuesday at 6 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2 at the Arena at Harbor Yard.