Wildcats Take Title with 65-56 Win

MANHATTAN, Kan. Ashley Sweat scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the first half and Kansas State pulled away late for a 65-56 win over Arkansas to take the Commerce Bank Classic title Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.


With the win, Kansas State remained perfect on the season at 7-0, while Arkansas dropped to 6-2 on the year. K-State also extended its home non-conference winning streak to 26 straight games. The Wildcats are now off to the best start under head coach Deb Patterson and the best unbeaten start since 1983-84.


Sweat led a trio of Wildcats in double figures with her 19 points, while Marlies Gipson added 16 and Kari Kincaid pitched in 13. Shalee Lehning dished out 10 more assists for the fifth time this season and also had six points and nine rebounds.


The two teams went back and forth in the first half as neither took a lead larger than six points. Shalin Spani’s three-pointer with 1:57 to go in the half bumped the Cats to a 34-28 lead before Arkansas closed the gap to 36-32 at the break. Sweat hit six of her first 10 shots in the first half to lead Kansas State.


More of the same transpired early in the second half until a jumper from Gipson and free throw by Jalana Childs with 10:27 to go upped the Wildcat lead to eight at 53-45. Kincaid’s three-pointer with 4:43 pushed the lead to double digits at 59-49 and the Wildcats took control at the free throw line to ice the win.


Sweat, who earned MVP honors on the weekend, was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates Lehning and Gipson, while Arkansas’ Cierra Ricketts and Whitney Jones rounded out the squad.


Ricketts led Arkansas with 18 points, while three other Lady Razorbacks scored in double figures.


Kansas State returns to action on Tuesday when Creighton visits Bramlage Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.