Wildcats Tally First Road Win of Season

LOS ANGELES With a valuable performance from junior forward Marlies Gipson, Kansas State ended a six-game road losing streak on Saturday evening with a 70-47 win over Loyola Marymount in the championship game of the LMU/Hilton LAX Holiday Classic. The win by the Wildcats was the first road victory since a 66-59 win on Feb. 11, 2007 at Texas Tech.


Gipson garnered tournament most valuable player honors after she finished with her second straight double-double and her fourth in five games, as she tallied a game-high 16 points and 13 rebounds. For the weekend, Gipson averaged 14.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and three blocks per contest.


Also in double figures for the Wildcats were junior guard Shalee Lehning with 13 points to go with eight rebounds and six assists. Lehning was named to the all-tournament team with Gipson after averaging 10.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists. Freshman forward Jackie Stanley also chipped in with 11 points and four rebounds off the bench for the Wildcats.


For the night, Kansas State (7-5) was 43.9 percent from the field and held a 49-37 advantage on the boards. The Wildcats held Loyola Marymount (8-7) to a 28.6 field goal percentage, rejecting eight attempts and forcing the Lions into 12 turnovers.


Kansas State was the beneficiary of a pair of three-point plays from sophomore guard Kari Kincaid, who made her second straight start for the Wildcats, that helped K-State race to a 21-5 lead with 12:18 to play in the first half.


The Wildcats finished the half strong, as Gipson and Lehning each tallied 10 points and nine and six boards, respectively, as K-State staked itself to a 41-23 halftime advantage. This was the highest road first half point production for K-State this season, as the Wildcats connected on 54.8 percent of its field goal attempts in the opening stanza (17-of-31).


K-State’s defense also picked up where it left off against Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday evening, as the Wildcats forced Loyola Marymount into eight turnovers and a 25.8 percent field goal percentage while not allowing a Lion field goal for the final 4:14 of the first half.


The Wildcats took control of the contest in the second half with a 22-9 run, highlighted by six points from Gipson and four from Dietz, pushing the lead to its largest margin at 63-32 with 8:25 to play.


Kansas State will return to Manhattan to play its first game of the year 2008 on Jan. 2 against Western Illinois. Game time is set for 7 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum. The contest can be heard on the K-State Sports Network and at www.kstatesports.com.