DALLAS –- Kansas State didn’t give Missouri a chance.
The Wildcats made quick work of Missouri, scoring 48 points in the first half en route to a 79-58 victory Wednesday at Reunion Arena.
The loss eliminates Missouri (17-12) from the Big 12 Tournament and snaps a four-game winning streak.
Second seed Kansas State (24-4) started the game with the conference’s hottest hands in both field goals and 3-pointers and made quick use of both. The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead behind a 66.7 percent shooting performance in the first half.
“I think we faced a team today that can play for a national championship,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. “They were red-hot. If we had a defensive breakdown they scored, and when we played great defense they scored.”
Defending paint opens perimeter for Kansas State
Seventh seed Missouri contained Wildcats center Nicole Ohlde, who scored four in the first half, but at a cost.
Four Wildcats combined for eight 3-pointers in the first half. Kansas State made four of its first-half 3-pointers during a 14-2 run. Junior guard Laurie Koehn made 5-of-7 3-pointers to finish with 15 points. It was the eighth time this season that Koehn made five or more 3-pointers in game.
“Any opportunity you have to exploit a defense you want to maximize that and I think we did that tonight,” Wildcats coach Deb Patterson said.
The Wildcats used its transition game to keep the Tigers on the defensive. Kansas State scored 21 fast-break points in the first half, including all four 3-pointers during its 14-2 run.
“I thought we felt really comfortable on the offensive end, pushing the ball up the floor when we had the chance,” Wildcats forward Kendra Wecker said. “I thought we played great defense, getting the rebounds out quick and getting some transition buckets.”
Wecker drives Kansas State with 25 points
Wecker’s ability to hit the outside shot and her quick moves to the basket made her difficult to stop. She made 12-of-17 shots to lead the Wildcats with 25 points.
Stein said she is proud of the way her team never gave up in the second half, but knew the game could have been worse if Patterson had not benched her starters for long periods during the game.
“Honestly, Kansas State could have killed us by 50 points,” Stein said. “I thought they were very kind.”
ALMOST AN ALL-AMERICAN: Unrau is a finalist for the NCAA Division I Kodak/ Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American team honors.
OHLDE PUTS PRESSURE ON BIG 12 POSITION: With her 14-point performance Wednesday, Ohlde has 2,175 career points and needs 12 points to tie Phylesha Whaley as the all-time leading scorer in Big 12.