Manhattan, KS — The chairs vibrated and the crowd roared as the starting five for Kansas State took the court against the mighty University of Connecticut. In front of a sold-out stadium, the largest NCAA women’s basketball attendance this year, the Wildcats took on No. 1 ranked Huskies.
Katie Lou Samuelson nailed her first three right off the bat, but it wouldn’t stop there. It was raining three’s for Samuelson as she put on the best act of the night finishing with a game-high 26 points including six makes from beyond the arc. It didn’t matter if a fan came for the Cats or the Huskies; this was a good game.
Samuelson made it easy for UConn, and they all saw she had the hot hand for the night.
“That always helps when you pass it to Katie Lou,” said UCONN head coach Geno Auriemma. “Our players are very, very good at finding Katie Lou.”
The Huskies made it tough to combat their threes and press, but K-State held on for all 40 minutes. Breanna Lewis let the crowd know it was also her time to shine with quick back-to-back layups and offensive rebounds. Lewis held her team together and walked away from the game with her head held high.
“I see so much potential… I’m really proud of our team,” Lewis said.
UConn defeated the undefeated Wildcats to continue their winning streak and improve to 9-0. The game held in Manhattan turned out to be a defining moment for the Huskies in showing them why they should stay No. 1. However, Kansas State never gave up and actually out-scored the Huskies 23-20 in the second quarter.
The UConn press not only created turnovers, but converted those turnovers into several points, as Samuelson, Kia Nurse and Napheesa Collier all finished with double-digit points.
However, K-State’s Lewis and Kindred Wesemann also stood their ground, and Lewis had a knock-out game with 18 points, four blocks and four steals not allowing the Huskies to steal the show. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the team couldn’t get out of the pit to come back from their first-half (45-31) deficit.
“They move the ball better than anyone in the country,” said Kansas State head coach Jeff Mittie. “She [Samuelson] does well getting the ball and has a high release. She can shoot over almost everybody.”
Although UConn stole the show tonight in Manhattan, the Wildcats overcame their jitters and never gave up. It may have been the Huskies for the main act, but Kansas State was never far behind.
By a final score of 75-58, the Huskies improve to 9-0 and remain atop the national rankings going into a short break until facing Ohio State on Dec. 19.