Kansas State shuts down Huskie women for 60-41 victory

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KANSAS STATE 60, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 41

Box score

MANHATTAN, KS---Kendra Wecker scored 20 points and Laurie Koehn added 15 to lead 12th-ranked Kansas State past visiting Northern Illinois 60-41 in non-conference women's basketball action Tuesday (Dec. 2).

The Wildcats defended their ranking in the latest Associated Press national poll, improving to 3-2 on the season. Northern Illinois dropped its second in a row, falling back to break-even at 2-2 after shooting just 26.5 percent (13-of-49) from the field.

"We couldn't find the hole tonight," Huskie coach Carol Hammerle lamented. "I was pleased with our execution and effort defensively. That wasn't the problem. It was our offense. We didn't want to run up and down the court with them, but we did that in the first half and were careless with the basketball. We need to be a lot smarter."

Kansas State scored 12 consecutive points to take control, claiming an 18-6 lead on Wecker's three-pointer with 12 minutes remaining in the opening half. Lindsay Secrest (Bloomfield, IN) finally ended a 7:45 scoreless streak with a jumper at the 10:18 mark and the Huskies eventually climbed back to within 21-15 on Joi Scott's jumper, but the visitors could get no closer. The Wildcat defense blanked NIU over the final 5:23 of the half and Wecker's basket sent the hosts to the locker room with a 27-15 advantage.

Northern Illinois made just five of 25 shots in the opening 20 minutes, compared to 11-of-26 accuracy for KSU. Eleven turnovers also contributed to NIU's first-half difficulties, with Kansas State posting a 12-0 scoring advantage in the paint and out-rebounding the Huskies 20-15 before intermission.

Stephanie Smith (Huntley / Hampshire) opened the second half with a tri-lighter, cutting the deficit to 27-18 before Kansas State ran off six unanswered points. Koehn's third triple stretched the gap to 33-18, and another Koehn trey started a 10-0 flurry to put the game out of reach. Wecker capped that run with a three-pointer of her own, giving the Wildcats a 47-27 lead with eight minutes to play.

"They (Kansas State) did a good job of keeping us out of the paint," Hammerle said, noting the 47-26 rebounding discrepancy in favor of the Wildcats. "They are definitely a Top 20 team. They played very intense and worked hard to keep us off the offensive boards, and our post players didn't make very good decisions."

The Wildcats led by as many as 24 points following two Wecker free throws at the 7:17 mark, pushing the margin to 54-30. The charity tosses capped an 18-3 run as NIU managed only a Smith triple over a stretch of 8:40.

Secrest led Northern Illinois with eight points, marking the second consecutive game with no Huskie scoring in double figures. Kristin Wiener (Apple Valley, MN / Holy Angels) added seven in her first collegiate start with Smith tallying six. NIU finished with the program's worst shooting night since a 25.8 percent showing during a 64-48 loss at Ball State on Feb. 20, 2002.

Koehn hit five of 14 shots behind the arc while Nicole Ohlde notched a double-double with ten points and a game-high 12 rebounds to go with five assists. Wecker also had 11 caroms plus four assists for the victors, who overcame 22 turnovers and modest 40.4 percent (23-of-57) shooting from the field. Kansas State outscored Northern Illinois 24-8 in the paint with nine second-chance points. The Huskies were unable to convert any of their five offensive rebounds into points and went without an offensive carom in the second half when the Wildcats dominated the glass, 27-11.

The Huskies attempt to snap their skid Saturday (Dec. 6), hosting recent nemesis Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

-30- -- Copy by Robert Hester