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K-State Women Overwhelm Houston in Second Half


MANHATTAN, Kansas ( – (11/12) K-State outscored Houston, 43-14, in the second half of Wednesday night’s game at Bramlage Coliseum to secure a 72-38 win over the Cougars. With the win, K-State has won 10 straight home games for the first time in the Jeff Mittie era. The Wildcats have also improved upon its season-best win streak with its eighth straight win.


K-State improved its record to 14-1 for the first time under the direction of head coach Jeff Mittie. This is the best start for K-State since opening the 2008-09 season with a 14-1 mark. In its history, K-State has opened a season 14-1 five times.

Senior Ayoka Lee improved upon her own school record with the 54th double-double of her career with 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 11 rebounds including a season-high eight offensive boards, two blocks and two steals.

Junior guard Serena Sundell notched 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, three assists, three steals and a blocked shot. The product of Maryville, Missouri, closed to within eight points of 1,000 for her career.

Redshirt freshman Zyanna Walker came off the bench to card 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, four rebounds and a career-high four steals.

– Leading by five at halftime, 29-24, K-State (14-1, 2-0 Big 12) would string together a 20-0 run to build a 51-29 lead with 1:59 remaining. Lee would score nine of the 20 points during the run. The Wildcats held the Cougars without a field goal for over six and a half minutes during the stretch.
– The Wildcats would end the third quarter with a 51-33 lead and holding Houston to 4-of-14 shooting (.286).
– Defensively, K-State would be even better in the fourth quarter, as the Wildcats held the Cougars to 1-of-12 (.083) shooting from the field in the frame. Houston would make its only field goal in the fourth quarter with 42 seconds remaining on a layup.
– Offensively in the final stanza, K-State opened the period with a 14-0 run and built a 65-33 lead with 3:31 remaining.
– K-State outscored Houston in the final frame, 21-5, equaling the fewest points allowed by the Wildcats in a fourth quarter this season (5, at Little Rock, 11/11/23).
– For the entire second half, the Wildcats shot 50.0 percent (15-of-30) from the field and recorded 11 assists on the 15 made field goals.
– The 14 points allowed by K-State in the second half were the fewest allowed by K-State in a second half this season and the fewest since allowing nine to Clemson on November 24, 2022.
– The 38 points allowed were the fewest K-State has surrendered in a Big 12 game since holding Oklahoma State to 38 points on February 20, 2022.
– K-State ended the night shooting 49.1 percent (27-of-55) from the field and shot 76.5 percent (13-of-17) from the free throw line.
– Houston shot 28.8 percent (15-of-52) from the floor including 20.0 percent (4-of-20) and were forced into 25 turnovers.

– K-State leads the series with Houston, 3-0. Head coach Jeff Mittie is 12-6 (.667) in his career against Houston.
– The Wildcats are 221-237 (.483) in Big 12 games.
– Mittie owns a career record of 632-363 (.635) and is 178-128 (.582) during his 10-seasons at K-State.
– K-State owns a record of 388-154 (.716) during its 36-seasons in Bramlage Coliseum. Mittie is 118-46 (.720) in home games with the Wildcats.
– K-State’s 10-game home court winning streak is the longest home court winning streak in the Mittie era, which started with the final two home wins of the 2022-23 season.
– K-State owns a record of 236-88 (.728) as an AP ranked team. K-State is 28-5 (.848) all-time when ranked 11th in the nation.

– K-State’s starting five consisted of guards: Jaelyn GlennSerena SundellBrylee GlennGabby Gregory and center Ayoka Lee. This was the 15th time this starting five has been used this season. This was the 102nd career start for Lee, the 93rd collegiate career start and the 47th start at K-State for Gregory, the 84th career start for Sundell, the 80th career start for Jaelyn Glenn and the 74th career start for Brylee Glenn.
– The Wildcats held a 29-24 lead at halftime on Wednesday. Under head coach Jeff Mittie, K-State is 142-17 (.893) when leading at halftime, including a 13-0 record this season.
– K-State shot 50.0 percent or better in three quarters on Wednesday. For the season, K-State owns 26 quarters with a field goal percentage of 50.0 percent or better.
– The Wildcats dished out 22 assists on Wednesday. When K-State hands out 20 or more assists over the last 16 seasons, the Wildcats are 89-7 (.927), including an 8-0 record this season. The Wildcats have handed out 20 or more assists in seven of its last eight games.
– K-State registered a 41-26 advantage in rebounds on Wednesday. This is the 13th time K-State has outrebounded its opponent this season (12-1).

– Lee recorded her 93rd career game with 10 or more points and her 44th career game with 20 or more points, including her eighth this season. Lee has scored in every game of her career (102 games).
– Lee hauled in 11 rebounds on Wednesday. Lee’s career total for rebounds stands at 1,012, second in school history. She needs 76 rebounds to pass Kendra Wecker (2001-05; 1,087) for the school record for career rebounds. This was Lee’s 56th career game with 10 or more rebounds and her 93rd career game with five or more rebounds.
– Lee improved her career blocked shot total to 268 and remains second in school history for career blocks. This was Lee’s 73rd career game with two or more blocked shots. Lee needs 15 blocked shots to pass Breanna Lewis (282; 2013-17) for the school career record.
– Sundell notched her 52nd career game with 10 or more points, including her seventh this season.
– Sundell recorded two connections from 3-point range on Wednesday. This was her 18th career game with two or more 3-point field goals made.
– Gregory dished out a career-high nine assists on Wednesday. This was Gregory’s eighth career game with five or more assists and her fifth this season.
– Zyanna Walker tallied her seventh game this season with 10 or more points. This was Walker’s sixth game with five or more made field goals.
– Taryn Sides handed out five assists on Wednesday. This was her eighth game this season with five or more assists.
– Jaelyn Glenn pocketed two steals on Wednesday. This was Glenn’s 46th career game and her eighth this season with two or more steals.
– Jaelyn Glenn hauled in seven rebounds on the night. This was her 34th career game and her sixth this season with five or more rebounds.

K-State Head Coach Jeff Mittie

On what changed for the team in the second half…
“Well, I think our team has pride. I think they take pride in what they do, so obviously I was not very happy with the first half, I was not happy at all. Right now we’ve got two extremes. Offensively we’re either really hard to stop, or [we’re] really inconsistent, and we’ve got to solve that here quickly. Defensively, we’ve been pretty consistent. But offensively tonight, boy 15 turnovers, man my head was splitting at halftime. I haven’t recovered from that headache even with the second half. But I do think our team, you know, they take pride in what they do and they wanted to come out and play better.”

On if Ayoka Lee needed to play better in the first half…
“No, I think it was just our guard play. I thought our guard play was too indecisive. We weren’t pass faking very well. We were really weak with the basketball, and these are just fundamental things that you’ve got to be able to do. I think that Houston has good active hands. They get people to turn it over for a reason. But I didn’t think Houston pressured us as much as we’d seen on film. They have really been way more chaotic than that in games. And so I think it was a lot more of us than it was them. Now to their credit, I do think they got their hands up high when we were trying to throw the lob and they deflected a lot of those passes. I’ll have to look at it on film tonight and see, but my initial reaction is we were just really indecisive with the ball.”

On what adjustments were made at half to cut down on turnovers…
“We’ve got an eye test that we give them to make sure they know what color jersey we’re wearing. I’m just kidding. No, really the only adjustment we made was, one of the things that they were doing differently than they’d shown was they were really heavy on defending ball screens, and with us they were switching up more than going over the top and hard hedging it, and our players weren’t making a very good adjustment. So some of their players were switching, and some were handling it differently so we just simplified it at halftime. This is not a read any longer we are screening the ball and we’re going to delay our dive to the basket. And what we ended up getting early was a forward on Serena [Sundell] and a smaller player on Gabby [Gregory]. And so that was just an early adjustment and we moved that around a little bit, but that was it. I just think we were way more decisive the second half than we were the first half, and maybe just cleaning it up. Sometimes you can tell them the wrong thing to do. And if they do it with conviction and they do it with a commitment level they end up playing better, and it might be the wrong read. So that was it.”

On the team getting off to a slow start offensively…
“I don’t think it’s abnormal for teams to have a little slower start, I really don’t. I think that the easy answer is you have to take care of the ball. The easy answer is we have to have balance in there, and Lee’s got to get some touches earlier, and blah, blah, blah. That’s the easy answer. I think one of the things from a basketball perspective is I’m not calling a lot of plays right now [early in the game]. I do think it’s important that we figure out how they’re guarding our flow offense. And so therefore maybe we will get off to a little slower start, because maybe it’ll take 3, 4, 5, 6 possessions to get a feel for that. Tonight it took 20 minutes for that. We’d like to correct that sooner, but it was what it was.”

On why the team has been so successful in the third quarter this season…
“I think we’ve got a smart team. I think that they’re having good discussions in the locker room, before we get in there. It honestly isn’t any big adjustment that I’m doing. It’s not some Knute Rockne speech, it’s not some big adjustments that we’re making. They’re very subtle reminders, of this is what we practice. This is what we can do. There might be a few things schematically, but ultimately when I’ve come into that locker room, I’ve liked their suggestions and their thoughts on things.”

On the performance this year from freshman guard Taryn Sides
“I think she has played very well. I think she makes adjustments very well. The game at times is still going fast for her. You hear that term a lot in football, particularly with quarterbacks. But she usually comes back in the second rotation and has a better feel of what she can get away with. Right now we’re trying to make sure that we’re preparing her for what she’s going to face, heavy ball pressure, active hands, more size on her. The bounce pass [and] the pocket pass has got to be a focus of hers, and I thought she made some really good passes tonight. And she plays more comfortably every time she’s out there. She’s got a really bright future, smart kid. Her assist to turnover ratio is probably the best of any freshman I’ve had. And she’s another one that just seems to make a lot of right plays. And she comes from a coaching family, so she’s probably been coached since she was three or four years old.”

On the performance this year from freshman guard Zyanna Walker
“Yeah, I think Zy [Zyanna Walker] is doing a lot. I think she got off to a little rough start handling the ball tonight. But defensively [she] was excellent. She got herself going that way in transition. I thought in the second half she made a lot of really good, smart cuts. She’s becoming a smarter offensive player in terms of our offense. She’s young in this, so I think she’s played really, really well. I think with both of them [Walker and Sides], we’ve had them on the floor in clutch moments, you go on the road at Iowa, you go to North Carolina, subbing both of them in and out in particular situations. So they’re playing very well, and I think they’re doing very well for young players.”

Houston Head Coach Ronald Hughey
On the difference Ayoka Lee makes after not facing her last season…
“Tremendous, tremendous. When you have a weapon like that she’s an anomaly, you know, it’s just nobody has that– you can count on your hand, one hand, around the country who has that and she’s a difference maker. You can see we tried everything we could, you know, you can trap her, we wanted to try to do that, but she could see over the top of everybody. She can make passes out, she can catch the ball and be able to finish over the top. She does a really good job of not rushing, getting the chance to catch in position, if she can’t make a move she just passes the ball out and tries to repost. The thing that the team does really well is they understand who she is, she don’t have to be the most, the fastest person at posting or doing those things, they just moved the ball around, let her sit on one block and bring it back to her. They just moved the defense and they do a really good job of that and throwing the ball inside to her.”

On the Houston team being scrappy…
“It is. You know, we used to do it with our press and a half court. But again, we couldn’t be up the line on the line like we wanted to just the disruption of the offense with different passes and things like that because we would have spread ourselves so thin it wouldn’t let her [Lee] one on one inside to really score 60 and so we didn’t want to do that. So we had to change the plan a little bit just to kind of compact it in some to be able to take care of her.”

On what K-State did differently in the second half…
“You know, the thing is, they want to make sure they got up on the screens. And they did a really good job of getting up onto the ball screens of us and we want to re-screen it. When we came back the risk screen that they held off on the weak side so much that when we passed it, that person needed to be able to make some shots and we took some good shots we just didn’t make them, you know. That’s the thing, we made four 3’s in the first half and then come back all those 3’s were rimming out in the second half to be able to take control of Laila [Blair], we understand she’s at the top everybody’s scout reports so we try to have her score in different ways to get her in some ISO positions, get her the ball off the wings, off ball screens, get in the middle of the floor, let her operate by herself but again when you have Lee down there and Laila usually can get by the first person but you got Lee, she’s gonna run into her, Lee blocked the shot, also caused some turnovers just by coming and being huge over the top of her. So again, it’s really really hard to be able to run your offense a bit but score in the paint with her.”

K-State Senior Center Ayoka Lee

On the changes in the second half…
“Yeah, I think it just came down to settling into our offense. And I think that’s been like a theme game to game and tonight it just took longer. I think just like timing wise, and then trusting that I think the second half I was more confident that the guards were gonna get in where the first half I was like, ‘oh, like I think they see me, I don’t know if they think they can get the pass in,’ so I think that was the biggest difference.”

On adjusting when opposing teams defend the post…
“Like what we have been seeing is just a double team off the bat, but then when we skip it, typically it’s open.
And then in transition, it’s typically open, so just finding early opportunities and then knowing– Coach Mittie calls it the hockey assists, like the guards knowing ‘okay, I can’t get it in but once I pass it once or twice and that’s going to be a good opening’ and then like playing well against their defense knowing like if they’re switching knowing we’re going to have it on like fake handoffs, or ghosting it. Just like those types of things.”

On her feelings scoring the first nine points of the second half…
“That’s a great question, is there a feeling I get? I don’t think when I’m in it, I don’t think so. I think I’m very present, I’m very intentional with like my post ups. But then once we get going I’m like ‘oh, like that was a really good stretch.’ I can’t tell that like once I’m in it, but then you know, a few minutes go by we keep playing like ‘oh okay, that was pretty good,’ and my teammates do a good job of like, helping me celebrate those things.”

On the difference between Serena Sundell and Taryn Sides running point…
“First I have all the confidence in anyone who’s running point. I think Taryn has done a great job stepping in at any time when like Serena can’t take it or when Serena’s playing off the ball. So like I’m not at all ever worried about it. I think the difference I mean, obviously me and Serena have played together longer so it’s a bit easier to read like her drives and when she wants to dump it. But I think Taryn did a great job of like doing that tonight like she had a lot of great assists. And like there’s a lot of good stretches. So there’s a difference but when I’m playing I don’t know if I really can tell. I mean obviously her [Serena] hitting two 3’s coming back and I was like she’s back and she’s hot.”

On the contributions from the freshmen in conference play…
“Yeah, I like agree with that. I think they’ve done a really good job of just like adjusting to the role that they’re in. I think with Imani [Lester] once we started conference, I feel like I’ve seen just like a big confidence boost and how she’s playing especially on defense and offense, she’s finishing really well. So that’s been just so fun to see. And then Zy, yeah Serena couldn’t have said it better and Taryn also just done a great job and they’re all fun to play with. They all provide I think a spark of energy just on offense and defense like good minutes for us.”

K-State Junior Guard Serena Sundell
On the changes the team makes in the third quarter …
“I think first of all we’d like to have that jump sooner in the game and make adjustments sooner but I think one of our biggest things that’s been helping us is in halftimes we go in the locker room and before Coach Mittie even in there we’re talking to each other about offensively, what are we seeing, defensively, what are we seeing, without any coaches involved and I think that’s been a big thing going out in the third quarter. And we knew this game that we did not play very well the first half so that we were all just really focused on going out second half and practicing the things that we know make us good and putting those out into court and executing well.”

On the contributions from the freshmen in conference play…
“I think they’re just really fun to play with, like Yokie was saying I think that’s a tough question of how it is when I’m off the court but she’s [Taryn] done a great job of we want that transition when I’m off court to be as smooth as possible and we don’t play exactly the same, but she’s going to get in the game and take care of the ball and make good reads and be a floor general in a way so I think she’s done a great job, which is with her leadership and obviously Zy [Zyanna Walker] is someone who can come in and create for herself and give us baskets that we need and stretches where we can’t seem to score the ball so they both just been really huge players for us this year and they’re doing their roles really well.”

K-State travels to Orlando, Florida, as the Wildcats face UCF at 1 p.m. (CT). Saturday’s game can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and can be heard on the K-State Sports Network, online at, or on the K-State Sports app. Saturday’s game will also be available on SiriusXM channels 111 or 201 and on the SiriusXM app.