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Lee Leads (12/16) K-State Women Past North Florida


MANHATTAN, Kansas ( – All-American candidate Ayoka Lee put together a near perfect evening for (12/16) K-State, as the Wildcats tallied a 79-53 win over North Florida on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.


K-State improved its record to 10-1 for the fourth time under the direction of head coach Jeff Mittie and the first time since 2016-17.

Lee registered a season-high 36 points on 15-of-17 shooting in just under 24 minutes of action, while also hauling in four rebounds and pocketing three steals. The product of Byron, Minnesota, extended her school record for 30-point games with her 13th and tallied the second-highest point total by a Big 12 player this season.

With her field goal percentage of .882, Lee’s performance ranks second in school history for a single-game with a minimum of 15 attempts, trailing her own school record of .889 at Oklahoma on March 7, 2021. Her 15 made field goals are tied for the second-most in the nation this season.

– K-State held a 37-25 lead at halftime, with Lee registering a perfect half of 9-of-9 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 from the foul line for 21 points.
– The Wildcats shot 53.6 percent (15-of-28) from the floor which included 13 assists on the 15 made field goals.  North Florida (4-7) kept the contest close in the opening half by shooting 52.4 percent (11-of-21) despite 16 first half turnovers.
– K-State bolted out of the locker room with an 11-0 run to build a 48-28 lead with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter. Gabby Gregoryrecorded the first five points of the run, while Lee scored the next six to force an Osprey timeout.
– The Wildcats would win the third frame, 25-18, building a 62-43 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
– K-State would go up by 25, 73-48, with an 11-4 run midway through the fourth quarter as Heavenly Greer capped the run with a contested layup with 3:37 remaining.
– The Wildcats ended the night shooting 51.6 percent (32-of-62) from the field and were a season-best 91.7 percent (11-of-12). K-State held a 52-18 advantage in points in the paint. This is the second time this season the Wildcats scored 50 or more points in the paint.

– K-State and North Florida met for the first time. The Wildcats are 9-0 against current members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
– K-State head coach Jeff Mittie owns a career record of 628-363 (.634) and is 174-128 (.576) during his 10-seasons at K-State.
– K-State owns a record of 385-154 (.714) during its 36-seasons in Bramlage Coliseum. Head coach Jeff Mittie is 115-46 (.714) in home games with the Wildcats.
– K-State has won 26 straight non-conference home games dating back to December of 2020. Kansas State is 226-29 (.886) against non-conference foes, while Mittie is 72-8 (.900).
– K-State owns a record of 232-88 (.725) as an AP ranked team. K-State is 14-4 (.778) all-time when ranked 12th in the nation.

– K-State’s starting five consisted of guards: Jaelyn Glenn, Serena Sundell, Brylee Glenn, Gabby Gregory and center Ayoka Lee. This was the 11th time this starting five has been used this season. This was the 98th career start for Lee, the 89th collegiate career start and the 43rd start at K-State for Gregory, the 80th career start for Sundell, the 76th career start for Jaelyn Glenn and the 70th career start for Brylee Glenn.
– The Wildcats held a 37-25 lead at halftime on Saturday. Under head coach Jeff Mittie, K-State is 138-17 (.890) when leading at halftime, including a 9-0 record this season.
– K-State shot 50.0 percent or better in two quarters on Saturday night. For the season, K-State owns 17 quarters with a field goal percentage of 50.0 percent or better.
– The Wildcats dished out 26 assists on Saturday. When K-State hands out 20 or more assists over the last 16 seasons, the Wildcats are 86-7 (.925), including a 5-0 record this season. The Wildcats have handed out 20 or more assists in four straight games.
– K-State registered a 31-22 advantage in rebounds on Saturday. This is the 10th time K-State has outrebounded its opponent this season (9-1).

– Lee recorded her 90th career game with 10 or more points, her 41st career game with 20 or more points and the 13th game of her career with 30 or more points. Lee has scored in every game of her career (98 games).
– Lee hauled in four rebounds on Saturday. With her total, Lee tied former teammate Peyton Williams (2016-20; 967) for third in school history for career rebounds with 967.
– With her block on Saturday, Lee improved her career total to 255 and ranks third in program history. Lee needs three blocked shots to pass Marlies Gipson (2005-09; 257) for second in school history.
Taryn Sides handed out a career-high nine assists on Saturday. This was her fifth game this season with five or more assists.
– Gregory dished out six assists on Saturday, her eight career game and her fourth this season with five or more assists.
– Gregory hauled in five rebounds on Saturday. This was her 51st career game and her fifth this season with five or more boards.
Jaelyn Glenn matched her season-high with four steals on Saturday. This was Glenn’s 15th career game with four or more steals and her 44th with two or more steals.
Gisela Sanchez hauled in five rebounds, marking her ninth career game and her eightth this season with five or more rebounds.

K-State Head Coach Jeff Mittie

On what he told the team at half…
“We were having a little bit of trouble with that ball screen, I didn’t like where we were setting our defense. I felt like we were too deep and that was allowing them to come off that and be inside the elbows which is hard to guard. I thought we eventually got our defense set 24-25 feet, which pushed that ball screen up more so that gave us better options. I think we’re just better at defending it.”

On Ayoka Lee’s Success…
“I think Ayoke [Lee] will tell you it’s never as easy as she makes it look. You got to fight for position, if it were that easy, a lot of people [would] be putting up numbers like that. She does a great job of timing and fighting for position and has great hands. I think our team is continuing to get better at getting her the ball. I don’t think I called one play for her today to get the ball. That’s one of the things that I’ve been wanting our team to continue to grow at, organically get her the ball. Then when the offense gets stagnant, I can call us up a set for her, but I thought our group was pretty good today.”

On Serena Sundell’s Injury…
“I think it’s okay. I think they ruled out the bad stuff. So, I think some drops and with some time she’ll be fine, but we’ll see.”

On Taryn Sides
“One of the things that she’s done a really good job of is not forcing the issue. I think she’s just stayed within herself and trusted the offense and that’s rare for a freshman, not to press a little bit and try to do too much. I think she’s just done a really good job, particularly over the last three or four weeks, of just letting the game come to her, and not trying to do too much.”

On the facets of the game they dominated and where they can improve…
“Inside we were able to get the ball to Lee. I did not think this was one of our better-focused efforts. I saw a lot of what looked like tired rotations, mentally tired mistakes of leaving our feet when we’re not supposed to leave our feet. Not uncommon coming out of finals week. These are high-level student-athletes, they compete in the classroom very well. We’ve had some players with 4.0 [GPA], so it’s a tiring week for them when they’re going through all the studying and the exams. We better lock it in because we’re playing a team that’s averaging 85 points a game and we’ve got a short turnaround, so I’m hoping that we can get some rest and have that mental fatigue where we bounce back and defend better.”

K-State Senior Center Ayoka Lee

On what allowed her to have 36 points…
“I think on offense we had really good timing, and just knowing when to get position, and trusting the guards to get it to me, and then just finishing around the rim.”

On if the size difference gave K-State an advantage…
“Oh, yeah. I think we all took advantage of that, against their press [and] inside. And our defense I think got better as the game went on in terms of using our length.”

On Taryn Sides stepping up after Serena Sundell’s injury…
“Yeah, I think she filled that role well. I know she’s used to scoring more, and I think that can be really hard for a point guard and a freshman if the shots are not falling or you’re not seeing open shots, but I think she did a really good job of just finding how she could contribute and filling that role well.”

On her first memory of Taryn Sides
“I think as an upperclassmen, [with the] freshman coming in, you’re always just skeptical, because you’re like, ‘how are they going to adjust to everything going on,’ and I think the cool part about college basketball is you get people from everywhere and everyone has a different background. So I don’t know if I really interacted with her much before she actually got here. But I think I’m always pleasantly surprised by our freshman and that’s the same thing with her. She’s a lot more spunky than I anticipated, and just fun. So yeah, probably just skeptical, and I don’t think that’s uncommon for me to be skeptical of the freshmen.”

K-State Senior Guard Gabby Gregory
On if playing as more of a facilitator was part of the game plan…
“Not really, I just think if you have a mismatch, you just throw it to whoever has the mismatch, and Ayoka [Lee] had the mismatch today, so it kind of made my job easy. Just catch it, and if she’s open, throw it to her.”

On how the team stepped up after Serena Sundell’s injury…
“I think Taryn stepped up and she played well. [She had] nine assists, so that’s pretty good.”

On the adjustments that Coach Mittie talked about during halftime…
“He really just told us we gotta play better. I think we understood that we just weren’t playing as good as we could have. Also credit to North Florida, they were just hitting shots, and sometimes you can play great defense, you can be there, and sometimes they’re just gonna make it, and I think there were a few times they were just making it, but they shot a pretty good percentage today. So I think it was good preparation for the next game. Coach Mittie was just talking that next up we have Oral Roberts, and they like to put up points and stuff, so it’s going to be the same type of thing. We have to really focus on our defense and locking people down.”

On her first memory of Taryn Sides
“My first memory I have of her was when we were playing a game last season, and she had come on a visit or something like that. It was like, not her official [visit] but it was just an unofficial [visit], she was already committed here and everything. And I remember I saw her and I was like, ‘oh, she’s so little.’ She was like, ‘Hi Gabby,’ she was just like a little baby. But she’s still kind of like a little baby but she plays like she’s way bigger than she is. But I think she’s come into her role really well, leading the country in assist-to-turnover ratio, that’s pretty incredible. So yeah, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with her play.”

K-State continues a three-game home stand on Monday, as the Wildcats host Oral Roberts at 6:30 p.m.