Kansas State’s Ashia Woods was more surprised than anyone at Bramlage Coliseum when the ball fell through the net.
Woods, a senior from Wichita, intended to send a pass to teammate Breanna Lewis under the basket late in the second half of a 58-52 victory over Kansas on Sunday. Instead, it sailed high and through the hoop. Woods raised her hands in disbelief and grinned at the good fortune.
That’s the kind of afternoon it was for the Wildcats, who rallied from an early 14-point deficit to knock off the Jayhawks in the Sunflower Showdown.
"I planned it," Lewis said with a chuckle. "I was just trying to fool everyone like it was a pass. I was so surprised. I thought it was going out of bounds. It confused me and threw me off. But, hey, it still counts as two."
Everything went right for the Wildcats as they mounted their largest comeback of the season.
Behind 15 points from Woods, 13 points from Lewis and 11 points from Kindred Wesemann, K-State (11-3, 1-2 Big 12) pulled to within 35-28 at halftime and took the lead on a contested layup from Lewis 5 minutes into the second half.
As it found a scoring groove, its defense also picked things up a notch, forcing the Jayhawks (9-7, 0-3) into 23 turnovers.
Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said that is where the game was lost, blaming many of the giveaways on unforced errors.
"Stop turning the ball over," Henrickson said. "We are our own worst enemy right now … I am shocked we are struggling that much holding onto the ball."
K-State made it hard for Kansas in all areas, though. Lewis, a sophomore forward, had a program record eight blocks, while Woods had nine rebounds and five steals. Shaelyn Martin also had four steals.
“Defensively, I think that is the best and most locked in we have been,” K-State coach Jeff Mittie said.
Playing with high energy led to a satisfying victory in front of 6,362 fans.
The only time the arena went silent was when K-State guard Haley Texada crumbled to the floor with a neck injury early in the second half. She spent several motionless minutes on the court and needed to be moved out of the arena on a stretcher. After the game, Mittie said Texada was moving and talking at Mercy Regional Health Center, but said she will undergo more testing as a precaution.
The injury caused a 10-minute delay in action, and there was no telling how either team would respond.
But K-State rose to the occasion, dominating the second half and pulling away for a victory that felt like it carried extra meaning.
“These are the games I came to Kansas State for,” Mittie said. “These kind of games and these kind of crowds.”