Strong second half propels Colorado women past K-State

The Kansas State Wildcats' season came to an end Sunday as visiting Colorado put together a 19-7 run spanning the third quarter. The Buffaloes' 63-50 win in the NCAA Women's Tournament ends K-State's season at 26-8.

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March 25, 2024 - 1:26 PM

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Tameiya Sadler scored all 10 of her points in the second half to lead a balanced scoring attack and No. 5 seed Colorado beat four-seed Kansas State 63-50 on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16.

The Buffaloes (24-9) will face the winner of Monday’s game between No. 1 seed Iowa and No. 8 seed West Virginia Saturday in Albany, N.Y.

This was the first home sellout for Kansas State since they hosted No. 1 UConn on Dec. 11, 2016.

The atmosphere impressed Colorado coach JR Payne.

“The environment was incredible, shout out to Manhattan, Kansas,” she said. “The entire community has welcomed us this week. That’s a great basketball environment.

“But we love that environment. We love being the underdog. We kind of thrive in that role.”

Colorado, which had six players with nine or more points, used an 11-2 run in the third quarter to grab its largest lead of the game at 48-41. The Buffaloes outscored K-State 19-7 in the third quarter to take a 52-42 lead into the fourth quarter.

No Buffaloes player scored more than 11, something that Payne said reflects her team’s unselfishness.

“One of the best things about our team is that nobody really cares who gets to shine,” she said. “We don’t have a single five-star recruit. We don’t have a single McDonald’s All-American. But we have a group of young women that are willing to fight and compete every day that they take the floor. That leads to a group that really wants to see each other succeed.”

The Wildcats (26-8) had multiple chances to trim the deficit to three in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get the shots to fall.

“It’s disappointing to lose when you don’t play very well and you don’t feel like you did things as well as you could have,” K-State coach Jeff Mittie said. “The game presents its challenges and there were moments that we didn’t handle those things very well. Credit goes to Colorado. They did a lot of things that gave us problems all day long.”

Gabby Gregory scored 12 points to lead Kansas State. Ayoka Lee added 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.

Gregory, who implored the K-State community all weekend to show up, was pleased with the crowd but was disappointed to end her career with a loss.

“I wasn’t expecting to be done so early,” she said. “Right now, I’m just so upset that we’re not moving on. The magnitude of my basketball career being over in college, it really hasn’t hit me yet.

“If that’s my last game here, that’s a pretty good crowd to go out on. I’m just really thankful to the fans.”

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