No. 7 Texas pushes past pesky K-State in Big 12 quarterfinal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lauren Ebo tied a career-high with 17 points, Rori Harmon had 16, and No. 7 Texas beat Kansas State 72-65 on Friday night in the quarterfinals in the Big 12 Tournament.
Aliyah Matharu scored 15 and Joanne Allen-Taylor added 12 for the Longhorns (23-6), who’ll match up with No. 10 Iowa State in a semifinal on Saturday.
“It’s been a little while so we were a little rusty tonight, but I’m proud of how we fought tonight,” Texas coach Vic Schaefer said. “We found a little spot we wanted to attack and we executed.”
Texas led 47-43 before Matharu nailed two straight 3-pointers to push the advantage to 10 late in the third quarter. The Wildcats got within five in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get any closer.
“I just try to talk to myself as much as I can,” Matharu said about coming off of the bench. “It can be hard sometimes but I just talk to myself that when I get into the game, all I can do is my best.”
Ayoka Lee led Kansas State (19-12) with 16 points, shooting 7 of 8 from the field, while Emilee Ebert had 15 and Serena Sundell added 11.
“The end of the third quarter was crucial,” Kansas State coach Jeff Mittie said. “That happened in about one minute and 20 seconds and that was the turning point where we just couldn’t push back enough. I thought we made some good plays down the stretch and thought out group kept fighting and gave us a chance.”
Kansas State shot the ball well — 51% from the field compared to 39% for Texas — but the Wildcats committed 16 turnovers, which turned in to 19 points for the Longhorns.
“We always emphasize in practice and making sure that every possession we get a shot,” Ebo said. “We understand the importance and don’t take that for granted. On the defensive end, I want to do whatever I can to help us win and I think that’s what happened.”
Kansas State also struggled from the 3-point line, going 3 for 10 while Texas was 7 of 14.
“We had three knock-down, drag-out games with them this season,” Schaefer said “We have a lot of respect for them. We knew it was going to be hard, and it was all that and then some.”
The Longhorns succeed when Ebo gets to shoot the ball as they are 11-0 this season when she scores in double figures. Texas aims to win their first Big 12 Tournament since 2003.
Kansas State: Was one run away from really giving itself a chance in this game.
Texas: Always seemed to hit a big shot when they needed it. In three games this year, they beat the Wildcats by a combined 36 points.
Kansas State: Awaits seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
Texas: Takes on two-seed Iowa State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
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