Like her team, Kayla Goth was silent early but impossible to quiet by the game’s end.
Goth’s career-high scoring output fueled the Kansas State women’s basketball team to a 74-67 victory over Iowa State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament on Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Wildcats got a season-high 45 points from their bench, including 25 from Goth.
“Goth gave us a huge lift,” K-State coach Jeff Mittie said. “She was the one that opened up the basket for everybody, and everybody relaxed.”
Goth went scoreless in the first quarter as K-State, the tournament’s fourth seed, sputtered out of the gate. The Wildcats (22-9) shot 13.3 percent from the field and trailed No. 5 seed Iowa State 15-7. The seven points were the fewest in any quarter in the history of the tournament.
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From there, K-State’s offense played off its defense, becoming ignited after a bland first quarter. The Wildcats began the second quarter with a 12-1 run to take a 19-16 lead. The Cyclones (18-12) briefly retook the lead before a Eternati Willock layup gave K-State a 25-24 advantage at halftime.
The teams exchanged baskets early in the third quarter, but with Iowa State ahead 38-36, the Wildcats created distance with 14 straight points, making all five of their shots during the stretch and taking a 54-47 advantage into the final quarter.
K-State went 5 for 5 from three-point range in the third. In the game’s middle two quarters, the Wildcats shot 60 percent from the field and 63.6 percent on three-point attempts.
After playing only three minutes in the first quarter, Goth scored 21 of her points during the stretch.
“I kinda tried to start with my defense,” Goth said. “I’ve always been a defense-first player, so if I can get steals and stuff on that end of the floor, I can usually contribute to my offensive game.”
Iowa State, a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament, did not relent. After K-State forward Shaelyn Martin lost her headband and traveled as a result, the Cyclones went on a 9-2 run to even the score.
With the score knotted at 56-56 and 6 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the game, Breanna Lewis, one of two Wildcats who earned All-Big 12 first-team honors, scored six consecutive points, her first of the game. Mittie said spending most of the game on the bench with foul trouble sparked Lewis late.
“I wouldn’t like sitting over there very long,” Mittie said. “She came back in and decided, you know, ‘I’m going to do something about it.’”
K-State survived the Cyclones by making all 14 of its free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter, advancing to the Big 12 tournament’s semifinals for the first time since 2012. The Wildcats will face Baylor at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Goth and the reserves could play hero again.
“This game didn’t have anything that I didn’t expect,” Mittie said. “Our bench was critical.”
Big 12 women’s tournament
At Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
K-State 74, Iowa State 67
Baylor 95, Texas Tech 63
Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Oklahoma vs. West Virginia
K-State vs. Baylor, 1:30 p.m. (FS1)
Texas-OSU winner vs. OU-West Virginia winner, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Semifinal winners, 8 p.m. (FS1)