The Kansas State Wildcats have figured out something that the majority of other teams in the country haven’t: how to beat the Iowa Hawkeyes. For the second straight season, the Wildcats scored a win over the highly-ranked Hawkeyes, improved to 4-0 on the season and earned NCAA Team of the Week honors.
Against Iowa on Nov. 16 on the road at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Kansas State rode a 12-0 run in the final three minutes to upset No. 2 Iowa, 65-58. It was the second time in program history that the Wildcats scored a win over the Associated Press’ second-ranked team. The previous time came in 1982 when Kansas State defeated Old Dominion.
Senior center and All-American candidate Ayoka Lee led the way against Iowa, scoring 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting, while pulling down 12 rebounds and blocking two shots. Trailing by five points following a free throw from the Hawkeyes with 2:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, Kansas State started its rally with a layup from Gabby Gregory. After a defensive stop, Lee finished a layup in traffic with 1:40 remaining. Lee was then fouled on her next attempt and buried her two free throws to give the Wildcats a 59-58 lead with 1:12 left, a lead they would hold to the final buzzer.
Defensively, Kansas State held Iowa to 36.1 percent (22-of-61) shooting including 2-of-21 (.095) from 3-point range. The Hawkeyes were led by 2023 National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark with 24 points on 9-of-32 shooting.
The Wildcats maintained the momentum of the win over Iowa, surging to a 75-57 home win over Wisconsin on Sunday. Lee led four Wildcats in double figures with 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting. With her point total, Lee passed Laurie Koehn (2001-05; 1,733) for fifth on the K-State career points list as her career total now stands at 1,749. For Lee it was her 40th career game with 20-or-more points and 83rd career game with 10-or-more points. Lee has scored in every game of her career (91 games). Brylee Glenn backed Lee with 11 points on Sunday, her 28th career game with 10-or-more points and her first this season.
With the four straight wins to open the season, Kansas State moved from unranked to No. 16 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll released on Monday. The Wildcats return to action on Nov. 24, taking on Western Kentucky in the first round of the 2023 Gulf Coast Showdown in Estero. Florida. Other teams at the Showdown are North Carolina and Vermont.