By ARNE GREEN
Special to The HDN
MANHATTAN -- While the Kansas State women were spinning their wheels on offense, their work at the other end kept them on the road.
Thanks to a rock-solid defensive effort, the Wildcats navigated through a rough first five minutes, then poured it on the rest of the way Tuesday night for a dominating 65-36 victory against UMKC at Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wildcats, 2-0, limited UMKC (1-1) to 20.8 percent shooting on the way to a 16-point halftime lead, then shot 60 percent after intermission while controlling all facets of the game.
"It took us a little while to get going, particularly on the offensive end," K-State coach Jeff Mittie said. "It just seemed like we were a little sluggish early -- a lot of turnovers early on.
"What I did like was our defense. We were playing pretty solid defense the entire game (and) weren't giving them anything easy."
The Wildcats converted 25 UMKC turnovers into 27 points, but also outscored the Kangaroos, 38-18, in the paint.
"We've definitely made improvements in every game," said freshman guard Shaelyn Martin, who while scoring just two points tied center Breanna Lewis for the team rebounding lead with seven and had four assists. "Like this game we outrebounded our opponent by 10, so you can see we've made some strides there.
"So I'm just looking forward to each step we make every game."
The Wildcats outrebounded a smaller UMKC team, 37-27, and also had 16 steals with Lewis, Kindred Wesemann and Ashia Woods getting three each.
Offensively, sophomore Erica Young provided a spark with a game-high 13 points while Woods and Haley Texada added 11 each.
"Erica gave us a big lift off the bench and I felt our group continued to play better as the game went along," Mittie said.
Young was 6 of 8 from the field and made her only free throw in just 15 minutes.
"I focus on two things and that is rebounding and getting better at defense," Young said. "I'm playing the four (power forward) now and that's kind of hard, but I'm getting there.
"I feel like I can do a lot with coach Mittie because he's not like, 'Do this, do that.' I can do whatever I want -- look inside, attack or shoot."
Mittie quickly corrected her.
"Not whatever you want," he said with a smile. "As long as you keep it on defense and rebounding, you can do whatever you want."
The Wildcats did whatever they wanted after trailing early, taking the lead for good on Jessica Sheble's inside basket with 14:50 left in the half to spark an 11-2 run. They led 29-13 at halftime and kept padding the lead with a combination of half-court offense and transition.
Texada had eight of her 11 points in the second half and hit three 3-pointers for the game.
The Wildcats play at home again Friday against Hampton, then head to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, for three games next week.