MANHATTAN — After holding off a late-game comeback attempt and finally breaking a streak of 10 straight losses to Kansas State, Brandon Schneider didn’t try and stop his team from celebrating in the locker room.
The Jayhawks had earned it.
KU’s fourth-year head women’s basketball coach arrived to the postgame media session following his team’s 61-54 win on Sunday with water marks on his suit jacket, noticeable evidence of the team’s locker room festivities.
“I think our program has been through a lot the last few years, and we feel like we really had it going in the right direction and we’ve made a lot of progress,” Schneider said. “When the players perform at a high level and get a key win like this, they have every right to celebrate.”
As good as the victory felt for the Jayhawks, it could have been sweeter had KU been able to keep building its third-quarter lead, which ballooned to as many as 18 while K-State kept missing perimeter shots. Instead, the Wildcats got back in it down the stretch, opening the fourth quarter with four straight points to cut the KU lead to six at 46-40 on a basket by Topeka native Peyton Williams.
K-State pulled to within four at 58-54 on a free throw by Christianna Carr with 30.6 seconds left, but KU held on to end the streak and notch Schneider’s first win over his team’s in-state rival.
K-State head coach Jeff Mittie, who conversely had his first taste of defeat in the Sunflower Showdown, gave credit to KU’s energy level, which K-State didn’t match.
“It hurts,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it. We didn’t play like we were fighting and we have never made a big deal about the streak, because every game is itself, but it hurts.”
Kansas (11-3, 1-2 Big 12) was led by Jessica Washington’s 20 points, with Austin Richardson hauling in a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
K-State (10-6, 1-3) got 19 points from Williams, with Kayla Goth and Rachel Ranke also in double-figure scoring with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The game began with KU running out to a 9-2 lead before finishing the quarter tied at 11. The Jayhawks took advantage of the cold-shooting Wildcats, who would go on to finish the game 2 of 21 from behind the arc, by building up their lead to 15 in the second quarter. KU led at halftime 32-20.
Chambers jersey retired at half
Former Wildcat guard Brittany Chambers was honored at halftime as the sixth player in program history to have her jersey retired. Chambers, who played from 2009-13 and led K-State to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths, was an All-America honorable mention by the Associated Press and WBCA in 2013 and was drafted No. 22 overall by the Los Angeles Sparks later that year. She was also a named to the All-Big 12 first team three times.
Chambers spent two season playing professionally overseas and had a brief stint with the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars before retiring from professional basketball in 2015.
“It kind of felt surreal until I was out on the court and it was happening,” Chambers said. “Even now, it’s hard to believe that my jersey is going up. I’m just so thankful to this school and to this city. They made all my dreams come true here.”