LAWRENCE — The latest installment of the Sunflower Showdown went the way of the Wildcats, with a native Kansan sliding into the starring role.
Junior forward Peyton Williams scored a game-high 26 points and hauled in 13 rebounds, lifting the Kansas State women’s basketball team to a 72-62 overtime victory Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse and a season split against rival Kansas. A layup from the 6-foot-4 Williams with 0.9 seconds left sent the game to its extra session, where the Wildcats (14-9, 5-6 Big 12) completed what became a 19-2 run to end the contest.
Williams also finished with six steals, having a literal hand in a 23-turnover performance from the Jayhawks (12-9, 2-8) that amounted to 31 points for the visitors. K-State earned its second straight overtime victory in Lawrence and triumphed for the 11th time in its last 12 contests against KU.
What impressed K-State coach Jeff Mittie most about Williams' performance was, quite frankly, how unimpressed he was midway through the showing.
"Honestly, what I thought made her special was that I didn't think she was so good in the middle parts of the game," Mittie said. "I thought she was really frustrated. I took her out at the end of the third and just said, 'Hey, just 10 more minutes. Get yourself settled down.' I just sensed that she was frustrated.
"Her as a player, she has the ability to kind of, OK, gather herself, collect her thoughts, get back in, take the coaching and make adjustments. That's why I'm so proud of her. She's always been able to do that, but now she does it at a much higher level."
Williams acknowledged she was "definitely frustrated" with her third-quarter performance.
"When it seemed I was right around the basket and it seemed like they would just bounce right out," Williams continued. "So yeah, it did help to have that brief sit on the bench to get everything into perspective so I could go back in and help my team as much as I could, absolutely."
To say Wednesday’s outcome was in doubt late would be an understatement.
The Jayhawks held a seven-point lead, 60-53, on a Mariane De Carvalho layup that dropped in with 3:46 left in regulation, but it was the last bucket the team scored in regulation. Williams completed an and-1 layup following a KU turnover, De Carvalho followed with a turnover on a trap that led to a layup by senior guard Kayla Goth, and a missed 3-point attempt by De Carvalho with 32 seconds left set up the Wildcats’ final possession.
As Mittie later recalled, Williams’ game-tying layup came off a busted play.
“We got what we wanted, but we got it a little differently than it’s drawn up, Mittie said. “It was a little bit broken because Rachel (Ranke) forgot to set the cross screen, so the play is designed for Chrissy (Carr) to make the pass, but Rachel is supposed to be out of there at that point. Peyton did a good job of adjusting her angle, and Chrissy did a good job of finding her on that play.
“The passer and the receiver were the two designed to do it. There was a player in between that wasn’t supposed to be there.”
The Wildcats had all the momentum and a landslide of emotion on their side in the overtime period, and it showed.
Goth’s layup put the K-State in front for the first time since the opening minutes of the second half, Carr followed with a jumper, and while Austin Richardson broke the Jayhawks’ prolonged scoring skid with a layup, it proved to be KU's last gasp — Williams’ turnaround jumper gained separation with 2:07 left, and Goth ended a long drought for both teams with a dagger jumper with 38 seconds to play.
If Williams took the leading role, Goth was a worthy supporting player in the victory. She finished with 19 points and 10 assists for the Wildcats, who won despite a 3-for-17 performance from 3-point range. K-State, which was out-rebounded by eight in the first quarter, actually won the battle on the boards, 40-39.
The Wildcats will look to build off the successful showing in their next contest, a 2 p.m. Sunday contest against Oklahoma in Norman.
The Jayhawks, meanwhile, were paced by Richardson’s 16 points. Senior guard Christalah Lyons had 15 points but was held in check by foul trouble and the Wildcat defense after her 12-point first quarter, part of a 27-point outburst by KU in the opening period. De Carvalho (11 points) rounded out the double-figure scorers for coach Brandon Schneider's squad.
KU played without its most dangerous offensive weapon, as redshirt senior guard Jessica Washington missed the contest with an undisclosed injury. Washington was unable to go in the Jayhawks’ two practices leading into Wednesday's game and is considered day-to-day ahead of the team’s 7 p.m. Saturday home tilt against Texas, Schneider said.
One last nugget on Williams and Goth, who may have enjoyed the best preparation imaginable just 24 hour before their Sunflower Showdown victory.
Mittie's squad attended the men's installment of the in-state battle on Tuesday night in Manhattan, an emotionally charged 74-67 victory for the Wildcats that preceded a court storming. That environment, Goth and Williams both attested, left a lasting impression that served as motivation against the Jayhawks — and reminder for how good this rivalry can be.
"The atmosphere in that game was absolutely insane," Goth said. "You watch a game like that and you're like, 'Dang, I wish we could play in an atmosphere like that and I wish we could do that.' Obviously we lost to KU in the first (meeting), and I think everyone was like, 'The men just did it. We're going to go do it now.' "
KANSAS STATE 72, KANSAS 62
KANSAS STATE (14-9, 5-6)
Williams 10-19 5-5 26, Jones 3-7 0-0 6, Goth 7-15 4-4 19, Ranke 2-10 1-2 6, Carr 3-9 2-2 8, Simmons 0-1 0-0 0, Macke 1-2 0-0 2, Beard 1-6 1-2 3, Ray 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-70 13-15 72.
KANSAS (12-9, 2-8)
Richardson 7-13 2-2 16, Helgren 2-3 1-3 5, Lyons 5-10 4-5 15, Osorio 1-5 0-0 2, Kopatich 3-8 0-0 9, Lott 0-1 0-0 0, De Carvalho 4-12 2-2 11, Ramalho 0-0 0-0 0, Mitchell 1-5 2-2 4. Totals 23-57 11-14 62.
K-State ... 21 ... 13 ... 11 ... 15 ... 12 ... — ... 72
Kansas ... 27 ... 7 ... 15 ... 11 ... 2 ... — ... 62
3-point goals — K-State 3-17 (Williams 1-3, Goth 1-3, Ranke 1-5, Macke 0-1, Beard 0-2, Carr 0-3), KU 5-22 (Kopatich 3-7, Lyons 1-1, De Carvalho 1-6, Richardson 0-4, Osorio 0-4). Rebounds — K-State 40 (Williams 13), KU 39 (Helgren 8). Assists — K-State 15 (Goth 10), KU 14 (Lyons 3, Kopatich 3, De Carvalho 3). Blocks — K-State none, KU 6 (Richardson 3, Helgren 3). Turnovers — K-State 15, KU 23. Total fouls — K-State 13, KU 20. Fouled out — none. A — 2,281.