K-State Women Start Fast, Close Strong in First Round NCAA Tournament Win Over Portland

The fourth-seeded Kansas State Wildcats started and finished with a flourish in earning their first round NCAA Tournament victory, defeating thirteenth-seed Portland 78-65 at Bramlage Coliseum on Friday afternoon.

Gabby Gregory poured in 22 points and Ayoka Lee added 21 as the Wildcats advanced to the second round for the fifth time in their last six NCAA Tournament appearances.

The Wildcats scored the game’s first seven points and raced out to a 20-4 lead just over six minutes into the first quarter. Serena Sundell scored nine straight points in an 11-0 K-State run midway through the frame. K-State led by as many as 18 in the first quarter and held a 25-10 advantage at the end of the quarter. A pair of free throws by Lee gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at 34-14 midway through the second quarter, but some K-State turnovers allowed Portland to claw back within 12 points at 40-28 at the intermission.

A 9-1 run by the Pilots early in the third quarter closed the deficit to eight at 45-37, but K-State would answer with a 12-4 run and would not let Portland draw any closer the rest of the game. Gregory scored ten of her 22 points in the final quarter, including a three with 3:04 to play that restored K-State’s advantage to double-figures for good.

In addition to Gregory and Lee, Sundell also scored in double-figures for K-State with 16 points. Portland was led by Maisie Burnham with 21 points and Kianna Hamilton with 12 points.

K-State is now one win away from their first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2002. They will play either Colorado or Drake on Sunday in Manhattan at a time to be determined.