MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Shalee Lehning matched her career high with 21 points, and Kansas State (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) moved into a first-place tie in the Big 12 with an 81-52 win over Missouri on Saturday.
The Wildcats, picked to finish eighth by the league's coaches in the preseason poll, are tied with Baylor, which lost at Texas A&M earlier in the day.A win at Kansas on Wednesday would give the Wildcats at least a share of their second-ever Big 12 title.The victory gave Kansas State (20-8, 12-3) its fifth 20-win season in the last six years.Lehning also had 11 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season, made all seven shot attempts and was 7-for-8 from the foul line.Kansas State senior Kimberly Dietz scored 19 points and was 5-of-12 from 3-point range in her final home game. Marlies Gipson and Ashley Sweat each added 13 points.The Wildcats controlled the game throughout and their lead never dropped below 12 in the second half. Dietz's deep 3-pointer with five minutes left finished off a 10-0 run that put Kansas State up by 24 and sealed the win.Alyssa Hollins, Missouri's leading scorer, had 15 points, but shot just 5-of-18 from the field. Shakara Jones scored 14 and Jessra Johnson added 11.The Tigers (9-19, 2-13) shot just 32 percent from the field and have now lost 12 of 13 games.After sputtering through the first 12 minutes, Kansas State coach Deb Patterson switched to a half-court, trapping defense in an effort to energize her somewhat-lethargic Wildcats.The pressure immediately made a difference, with Missouri committing turnovers on four of five possessions and missing five straight shots during a nearly six-minute scoreless drought.Those turnovers fueled Kansas State's fastbreak offense, and Lehning sliced her way through the open court to create easy baskets for herself and her teammates.Lehning found Gipson for a layup to put the Wildcats up 24-15, and her steal and bucket capped a 19-2 run that gave Kansas State a 33-17 lead with 3:15 left in the half.The Tigers finished the half just 8-of-30 from the field and trailed 39-22 at the break.