K-State freshman Serena Sundell

K-State freshman Serena Sundell splits two Ichabod defenders during K-State’s 68-39 exhibition win Washburn University at Bramlage Coliseum on Oct. 31. Sundell scored a game-high 25, a career-high, in Tuesday's 93-53 win over Abilene Christian.

There weren’t any spooky Halloween surprises for Kansas State women’s basketball fans or head coach Jeff Mittie Sunday afternoon, as the Wildcats rolled to a 68-39 victory in their exhibition opener against Washburn University, despite struggles with turnovers and shooting woes.

“I was pleased with the energy and intention of our team,” Mittie said. “I was pleased that while we weren’t shooting the ball very well for most of the game, I thought our defense and our talk — the things that we’ve talked about not being tied to playing great. You need to be consistent, and I think our team has really grown in that area.”

Ten first-half turnovers, including five in the first six minutes of action, stifled a K-State offense that already was struggling to find its footing, shooting 36.4% in the opening two quarters.

The Wildcats missed 10 layups in the first half.

“The majority of our turnovers were really trying to get the ball into the post,” Mittie said. “Probably half of them were those kinds of passes. We’re going to have to be able to do that in tight spaces and Washburn really crowds the post. Obviously we have a size advantage, but let’s give Washburn some credit: They put a lot of traffic in and around our centers today.”

K-State led by as little as six after Washburn nailed a 3 to start the second quarter, but a 14-2 run to close the half pushed the Wildcats’ lead to 35-14.

The Ichabods got no closer than 17 in the second half, as the Wildcats grew their lead to 32 down the stretch, improving their final field goal percentage for the game to 40.9%.

K-State held Washburn to 26.4% shooting from the field.

“We communicated well in the first half and coming out into the second, we knew that it would be harder, because we were playing defense further from our bench, so that’s an adjustment that we had to make but I thought we did it well,” junior center Ayoka Lee said. “I thought our guards did a great job on switches and big did a great job helping.”

Lee had a stellar first half, collecting 11 points and nine rebounds. She ended with 17 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 6:32 to play in the game.

K-State came into the season with six newcomers; four entered Sunday’s game, led by true freshman guards Serena Sundell and Jaelyn Glenn, both of whom received their first start in a Wildcat uniform.

Glenn was the second leading scorer for the Wildcats with nine after hitting three of K-State’s five 3s in the game.

“(Jaelyn) didn’t get off to a great start in this game,” Mittie said. “She missed some easy ones and then hit three 3s. But what (Glenn and the other newcomers) have been consistent on is they can have a bad stretch of practice, but they’re still competing, they’re still trying to learn. But that’s really something that goes back to the summer. It’s not something I worry about. I don’t wake up and wonder if Serena is going to show up and practice hard. It’s not one of my concerns for the Glenn twins. I just don’t. I don’t worry about it, because that’s what they’ve shown since they arrived on campus.”

Sundell ran point for much of the game and racked up eight points, four rebounds, five assists, one block, two steals and four turnovers.

“I thought she was good and really steady,” Mittie said. “I thought she did a good job of mixing up that balance of running the offense and pushing the envelope a little bit. I’ll look at it on film later tonight to see where we can continue to help her, but I thought it was good.”

Sophomore Taylor Lauterbach also had eight points along with six rebounds and two blocks. K-State was without senior guard Rachel Ranke, who recently suffered an injury. Mittie said he wouldn’t be able to give an update on her status until at least Nov. 9.

“It’s not a day-to-day thing right now, but it could turn into a day-to-day thing,” Mittie said. “She’s got to go through some phases (before we know).”

K-State will hold its final exhibition Friday versus Pittsburg State before opening the regular season at home versus Central Arkansas on Nov. 9.

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