AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas made sure that Ayoka Lee didn’t produce a stirring encore.
Aliyah Matharu scored 18 points, Audrey Warren had 16, and No. 9 Texas contained the record-setting Lee while beating No. 25 Kansas State 66-48 Wednesday night for its fourth straight victory.
Lee, a 6-foot-6 center, scored an NCAA Division I record 61 points during a 94-65 win against No. 18 Oklahoma on Sunday. Texas, taller than Oklahoma, limited the nation’s leading scorer to 20 — 5.5 fewer than her average. She converted 9 of 20 shots from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“I thought our kids were really, really special,” Texas coach Vic Schaefer said. “How hard they played tonight, how locked in they were defensively.”
Texas guarded Lee with either 6-2 DeYona Gaston (three blocks) or 6-4 Lauren Ebo (nine rebounds, three blocks). Longhorns guards attacked Kansas State ball handlers, making passes inside to Lee difficult, and sometimes those perimeter players provided help for Gaston and Ebo near the basket.
“When we saw Lee put it on the ground, we wanted to go try and swipe it,” Warren said.
None of the Texas approach surprised Kansas State.
“This is their style,” Kansas State coach Jeff Mittie said. “There’s not a ton of teams committed to that style. And certainly we needed to handle their guard pressure better.”
Lee said Kansas State was prepared.
“But we couldn’t execute very well,” Lee said. “It’s a team sport. This can be a learning experience for us.”
Lee’s teammates did not provide nearly enough support. Texas (15-3, 5-2 Big 12) outshot Kansas State (15-5, 5-3) 48.1% to 34.7.
Warren hit 8 of 9 shots in 27 minutes as a reserve, primarily from mid-range. Matharu made 4 of 9 3-pointers.
Kansas State committed 19 turnovers, six by freshman point guard Serena Sundell, who scored 13 points. Texas made 10 steals.
Texas led 30-17 at halftime after limiting Lee to seven shots, three baskets and six points.
The Longhorns’ leading scorer this season, Matharu, had more success in the half, scoring 11 points. Matharu made three 3-point baskets over Kansas State’s zone defense.
“(Schaefer) likes us to attack, but if they are gonna leave me open, I’m gonna stand there and shoot it,” Matharu said.
Kansas State still had a chance after Emilee Ebert made a 3-point basket with 2:16 left in the third quarter to leave the Wildcats trailing by 11. But Shay Holle matched the 3-pointer for Texas, and Lee missed two shots inside on Kansas State’s next possession.
Kansas State: The Wildcats, who finished 9-18 last season, including 3-15 in Big 12 games, arrived in Austin in a three-way tie for first place. That leap could be predictive of success in the near future. Lee said this week that she will return for her senior season instead of leaving for the WNBA, and three starters are freshmen — Sundell, Jaelyn Glenn and Brylee Glenn. Sundell ranks 13th nationally in assists per game with 5.9.
Texas: Joanne Allen-Taylor scored 12 points for Texas. Warren made three steals. Rori Harmon had six assists and three steals… Schaefer is known as an astute defensive coach. So the relative success Texas had guarding Lee shouldn’t surprise. Last season, when Lee averaged 19 points, she had a total of 14 in two games against Texas, attempting just seven shots. She fouled out of both games, playing a total of 30 minutes.
A NEW ROLE
Warren, a senior, lost her starting job after committing seven turnovers during a loss to Kansas in Austin on Jan. 12. Her new role seems to suit Warren. In four games as a reserve, she has 51 points and nine turnovers. “Audrey has been working on her craft,” Schaefer said. “She has spent some time lately in the gym, which she needs to. When that happens, you’re rewarded when the lights come on.”
Kansas State: hosts TCU on Saturday.
Texas: is at No. 18 Oklahoma on Saturday,
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25