BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Kansas State's Branshea Brown picked a good day to have a career game.
The senior forward scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed
seven rebounds to lead the Wildcats past Princeton 67-64 Saturday
in the first round of the women's NCAA tournament.
"As far as I'm concerned, numbers aside, she was the
game-changer," Kansas State coach Deb Patterson said. "She
boarded the ball early in the game for us. She defended well early
Jalana Childs added 15 points for Kansas State (20-13). The
eighth seed will play the Prairie View A&M-Connecticut winner in
the second round.
Niveen Rasheed had 20 points, and Lauren Edwards and Devona
Allgood each had 15 for Princeton (24-5). The Tigers lost for the
first time in 18 games and for the third consecutive year in the
first round of the tournament.
The win is the first in the tournament for Kansas State since
2009. The Wildcats have not advanced past the second round since
K-State led by four points at halftime, but Princeton started
the second half on a 10-2 run. A 3-point play by Allgood and a
layup by Rasheed gave the Tigers a 37-33 lead and forced a K-State
The Wildcats quickly regrouped. A layup by Brown capped a 14-4
run over the next 5 minutes and gave Kansas State a 49-43 lead and
they pushed that lead to eight.
"She did great today," Childs said. "I am so proud of her. It
was fun to be on the court with her today."
Lauren Edwards brought the Tigers back to 53-52 on a 3-pointer,
but the Wildcats held them off, going to Brown in the paint for key
buckets down the stretch.
"I had the opportunity and my teammates just gave me the ball
at the right time and I just scored the ball," Brown said.
Princeton, which became the first Ivy League team to be ranked
in the AP poll when it was released Monday, was making its third
tournament appearance, having won the Ivy League each of the past
They lost to St. John's in 2010 and Georgetown last season.
"This one hurts, because I know how hard it is to get here," coach Courtney Banghart said.
Rasheed, who missed last year's NCAA tournament with an ACL
injury, looked nervous at the start and turned the ball over on
Princeton's first two possessions. The Tigers didn't score for
almost 4 minutes as Kansas State jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead.
But Princeton responded with a 12-2 run over the next 4 minutes,
taking the lead on a 3-point shot from Lauren Edwards and forcing a
timeout from K-State. The Wildcats then reeled off the next seven
Brown, whose previous career-high was 14 points, had 12 points
and six rebounds at halftime, and the Wildcats led 31-27.
"If something broke down, then we just would go into the post,
and I just came through for my teammates and just performed,"
Princeton fell to 0-5 this season when trailing at halftime
Harvard is still the only Ivy League team to win an NCAA
tournament game, shocking No. 1 Stanford in the opening round of
the 1998 tournament. Princeton assistant Milena Flores was on that
This is Kansas State's 13th NCAA tournament appearance and the
ninth under Patterson. It's the third time since 2008 and the
second straight season that Kansas State (19-13) has been shipped
to Connecticut. The Wildcats were in Storrs last year as an
eight-seed and lost to Purdue in the opening round. Kansas State
also played in Bridgeport in 2008.
Kansas State finished the season tied for fourth place in the
Big 12 after being picked to finish ninth. The Wildcats played one
of the nation's tougher schedules, facing 11 teams that are in this
year's tournament. But they had lost four of their last five games
heading into the tournament.
"I'm excited to be in the second round," Childs said. "It's
my last tournament, so I'm going to make the most of it."