Kansas State falls to unranked Oklahoma, latest No. 2 to tumble

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The No. 2 ranking in the Associated Press poll continues to be a hot spot in women’s college basketball. The latest fall at the position came Wednesday, as Kansas State, which had moved to No. 2 in the rankings released Monday, lost at unranked Oklahoma 66-63.

This month, the No. 2-ranked team has lost nearly every week: UCLA lost on Jan. 14, Iowa lost on Jan. 21, and UCLA — elevated to the position again — lost on Jan. 22 and Jan. 28. At the start of the season, then-No. 2 UConn lost on Nov. 12 and Iowa lost on Nov. 16.

Wednesday was Oklahoma’s first victory over a top-two team since 2004, when the Sooners beat No. 2 Texas in the Big 12 tournament championship game.

It was the Wildcats’ second loss of the season; they fell to Iowa on Nov. 26 in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida. Since then, Kansas State had won 14 games in a row (TCU also forfeited a game to the Wildcats).

K-State defeated the Sooners 74-57 in Manhattan, Kansas, on Jan. 10. But since then, the Wildcats lost star center Ayoka Lee, who is recovering from ankle surgery and hasn’t played since Jan. 13.

Gisela Sanchez had 18 points and 9 rebounds for K-State (20-2 overall, 9-1 Big 12). Serena Sundell added 15 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Skylar Vann led the Sooners with 21 points and 8 rebounds.

Oklahoma lost four starters to graduation or injury from last season’s team that tied for the Big 12 regular-season championship. The Sooners went through growing pains in nonconference play, going 6-5, including a loss at home to Southern. But they have turned the corner in Big 12 play and are 14-6 overall and 8-1 in the league.

“The players really gutted it out on both sides in that fourth quarter,” Oklahoma coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “But [our] team continues to show up in that time, and we’ve learned so much about ourselves.

“[Kansas State] is a very good basketball team, and we know they’re without Ayoka Lee. We hope she gets back soon, because women’s basketball and the Big 12 misses her; she is such a dynamic force. They’re getting some great experience for later [when she’s back]. For us, we’re really happy about this one. We’re going to learn from it and grow.”