Kansas State's Ayoka Lee sets NCAA record with 61 points, nearly outscoring No. 14 Oklahoma

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Kansas State center Ayoka Lee during an NCAA basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Kansas State center Ayoka Lee during an NCAA basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

Ayoka Lee set Kansas State's single-game scoring record in a cupcake of a season opener in November.

She set the NCAA Division I women's single-game scoring record on a much more competitive and star-studded stage not even three months later. The 6-foot-6 junior center scored a record 61 points on Sunday, enough to nearly defeat No. 14 Oklahoma on her own.

"I thought it was just going to be another Sunday," Lee said after thanking her teammates and coaches during the postgame interview. The unranked Wildcats won, 94-65, to stay amongst the best in Big 12 play.

The previous D-I women's record was 60 points set by two players. Cindy Brown of Long Beach State hit the mark in February 1987 with 20 field goals and 20 free throws. Minnesota's Rachel Banham tied it against Northwestern on Feb. 7, 2016. Banham, an unrestricted free agent in the WNBA, had 19 field goals and 14 free throws.

Lee had 23 and 15, respectively.

Lee's previous career-high was 43, which set the school record for points in a single game against Central Arkansas. She's had six games of at least 30 points this season, including 38 against South Dakota State and again in a three-point loss to Iowa State, then ranked No. 9, earlier this month.

Lee's 61 points in national player conversation

The 61-point outburst against Oklahoma (16-3, 5-2 Big 12) — a program rising in the past few weeks and ranked second in D-I in scoring (88.4 ppg) — was one of Lee's most efficient of the season. She was 23 for 30 (76.7%) from the floor and made 15-of-17 free throws.

"Coming into practice the last few days it was transition, transition, transition," Lee said after the game. "Get our feet set. Know who we have. Know our job, do our job. And we just came out and executed so well."

Her line included 12 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season plus three blocks and one steal. She had zero turnovers and drew only one personal foul.

Kansas State (15-4, 5-2 Big 12) allows on average 56.4 points per game, second-best in the Big 12. Its offense averages 75.3 points.

Lee averages 23.6, third-best in the nation, and 10.8 rebounds, good for 19th. Her 58% shooting mark ranks 15th, and she leads all NCAA D-I players in win shares (8.8), per Her Hoop Stats. That's slightly higher than South Carolina center Aliyah Boston, the frontrunner for the national player of the year award. Lee has further cemented her status as a contender with her performance against Oklahoma.

Record in reach early as Kansas State climbs

Lee was outscoring Oklahoma by herself late in the fourth and was on record watch throughout much of the fourth quarter. When she hit 51, she took the Big 12 record for most points in a single women's game. She had 57 at 4:10 to play and 59 by 3:27. Her 61st came on a layup assisted by Jaelyn Glenn with 2:53 on the clock. Lee played 35 minutes.

Kansas State, which was briefly ranked this month, bolstered its resume with the win. The Wildcats have defeated ranked teams within their conference but haven't fared as well against the likes of N.C. State and No. 1 South Carolina.

The Wildcats are a No. 6 seed in Charlie Creme's Bracketology for ESPN. They hit the road for a Wednesday game at No. 15 Texas (14-3, 4-2 Big 12). A rematch with Oklahoma on the road comes in late February.

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