The University of Portland women’s basketball team’s postseason run comes to an end

University of Portland women’s basketball team loses to Kansas State University 78-65

By Emma Swett | March 25, 2024 9:30am
The UP women's basketball team regroups in the locker room following their loss to Kansas State University in the opening round of the 2024 NCAA tournament. Photo courtesy of Marcos Romero-Turner.

The Pilots' time in Kansas has come to a close after suffering a loss to the No. 4 seeded Kansas State Wildcats in the opening round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. In a battle of momentum swings and physicality, the Pilots came up short to the Wildcats, 78-65.

It was a slow start in the first quarter for the 13th seeded Pilots, and a hot one for the 4th seeded Wildcats. In this quarter, the Wildcats boasted their largest lead of the game (20 points), and ended the first quarter with a score of 25-10. 

The Wildcats kept the Pilots at arm’s length for much of the first half, until the Pilots made a push late in the second quarter to cut the lead to 12. After going on a 14-6 run to end the half, the Pilots headed to the locker room trailing the Wildcats 40-28 at halftime. 

Kianna Hamilton drives the ball down the court towards the basket. Photo courtesy of Marcos Romero-Turner.

The Wildcats standout center, Ayoka Lee, was held to a slim eight points in the first half. However, this left room for guard, Serena Sundell, to step up for Kansas State, where she led all scorers for both teams with 12 points at halftime. 

The Pilots’ second-quarter momentum carried into the third, where they quickly cut the lead to eight, this would end up being the closest score of the game. 

Foul trouble cut this run short for the Pilots’ when Emme Shearer, leading scorer of the season and captain, picked up her fourth foul early in the third. The foul trouble for the Pilots was contagious, with four out of their five starters getting into foul trouble in the third quarter. 

Pilot fans celebrate after the Pilots score a 3-point shot against Kansas State.
by Gavin Britton / The Beacon

Taking advantage, Lee began to heat up for the Wildcats. After only scoring eight points in the first half, Lee added 11 to her point total in the 3rd quarter alone. But Lee wasn’t the only one putting up points for the Wildcats in the third. Serena Sundell and Gabby Gregory had both notched double digit point totals for the Wildcats by the end of the quarter.  

The fourth quarter was all Maisie Burnham for the Pilots. After starting the quarter on a six point run of her own, Burnham set her season high in points with 21. 

Although the Pilots were able to cut the lead to single digits with two minutes left in the game, this was not enough to propel them to a comeback win against the Wildcats. The Pilots fell to the Wildcats 78-65 in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. 

Womens basketball champions poster and fan gear for supporters.
by Gavin Britton / The Beacon

Maisie Burnham finished the game with an impressive stat line of 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Kianna Hamilton was the only other Pilot to score double digits in this match up, finishing with 12 points of her own. 

This was the last time seniors Lucy Cochrane, Kennedy Dickie and Kianna Hamilton sported their University of Portland jerseys, as this marks the last year of NCAA eligibility for the trio.

This concludes yet another successful season for the University of Portland women’s basketball team – claiming the title of back-to-back West Coast Conference Champions and making their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. 

Emma Swett is a sports reporter for The Beacon and can be reached at