MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State will kick-off the 20th season of play in Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. against the Washington Huskies. K-State will look to win its ninth-straight home opener and its 15th in the last 16 attempts. Saturday evening’s contest can be heard live on the K-State Sports Network, with the award-winning Brian Smoller providing the play-by-play and former Wildcat Kristin Waller adding the color analysis.
The Wildcats won their only exhibition game of the preseason, a 76-39 decision over Washburn on Nov. 1 in Bramlage. K-State saw four players reach double figures in scoring, led by senior Kimberly Dietz’s game-high 14 points. Junior Marlies Gipson, after missing the final 18 games of last season, made her return to the floor a success by carding 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the field and snaring a team-high eight rebounds. Joining Dietz and Gipson in double figures were sophomore Ashley Sweat with 13 and freshman Jackie Stanley with 11. Junior Shalee Lehning paced the Wildcats with a game-high nine assists and five steals.
As a team, the Wildcats finished the night shooting .518 from the field and forced the Lady Blues into 26 turnovers. K-State controlled the paint with a 40-14 advantage in points in the paint and tallied five blocks. K-State also held the edge in points off turnovers, 25-7, and fast break points , 20-2.
Head coach Deb Patterson welcomes back six players who started at least 15 games in 2006-07, as well as eight total letterwinners (Dietz, Gipson, sophomore Kari Kincaid, Lehning, senior Carolyn McCullough, Sweat, senior Shana Wheeler and junior Danielle Zanotti) from a team that finished 19-15 and advanced to its second straight WNIT semifinal appearance. The Wildcats also welcome in four fresh faces with the addition of junior Kelsey Nelson and freshmen Kelsey Hill, Shalin Spani and Stanley.