MANHATTAN, Kan. ? Kansas State will make its first road trip of the 2007-08 season to the last place it played a season ago, Laramie, Wyo. K-State has won three straight road-opening games and will look to continue an early two-game winning streak after defeating Washington and Southern Utah to open the season.
The Wildcats will look for some redemption against Wyoming, as the Cowgirls knocked off the Wildcats in a triple overtime classic in the 2007 WNIT Semifinals. Thursday night?s contest can be seen live on The Mtn., an Emmy Award-winning network dedicated to the Mountain West Conference, with Mike Evans (play-by-play) and Andrea Lloyd (color analyst) handling the broadcast. The contest can also be heard live from Arena Auditorium on the K-State Sports Network and at www.kstatesports.com, with the award-winning Brian Smoller providing the play-by-play and former Wildcat Kristin Waller adding the color analysis.
Kansas State won its first meeting with the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah on Monday night in dominating fashion, 87-39. This was the lowest opponent point total that K-State has allowed since Dec. 1, 2006 in a 77-18 win over Mississippi Valley State. The Wildcats saw five players reach double figures in scoring, led by freshman Jackie Stanley?s career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting off the bench. K-State received another strong effort from its backcourt tandem of junior Shalee Lehning and senior Kimberly Dietz, as the duo combined for 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting. Lehning provided her usual overall game to go with her 16 points, adding eight assists, six rebounds and a career-high-tying six steals to her ledger.
For the second straight game the K-State defense was a major factor, forcing the Thunderbirds into 20 turnovers and a field goal percentage of .283. The Wildcats also held a significant advantage in rebounding (49-24), points in the paint (46-12), second chance points (19-0) and bench points (37-12).
K-State in Road Openers
The Wildcats have a 22-16 (.579) record in true road openers. K-State has won three straight road openers and six of the last eight. From the 1979-80 season until the 1983-84 season, the Wildcats won five straight road openers which is the longest streak in school history.
Head coach Deb Patterson is 7-4 (.636) in the first road game of the season since taking the reins of the program in 1996.
Patterson In Midst of 12th Season
Deb Patterson, the all-time winningest women?s basketball coach and the longest tenured women?s basketball coach in Kansas State history , has a career record of 220-128 (.632) and a record of 91-85 (.517) in the Big 12, including a Big 12 title in 2003. Patterson has steered the Wildcats to six consecutive postseason appearances, including a trip to the NCAA Mideast Regional Semifinals in 2002, the 2006 WNIT Postseason crown and a return visit to the WNIT semifinals in 2007. She is the only current head coach at K-State to guide his/her team to six straight postseason appearances. While guiding the Wildcats to six straight postseason appearances, Patterson has defended the floor in Bramlage Coliseum successfully during this time, posting an 85-15 (.850) record at home.
Remember, Remember the Month of November
In the 39 year history of women?s basketball at K-State, the Wildcats have accumulated a record of 88-33 (.727) in the opening month of the season. In the Patterson era, the Wildcats are 39-13 (.750) in the 11th-month.
Efficiently Filling the Hoop During Homestand
After the first two games of the season, K-State leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at .547. The Wildcats finished the opener against Washington with a field goal percentage of .557, which is the highest shooting percentage for a season-opener in school history. The previous high was .519 during the Nov. 16, 2001, season-opener at Georgia Tech (74-70 win). In its second contest against Southern Utah the Wildcats were almost as good as in the opener, finishing with a field goal percentage of .537.
The last time K-State posted consecutive games with field goal percentages of .500 or better was March 2 and March 7, 2006, at Kansas in the Big 12 regular season finale (.510) and against the Jayhawks in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament (.520).
Working Over the Painted Area
K-State was able to control the paint for the second straight game, holding a 46-12 advantage in the lane against Southern Utah. Through two games this season, the Wildcats are outscoring its foes 92-34 in the paint for an average edge of 46.0 to 17.0. This continues a trend from the 2006-07 season when the Wildcats averaged 30.5 points per game (1,038 points) in the paint, while holding its opponents to a 24.8 average in the paint (844).
Sit Tight and Buckle Up, This Could Take Awhile
Kansas State and Wyoming hooked up for two of the best women?s basketball games of the 2006-07 season, as the squads played a pair of overtime contests. Ironically, the second ever meeting between these teams went into overtime at the Oregon State Classic on Nov. 25, 2000, ending in a 73-70 Wyoming win.
In the first meeting in 2006-07, the Wildcats tied the score at 52 on a Shana Wheeler put back with 13 seconds remaining. Wyoming took possession and raced down the floor to call timeout with 10 seconds remaining. The Cowgirls designed their final play and converted a Justyna Podziemska three-pointer in front of the Wyoming bench with 1.3 seconds left. As the teams retreated down the floor, Marlies Gipson inbounded the ball with a baseball pass to Claire Coggins at midcourt. Coggins caught the pass and in one motion heaved a prayer that was answered at the other end with a game-tying three-pointer. The Wildcats secured the 68-62 win with a 13-7 extra session.
In the second matchup of the season during the 2007 WNIT semifinals, the Wildcats traveled to Laramie,?Wyo., to play in front of a sellout crowd in Arena Auditorium. Regulation ended in a 59-59 tie after Podziemska connected on a desperation three with six seconds remaining. The teams ended the first overtime session tied at 71 and the second session tied at 78. Wyoming proved to be too much in the third overtime, outscoring a Wildcat team that was depleted by foul trouble and winning 89-79 in triple overtime.
At a Glance: Wyoming
Wyoming enters Thursday night?s tilt with a 1-0 record and receiving 21 votes in this week?s Associated Press poll, as they opened the season with a 76-50 victory over Idaho State on Friday night. Wyoming saw three players reach double figures in scoring, led by senior Justyna Podziemska?s 19 points and a 15 point, eight rebound effort from Aubrey Vandiver off the bench. The Cowgirls were stingy on the defensive end holding the Bengals to a .294 field goal percentage and forcing them into 21 turnovers.
The Cowgirls are the defending WNIT champions and were the preseason selection to win the 2007-08 Mountain West title by the league?s coaches and selected media. Wyoming welcomes back all five starters from a season ago and 10 letterwinners. Wyoming is led by senior Hanna Zavecz and Podziemska. Zavecz, a native of Melbourne, Australia, is a two-time first team All-Mountain West Conference selection and was named to the preseason All-MWC team. A season ago, she averaged 13.9 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per contest.
Podziemska was a second team All-MWC selection and the Newcomer of the Year in the conference. The product of Wroclaw, Poland, averaged 13.1 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game in her debut season in Laramie.
The Cowgirls are led on the bench by fifth-year head coach Joe Legerski. The 1979 graduate of Wyoming has carded a 76-48 record in Laramie including last year?s 27-9 mark that culminated in a WNIT title.