When asked what family means to him, New York Times Best-Selling author Jim Butcher replied, “When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching—they are your family. ” The word family is something that we here at K-State have grown accustomed to.
With junior linebacker Tre Walker emphasizing the importance of family, the football team’s mentality was to look out for each other throughout their incredible 11-2, Big 12 championship season. That slogan being carried on this season by the K-State women’s basketball team, who endured a tough week prior to Wednesday night.
On Monday, during the first-hour of practice, both sophomore guard Ashia Woods (achilles) and junior forward Ashlynn Knoll (ACL) were lost for the season due to their injuries. This gave the Wildcats only seven healthy players going into their game against the No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowgirls. Despite the tough odds, the Wildcats were able to pull off the upset, defeating the Cowgirls 76-70 in overtime. After the game, senior guard Brittany Chambers talked discussed pulling out a win during such a tough week, as well the team’s family environment.
“We here at K-State have the saying that ‘we are family,’” Chambers said. “I know it gets said a lot around here, but it is unbelievable how much we truly care for each other as a team. Tonight, despite the odds, we all hung in there for each other, and were able to get a great victory.”
Head coach Deb Patterson echoed her senior captain’s comments and stated how proud she was of her team for overcoming the tough week.
“This week started off with a lot of bad news,” Patterson said. “To lose those two players—it was really tough for our girls to see people that they care about go out and get injured, but they responded great and were able to get that win. I am so proud of our girls, because they truly deserved this win.”
Tuesday was not easy for the team, as they were trying to deal with the fact that two of their teammates were not going to be able to play with them for the rest of the season.
However, when the team was going in the gym Wednesday morning, Chambers saw that the team’s morale had changed and that they had the right mentality.
“We came into shoot-around today with a different purpose,” Chambers said. “We all got our shots up that we needed to, and then we came into the game with that ‘we are going to battle you no matter what’ mentality. That is absolutely what we did, we hung in there together even when we didn’t shoot the ball well for a stretch, and that is what our team is all about.”
Junior guard/forward Chantay Caron took a hard fall in the second half against the Cowgirls, and at this point the extent of her injury is unknown. As Butcher said, a family is there for each other even when things go bad, and this team is the perfect example.