Women to play Nebraska in Bramlage


    The No. 14 ranked Wildcats (17-1, 4-1 Big 12 Conference) return to Bramlage Coliseum for a brief one home-game stand against the struggling Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-8, 1-4 Big 12) Tuesday night. The Wildcats are returning home from a perfect 2-0 road trip that featured wins against both Texas Tech and Kansas.
    The Cornhuskers come into Manhattan having lost five of their last six games, with their only victory coming against the Kansas Jayhawks in Lincoln, Neb. They also rank last in the Big 12 in scoring defense, allowing opponents 67.6 points per game.
    However, despite what the statistics show, senior point guard Shalee Lehning says the matchup will be another test for the Wildcats.
    “I think Nebraska is a great team, and they are going to be very physical and athletic on the perimeter,” Lehning said. “They are definitely a team that is going to get up and guard us and we’re going to have to keep our composure, and as long as we play 40 minutes and compete hard I think we will be all right.”
    Head coach Deb Patterson agrees and says that the Cornhuskers will be a threat from the 3-point line. Nebraska is shooting .325 percent from behind the arc, good enough for sixth in the Big 12.
    However, Patterson stressed the speed of Nebraska and said this is a unique opponent for the Wildcats.
    “For us, it’s a challenge against a team that plays different from anyone we have seen so far,” Patterson said. “We haven’t seen this kind of quickness on the perimeter.”
    Leading the Cornhusker’s perimeter attack is junior guard Yvonne Turner, who is averaging a team-leading 14.2 points per game and is tied with Danielle Grant of Texas A&M atop the Big 12 with 15 steals on the season. 
    “[Turner] would compete with anybody on anyone’s roster right now in terms of quickness,” Patterson said.
    The Wildcats defense meanwhile, has remained atop the Big 12 as Patterson’s team is only giving up an average 50.6 points per contest. During the recent road trip, the Wildcats gave up 52 points to the Jayhawks on Saturday and held the Red Raiders to 48 points Wednesday.
    “We definitely take pride in defense,” Lehning said. “We believe that defense produces offense and so for us to have that statistic is something we take pride in and something we work hard for. We just have to keep it up.”
    With Marlies Gipson scoring a career-high 23 points in Lawrence on Saturday, Patterson believes that the Wildcat’s post play will be the key to their success against the speed of the Cornhuskers. Gipson is averaging 14.0 points per game, along with 7.1 rebounds.
    “I really think that (K-State’s post play) is an area where we certainly bring a lot more experience and it’s an area we need to maximize when we line up against Nebraska,” Patterson said.
    Tip-off for tonight’s game is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Net Kansas City. The game can also be heard on KMAN Radio 1350 AM.