Following a brief one-game home stand, the No. 14-ranked K-State women’s basketball team will hit the road and head to Ames, Iowa to take on the No. 22 Iowa State Cyclones (15-4, 3-2 Big 12 Conference) Saturday evening.
In the previous meeting at Bramlage Coliseum the Wildcats (18-1 5-1 Big 12) defeated the Cylcones, thanks to a strong second half performance by senior point guard Shalee Lehning. After scoring a mere four points in the first half, Lehning caught fire and scored 18 points in the final 20 minutes of the contest.
Lehning said she was able to find a lot of open lanes in the second half of the first game and will look to find the same success in Saturday’s game. She finished with a game high 22 points against the Cyclones during their Jan. 17 meeting.
“I’m just going to try and do what my team needs,” Lehning said “It just depends on what the defense is giving me. In the second half they gave me a lot more open lanes so I will have to make a read and decide what the defense is doing.”
The Wildcats have proven throughout the season that the challenge of road games has little effect on them. K-State has accumulated a 9-1 record in road games this season, tying a school record for road wins in a season.
“We stay focused and we don’t let things rattle us,” Lehning said. “If the crowd goes nuts then we just stay calm and do what we do because we understand that as long as we just play our game we still have a chance to win.”
Patterson’s team will find themselves in a tough environment Saturday evening in Ames, IA. The Cylcones are averaging 9,029 fans per game at the Hilton Coliseum, more than any venue in the Big 12. They are 10-0 this season at home and are winners of 10 of their previous 12 games overall.
“It’s obviously a huge challenge because I expect it will be a full house,” Patterson said. “I think it will be big in that it will be the most hostile environment that we have competed in all year.”
In their previous game on Tuesday against Nebraska, which the Wildcats won 51-40, Patterson was able to go to her bench by way of sophomore guard Shalin Spani who registered 18 points and hit pivotal 3-point shots. Spani finished the game with nine points.
Patterson said she will look to use the bench production against the Cylcones as she feels her team is discovering different ways to win basketball games.
“On the road up there, I think we are definitely going to have to depend on bench production because the emotional aspect of the game when you are playing in front of a full house pretty much dictates that there are going to be times when your starters are going to have to come (take a break) and go back in,” Patterson said.
“So, we will definitely have to have good contributions from them,” she said.
The Wildcats will look to take the season series Saturday night against the Cyclones in Iowa and keep their four game winning streak alive. Tip off for the game is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on 1350 KMAN.