If a team wants to be the best, it has to beat the best.
The statement is quite fitting for the No. 18 K-State women’s basketball team this weekend as it will battle one of the conference’s top teams in No. 8 Baylor (18-3, 6-2 Big 12 Conference) at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
Both teams enter the contest tied for second in the conference standings.
The Bears are coming off a 76-71 victory at Nebraska but are returning to the friendly confines of the Ferrell Center, which hasn’t been all too kind to Baylor in the last week. The Bears dropped two consecutive games to Texas and Oklahoma by a combined eight points.
“I think we all understand the magnitude of the challenge,” K-State coach Deb Patterson said. “That’s one of the best teams in America. They’re going to be very stoked and ready and that’s Big 12 basketball. Those are the types of challenges you have to live for, work for and hunger for.”
Meanwhile, playing on the road hasn’t been much of a problem for the Wildcats this year, who enter Saturday with a 9-2 road record. However, both losses have come on the road during conference play at No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 21 Iowa State.
Patterson said the Ferrell Center is one of the toughest arenas to play at in the Big 12 Conference, but added her team would not be intimidated.
“On any given night in this league, anything can happen and we’re not gonna give an inch to anybody,” Patterson said. “No one’s going to give us an inch so we’re going down there with the mindset of being as competitive as possible and bringing our best game as of today and we’ll see what that means when it’s all said and done.”
The game sets up to be a contrast in styles, as Baylor ranks 28 in the country in scoring offense, averaging almost 73 points per game.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats rank No. 1 in the nation is scoring defense, only allowing 49.8 points per game.
“They are unbelievably athletic,” Patterson said. “They’re fast and a physical basketball team. They’re just a classic Big 12 team.”
K-State forward Ashley Sweat said every game in league play is difficult and she expects this to be no different.
“Baylor is just one of those great atmospheres and they have a great team down there,” said Sweat, who leads the Wildcats with 16.2 points per game. “When we went down there my freshman year we gave them a run for their money and we just wanna go down there and play our game and see what happens.”
Patterson said she expects an energized environment.
“The Ferrell Center will be hopping because they know there’s someone coming down there to challenge them at home and I think we’ve established that we’re a pretty good team on the road over time,” she said. “So I think it’s going to be a great matchup and a great game.
“I think this is an opponent that over time we’ve competed extremely well with and we’re going to look forward to that challenge.”