Wildcats look to wrangle some Longhorns

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The K-State women’s basketball team will return to the state of Texas for the second time in a week, and head coach Deb Patterson feels the heat and the opportunity.

“From here on, it’s almost like the best of the league is going to hit us upside the head,” she said. “The season’s not over til it’s over, and every day you have an opportunity to walk into the gym and get better and be stronger.”

No. 12 University of Texas (18-6, 7-3 Big 12 Conference) will host K-State (12-12, 4-6) tonight in Austin, Texas, for the only match-up between the teams this season.
In the history of their games, neither team has advanced as the clear leader. The Longhorns have favor in the series at 10-9, but have not held a winning streak for more than four games, which is echoed by K-State.

Texas will enter the competition with five straight wins. Its last victory, over Kansas last weekend, stretched into overtime. Conversely, Kansas downed K-State by 10 points in regulation time.

The Wildcats dropped their last game, the sixth in their last eight games in an uncharacteristic downswing, against Texas A&M last weekend in their first trip to the Lone Star State this season.

When they return tonight to compete with Texas, coach Patterson said the competition will be stiffer.

“Texas is a whole other ball of wax,” she said. “They’re probably, player for player, more talented than A&M. They’ve just begun to show it in the latter part of the season. The challenge is great going on the road to Texas.”

The numbers between K-State and Texas may be different, but side by side, both rosters are quite similar.

The top scorer for the Longhorns is senior guard Brittainey Raven with 15.1 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game. Across the court, her counterpart, senior forward Ashley Sweat, is recording per game 17.3 points and 5.5 for a solid matchup.

Another strong and consistent player for Texas is junior guard Kathleen Nash, whose sister, senior forward Kristen Nash, has been her Longhorns teammate all three years.

Kathleen has 12.5 points per game alongside 7.2 rebounds. She also has the highest shooting percentages in all three categories, hitting nearly half of her field goals and three-pointers. Her K-State equivalent is freshman guard Brittany Chambers, who is a near-perfect parallel with 12.5 points per game and 5.2 rebounds and has the second-highest shooting percentages in field goals and three-pointers and the highest in free throws.

When Patterson steps on the court in Texas, she said she will be focusing on her athletes and not the scoreboard.

“Irrespective of the score or the win or the loss, it’s how hard and well we compete our possessions,” she said.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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