Stakes getting higher as Wildcats fight for seeding

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The K-State women’s basketball team has faced ranked opponent after ranked opponent for weeks, and now they finally get a break.

Tonight, K-State (12-14, 4-8 Big 12 Conference) will host Texas Tech University (16-10, 4-8) in their first and only meeting of the season. K-State head coach Deb Patterson said this game will make a large impact on her team’s conference status.

“It’s an awesome matchup because you have two teams that are fighting for seeding headed into the Big 12 tournament, and right now, we’re neck and neck,” she said. “This is a pivotal game for us.”

The Wildcats lead the overall record between the teams 9-8 behind a six-game winning streak dating back to 2004. During that span, K-State has won half of the games by at least 12 points. Patterson said history is not a factor, and she will not take Texas Tech lightly.

The Red Raiders held a high period of wins for most of the season, but they hit a low spell shortly into conference play. In the past few games, however, they have regained some of their strength and are starting to climb out of their slump. Last weekend, Texas Tech defeated Kansas – who split the season series with K-State – by a wide margin. Patterson said the Red Raiders will be a strong opponent.

“They’ve been playing extremely well and confident,” she said. “They’re athletic. They’re very aggressive. We’re going to have to really play great basketball against a team that’s very hot right now.”

K-State is still in a dry spell after last weekend’s loss, with a smattering of wins over the past couple months. Last Sunday, the team lost at home to Oklahoma after the Sooners erased a 21-point Wildcat lead to come back and win by six points. However, Patterson said she will not be looking backward.

“I’m optimistic about the next challenge,” she said. “It’s not hard for me to get up after a loss and want to go get a win. Until the door is shut and slammed and locked with ten different locks, I want to keep playing.”

The Red Raiders will be bringing a talented team to Manhattan. Among their elite, senior forward Ashlee Roberson leads the team with game averages of 12.7 points and 9.0 rebounds behind fifty-fifty shooting, despite owning just a 57 percent mark at the free throw line. Close behind her is sophomore forward Kierra Mallard, who is recording 12.5 points per game alongside 7.1 rebounds. Mallard also has totaled 49 blocks.

For comparison, K-State’s senior forward, Ashley Sweat, holds the most rebounds per game for her team at 5.5 and the most blocks at 17.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum.

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