The K-State women’s basketball team is set to go on the road for the first time this season to take on the UTEP Miners in El Paso, Texas. The Wildcats are fresh off winning their first two regular season games by comfortable margin, with their last win coming Sunday night over Charlotte, 73-65.
The Wildcats are being led by last week’s freshman Big 12 player of the week Leticia Romero, who leads the team in minutes through the first two games. Romero, a guard out of Las Palmas, Spain, averaged 12.5 points for her Spanish national team in the FIBA U19 World Championships last summer. She’s averaging 20.5 points per game in her first two games as a Wildcat, a mark that puts her at fourth in the Big 12. She seems to be coming into her own on the court, also leading the Wildcats with 11 assists and 15 rebounds, a solid effort from the high-octane guard.
Another newcomer, freshman forward Breanna Lewis, is making a statement on the defensive end. The 6-foot-5-inch Lewis is leading the team with 10 defensive rebounds and six blocks, which puts her in third place in the conference in blocks. Last season, height was an issue for the Wildcats because of injuries, but now that the Wildcats have enough height down in the post to have a well-balanced defense, K-State leads the Big 12 in rebounding defense, allowing only 29.5 rebounds per game.
The Wildcats will be facing a strong Miner team who rolled over New Mexico State in their last game 94-69 on Tuesday night. The Miners are a senior-heavy team led by senior forward Kayla Thornton, who is averaging 15.5 point per game. Thornton is followed closely in stats, and leadership, by senior point guard Stacie Telles, who is averaging 14 points per game.
The Wildcats posts will have to dominate the Miners, who have the same post presence as the Wildcats. The Miners have combined for 30 offensive rebounds on the season. The Wildcats defense will have to limit these second chance opportunities. On the other side of the ball, the Miners have 61 defensive rebounds, which is a reason that they stifle their opponents and win games.
Both teams are almost identical from around the arc, with the Miners going 15-37 (.405) while the Wildcats are 15-38 (.395).
Last season, the Miners beat the Wildcats in Bramlage Coliseum 52-50.