The K-State women’s basketball team traveled to Freeport, Grand Bahama in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving break to participate in the 11th annual NCAA Women’s Junkanoo Jam. The tournament featured two separate brackets, each with four teams. The Lucaya division featured Tennessee, SMU, Virginia and K-State.
The Wildcats opened up the tournament on Thanksgiving Day against SMU. K-State entered the game 2-2, and was still working on finding a rotation. The Wildcats fell to SMU 68-57. Even with their third-consecutive loss, K-State found a bright spot in the play of junior guard Ashia Woods, who made her season debut after recovering from a torn Achilles-tendon. Woods led the Wildcats with 16 points, and provided head coach Deb Patterson with added depth and scoring from the outside. Junior Haley Texada and freshman Leticia Romero were the only other Wildcats in double figures, finishing with 13 and 10 respectively. Defensively, K-State held SMU to 33 percent shooting, but sent the Mustangs to the foul line 27 times.
The Wildcats were back in action the following night, this time against Virginia. After three-straight losses, K-State got back on track with a 49-46 win, moving their record to 3-3 on the season. Freshman center Breanna Lewis anchored the Wildcats inside, finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds, and helping the Wildcats to their most impressive defensive performance of the season. K-State held Virginia to 28 percent shooting, and got huge stops down the stretch when they needed them most. Romero and Texada were again spectacular in the backcourt, combining for 20 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists. According to the K-State sports website, this was the first win for the Wildcats outside of the United States since 2004.
The Wildcats have struggled from three-point range so far this season, and will look to improve upon their arrival back in Manhattan. Even with the offensive troubles, the defense has been solid, helping keep the team in games. If the freshmen can continue to mesh with the upperclassmen, and the offense can begin to find a groove, this team could do some damage moving into conference play.
K-State will take a week off before returning to action on Saturday against Grambling State. The Wildcats will play two-consecutive home games before heading out on a three-game road trip.