It’s never easy seeing a former team for the first time.
Ask LeBron James, who’s had to do it twice now, or even former K-State men’s head coach Bob Huggins, who does it on a yearly basis. K-State head women’s basketball coach Jeff Mitte can put himself in that company, as he faced off against his former TCU squad for the first time Wednesday night.
“I always tell my players that you can control only what you can control, four minutes at a time,” Mitte said after the game. “There wasn’t anything that changed in our preparation.”
As the Mitte storyline unfolded, another one immediately took shape in the form of 6-foot-5-inch sophomore Breanna Lewis. From the onset, the Horned Frogs struggled to contain Lewis on both ends of the floor.
In just a few minutes, Lewis had four points and three rebounds. She was just getting started, as were the Wildcats (15-8, 5-7) who looked sharp on their way to a 93-79 victory.
“I think she continues to improve,” Mitte said. “I think she has better clarity going into each game, and I hope we’re coaching her better and she played very well and made great decisions.”
Lewis finished with a career-high 28 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Ashia Woods added 21 points on the evening to help the Wildcats earn their 15th win this season. Lewis and Woods were two of four K-State players who finished in double-figures.
“I thought these two (Woods and Lewis) were fantastic,” Mitte said. “They made really strong moves, and they made the right moves early in the game. I thought it was real consistent throughout the game.”
The game appeared to reach an early decision with the the Horned Frogs trailing by double-digits often due to poor shooting and defensive struggles. K-State finished the contest with 54 points in the paint, most of which were scored in first half as the Horned Frogs dealt with early foul trouble.
“Defensively, (we did) not perform very well,” TCU head coach Raegan Pebley said. “We had foul trouble and that was frustrating for the team. We were hoping to get to the foul line more and that did not happen.”
After a Deborah Meeks jumper at the buzzer gave K-State a 48-33 lead at the intermission, TCU turned up the pressure to begin the second half. TCU scored 18 points off 14 K-State turnovers, including eight turnovers in the second half, but the Wildcats tightened up their play late to finish with a 14-point victory.
“I felt like we tried to work on poise and control because we were expecting a trap, once we got it to the middle of the floor things worked well as a whole,” Woods said. “We just connected and had good chemistry with that; it just flowed well.”
K-State returns to action on Sunday against Texas Tech. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. from Bramlage Coliseum.