K-State to take on in-state rival in opening round of Big 12 Tournament

Sophomore forward Breanna Lewis lays up the ball on Jan. 11, 2014 at Bramlage Coliseum. Lewis had a total of eight points in the game against KU. (Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

The K-State women’s basketball team will travel to Dallas on Friday to take on Kansas in the first round of the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Wildcats enter the tournament as the No. 8 seed, and the Jayhawks the No. 9 seed.

The Wildcats (17-12, 7-11) are 2-0 against the Jayhawks (15-16, 6-12) this season, defeating Kansas 58-52 on Jan. 11 in Bramlage Coliseum, and 55-48 on Feb. 25 at Allen Fieldhouse.

In January’s matchup, Kansas held a nine-point lead at the start of the second half, but K-State answered with a 10-0 run followed by an 8-0 run midway through the half to secure the lead and the victory.

“I think you would expect that kind of game in a rivalry like this,” K-State head coach Jeff Mittie said to K-State Sports after the win. “I thought it was kind of a gutty performance by us. We really just kind of gritted out a win.”

The second matchup was a similar story. K-State responded to a 10-0 run by Kansas in the second half with a 12-0 run of their own, aided by senior guard Ashia Woods with five points and two steals during the run. Senior guard Haley Texada also helped out offensively, contributing 20 points on the night.

Gutsy performances in second halves have worked well for the Wildcats. K-State is coming off a come-from-behind victory over West Virginia Tuesday. K-State struggled against the Mountaineers, trailing by double-digits for the majority of the game.

But, with under 10 minutes to play, Woods sparked a 17-3 run that put the Wildcats up 54-52 with 2:13 left to play. West Virginia tried to hang on to their lead, but a jumper by sophomore forward Breanna Lewis and free throws from Woods and sophomore guard Kindred Wesemann would seal the comeback win for the Wildcats.

Kansas is coming off of a hot streak of their own, upsetting No. 2 seed Oklahoma on the road and No. 5 seed Iowa State at home. Senior Chelsea Gardner has led the way for the Jayhawks, averaging 19.6 points in her last five games.

K-State leads the all-time series against Kansas 65-46. A win on Friday would set up a matchup against No. 1 seed Baylor in the second round of the tournament.

Tipoff is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.