Women’s basketball faces conference-leading Texas

Head coach Jeff Mittie relays instructions to the team in the fourth quarter of the Wildcats' 59-46 victory over the Jayhawks at the annual Sunflower Showdown Jan. 20, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The K-State women’s basketball team has been away from Bramlage Coliseum since Jan. 16. Saturday’s game against the Texas Longhorns will finally give the Wildcats another chance to play on their own hardwood. Playing at home and in front of their own fans will be critical for the Wildcats if they want to extend their four-game winning streak to five games.

Texas will be no easy task for head coach Jeff Mittie’s squad. The Longhorns are ranked No. 6 in the country with a 19-1 overall record and an 8-1 record in conference play. They have impressive wins over No. 4 Baylor, No. 13 Mississippi State, No. 16 Stanford, No. 18 Tennessee, No. 21 Oklahoma and No. 24 West Virginia.

Junior center Breanna Lewis has been stellar for the Wildcats this season. She averages 17 points, 7.5 rebounds per game and is ranked third in the Big 12 with 2.79 blocks per game. Couple that with junior guard Kindred Wesemann’s 12.8 points per game and senior guard Megan Deines’ 9.8 points per game, and the Wildcats provide a potent offensive attack for all of their opponents.

On the floor, the Longhorns have two players who average double figures in points. Senior center Imani Boyette scores on average of 13.7 points per game. Boyette could be Lewis’ kryptonite in this matchup. She stands at 6 feet 7 inches tall, which is 2 inches taller than Lewis. Boyette also reels in 10.1 rebounds per game, which is 2.6 more per game than Lewis. In addition, Boyette one-ups Lewis by leading the Big 12 in blocks per game at 3.45. Sophomore guard Brooke McCarty contributes 11.2 points per game to assist Boyette in scoring.

The last four games for K-State have given the Wildcats exactly what they needed: confidence. While they didn’t beat any top-four teams in the Big 12 during the course of this winning streak, they beat the fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth place teams. They needed those wins to get back on the winning track.

After losing their first four Big 12 games, the Wildcats could’ve spiraled downward and mailed it in on the season. K-State, however, got the season back and started winning games. If the Wildcats win on Saturday, they will have completed a full-conference turnaround after their 0-4 start.

Tipoff between the Wildcats and the Longhorns is set for 7 p.m. Saturday.