The Kansas State women’s basketball team opens its regular season tonight against Chicago State, tipping off the 49th season of the program.
The Wildcats finished last season 19-13. They lost three straight games to close the regular season but still earned a selection to the NCAA Tournament. There, they beat George Washington before losing to South Carolina in the second round.
This year, K-State enters the regular season riding high after two straight exhibition wins over Washburn and Newman universities.
The Wildcats outscored their two exhibition foes by a combined score of 166-64, including a 100-33 win over Newman Monday night.
Their opponent, the Chicago State Cougars, are coming off a rougher season than K-State’s last year. The Cougars finished 4-25 and lost their last seven games of the season. One of those losses was to K-State, 63-54, Dec. 5. K-State senior center Breanna Lewis led all individual scorers in that game with 21 points.
Lewis is expected to start at center again tonight.
Also expected to start tonight is senior guard Kindred Wesemann, junior guard Karyla Middlebrook and junior forward Shaelyn Martin.
Making her first regular season start will be freshman forward Eternati Willock, who is set to start at the other forward position.
Willock is a native of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. She is the first Canadian player to play for K-State.
At 6 feet 4 inches, she is the second tallest player on a team behind Lewis.
Their height gives the Wildcats a significant advantage going into tonight’s game. The Cougars only have two players in the 6-foot altitude: freshman forward Alexandria Cliff, who is listed at 6 feet, and sophomore forward and center Sh’Toya Sanders, who is listed at 6 feet 2 inches and is the tallest player on Chicago State’s roster.
The Wildcats’ roster includes six players listed at 6 feet 3 inches or taller, and nine of the total 14 are at least 6 feet tall.
One area to watch tonight will be turnovers. When the two teams played last year, the teams each had 17.
K-State also had 17 turnovers against Newman on Monday. It was enough that head coach Jeff Mittie said the team will have to address the issue.
The Wildcats take on the Cougars at 5:30 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum.