Women’s basketball team ready for Big Dance

Sophomore guard Kayla Goth runs the ball down the court during the K-State game against TCU in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 18, 2017. (File Photo by Nathan Jones | The Collegian)

The seventh-seeded Kansas State women’s basketball team will face Drake, the 10 seed, Saturday. This is the first time in 15 years that K-State will host a regional competition for the NCAA tournament and the 15th year in school history they reach the NCAA tournament.

K-State is 5-1 when hosting the NCAA tournament and had an impressive record of 13-3 at home this season. The three home losses were to No. 1 Connecticut, No. 2 Baylor and No. 12 Texas. They are 12-14 in their previous 14 appearances in the NCAA tournament.

The Cats are in the Lexington, Kentucky, regional along with several big-name teams, including Notre Dame, Stanford, Texas, Kentucky and their first opponent, Drake. If the Wildcats beat Drake on Saturday, they will face the winner of Stanford and New Mexico State on Monday.

The Cats will have a tough task against the Bulldogs on Saturday. The Bulldogs finished with a 28-4 record, and they went 18-0 in conference play, winning their conference, along with having the second-longest winning streak in the nation at 22 in a row.

The Cats and the Bulldogs have faced off 17 previous times, and K-State leads the series 12-5. Another big stat for the Wildcats is they had a record 1,200 rebounds this season, the first time they have reached a mark such as this with Jeff Mittie as their head coach.

Regardless of the challenge ahead, many people surrounding the team are ready to play.

“I’m excited to be at home. I’m excited for our players,” head coach Jeff Mittie said to K-State Sports.

“I’m just excited,” freshman forward Eternati Willock said to K-State Sports. “This is my first time experiencing it.”

The Wildcats will be looking for production from senior guard Kindred Wesemann, who leads the Big 12 in 3-pointers made per game with an average of 2.7 and had 10 games this season with four or more buckets from beyond the arc.

Another player to watch out for is sophomore guard Kayla Goth, who averaged 18.5 points per game in the Big 12 tournament and had 25 points in the quarterfinals against Iowa State.

Drake is led by their Missouri Valley Conference player of the year, junior forward Lizzy Wendell. She has averaged 21.1 points per game and is nationally ranked No. 13 in scoring. Wendell has scored in double figures in every game but one this season.

The game will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday and will be broadcasted on ESPN2 and ESPN3.