OPINION: K-State women’s basketball has the ability to advance far in Big 12 tournament

Senior guard, Shaelyn Martin, scans the court for an open teammate as she protects the ball against KU in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 24, 2018. The Wildcats defeated the Jayhawks 91-67. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State women’s basketball team will play in the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City starting on Friday when it faces KU at 6 p.m.

The Wildcats are seeded No. 8 as they enter competition with No. 9 KU.

K-State finished its season 15-14 overall and 7-11 in Big 12 play. The conference record reverses last year’s finish of 11-7 against conference opponents.

Looking ahead to the tournament favorites, Baylor is favored going into the weekend with an impressive record of 28-1, and 18-0 in conference. The Bears are ranked No. 3 in the country and first in the Big 12. Baylor made it to the championship game of the tournament last year but fell to West Virginia, 77-66. In 2016, No. 4 Baylor beat No. 7 Texas 79-63 with 22 points from Nina Davis to win the tournament.

The Wildcats could advance far in this year’s tournament if they use the same approach as they did against KU and Texas Tech in their last two games. The Wildcats were able to distribute scoring among several teammates and not just have one player stand out.

A few key players will have to continue contributing as they have during the regular season and against conference opponents. Here are the Wildcats’ key contributors:

Freshman Rachel Ranke has been able to provide 3-point baskets and other ways of scoring throughout the season. After reaching double figures 18 times this season, Ranke was named Big 12 Freshman of the Week.

Ranke scored 19 points and had four rebounds against the Jayhawks on Saturday. She leads all Big 12 freshmen in scoring and her 77 3-point field goals puts her in second in program history among freshmen.

Sophomore Peyton Williams also leads the team in several categories, such as field goal percentage and shots made from the foul line. In addition to averaging just under seven rebounds a game, she can put points on the board when the team is in a scoring drought.

Junior Kayla Goth plays the most minutes for the Wildcats, averaging 35.4 minutes a game. With her just under 17 points a game, she is a key factor for K-State when the team needs points quickly.

Senior Kaylee Page has 28 steals and 23 blocks. Her 47 assists are an important part of her playing style as she tries to help her team get much-needed points when she sees game action.

Senior Shaelyn Martin does not necessarily score a lot, but she does a lot of things for the Wildcats that may not get a lot of recognition. She has played in all but one conference game where she has 99 rebounds, 73 of these coming on the defensive end of the court. K-State will need that rebounding going into the tournament.

All the action starts Friday at 6 p.m. with the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds, K-State and KU.

Julia Jorns is a sophomore in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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