PREVIEW: Women’s basketball hosts Oklahoma State Monday

Sophomore guard Emilee Ebert dribbles down the court during K-State’s 70-63 loss to Oklahoma State in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 15, 2020. (File photo by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Returning to the hardwood after a long 30-day pause on the program due to COVID-19, the Kansas State women’s basketball team struggled. In both games since their return, K-State (5-6, 0-4 Big 12) held a double-digit lead in the first half, but was not able to retain their offensive production in the second half, leading to two come from behind losses.

The team that was tabbed to finish fourth in the Big 12 Conference this year is going winless in the conference to the dismay of K-State head coach Jeff Mittie. Next up they will take on an Oklahoma State Cowgirls team that is currently fifth in the conference with a 9-5 record overall and a 5-3 record in the conference.

Both teams look quite similar on paper, as the Cowgirls and Wildcats both have a top-three scoring defense and a bottom three scoring offense in the Big 12. Both are also led by their star forwards, senior Natasha Mack for OSU and sophomore Ayoka Lee for K-State.

Mack has been dominant for the Cowgirls, averaging 19.1 points per game on 54.5 percent shooting while also leading the team in total rebounds (153) and blocks (53). Even in a losing effort in her last time out against Baylor, Mack was still able to put up 21 points against the No. 9 team in the nation.

While Mack has led the way for the Cowgirls, redshirt junior guard Ja’Mee Asberry has helped make a duo that the Wildcats have to be on watch for. Asberry is averaging 16.3 points per game and is doing that thanks to her three-point shooting this year, banking in 30 total three’s up to this point.

Lee is coming off of a 14-point performance against KU, but hasn’t been the dominant force in the Big 12 this year that she was predicted to be. She is still leading the Wildcats in points per game though with 16.4 and shooting a team-high 58.6 percent clip.

Junior guard Christianna Carr is coming off of a career game in which she led the offensive attack against Kansas with 24 points. Carr is averaging 14.3 points per game while leading the team in made three’s, shooting at a 41.9 percent clip from behind the arc.

The similarities between the two teams are glaring.

Both teams are riding losing streaks as the Wildcats have lost four straight dating back to Dec. 18 while OSU is riding a three-game losing streak with their last loss being a 77-58 blowout to Baylor. Both are desperate for a win.

How will all of these similarities match up out on the court? We’ll find out at 4 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum on Monday. The game can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and heard on the K-State Sports Network.