PREVIEW: Women’s basketball looks to avoid 11th straight loss in Sunflower Showdown

Sophomore center Ayoka Lee leaps up for a shot during K-State's 83-63 victory over KU in Bramlage Coliseum last year. (File photo by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

To say the women’s basketball team has it rough this year is an understatement. Entering 2021 with a 5-4 record, the Wildcats are beaten and battered in the new year.

Kansas State still seeks its first win of 2021 and also looks for its first victory in Big 12 Conference play this season, sitting at 5-12 overall and 0-10 in the Big 12. The Wildcats may find it difficult to find many positive takeaways — but a win in the Sunflower Showdown certainly could lift the team’s spirits.

A victory on Saturday is not unrealistic as Kansas comes into the matchup with a losing record as well. The Jayhawks are 7-10 overall and 3-8 in the conference — the Jayhawks also lost eight of the last ten games.

Both teams are in desperate need for a win.

KU comes off of a 69-61 loss to West Virginia, while K-State lost to TCU 78-67 on Wednesday.

The most encouraging note for K-State going into Saturday’s matchup is the fact that the game is at at home. KU has yet to win on the road this year, sitting at 0-7 in road contests. Furthermore, K-State earned four out of its five wins inside Bramlage Coliseum.

In the history of this matchup, K-State has a substantial lead. The Wildcats are 75-49 against the Jayhawks dating back to 1969. Perhaps more encouraging is that the Wildcats are 35-16 against KU when playing at home.

K-State primarily looks to shut down 5-foot-10 sophomore guard Holly Kersgieter, who averages 16.3 points per game for the Jayhawks. 6-foot-2 senior forward Tina Stephens also averages double-digits on the year for KU.

When looking to find scoring as a team, you can expect the Wildcats to call on sophomore Ayoka Lee often. Lee averages 18.5 points per game and is also grabbing 8.1 rebounds per game for K-State.

In the last five games, the 6-foot-6 center has averaged over 24 points per game.

The 125th meeting between the two teams will tipoff at 1 p.m. Saturday inside Bramlage Coliseum and can be streamed live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.