Women’s basketball season-in-review: Finishing strong

Wildcat women's basketball huddle
The women's basketball team huddles together before their WNIT first round matchup against Wichita State at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats won 71-55, but later fell to Washington in the Super 16. (Reece Bachta | Collegian Media Group)

Falling short to Washington in the WNIT Super 16 round, Kansas State women’s basketball ended its 2023 season after fighting through injury and adversity.

Despite not making it to the NCAA women’s tournament this year, head coach Jeff Mittie assembled a competitive roster and provided opportunities for young players to gain vital experience.

“I think that they should be proud of the games that they won and the growth that they had, because we certainly could have gone the other way with it,” Mittie said after the loss to Washington. “So, it shows the character there; it shows when you get to the kind of the dog days of basketball, when you get to that mid-February part, you can go one of two ways and we were certainly in a position where it was vulnerable to go the other way, and this team didn’t do that. They responded.”

Injury played a large factor in the Wildcats’ basketball season, losing veteran talents in Ayoka Lee and Gisela Sanchez. 

With the loss of veteran players Lee and Sanchez, injury significantly impacted K-state’s season. 

“Hopefully they can take from that and build off of it and come back next year and make a run like we feel like we’re capable of,” Mittie said. “We feel like we’ve got an opportunity to have the three back that got injured [Lee, Sanchez, Ja’Mia Harris].” 

Sophomore guard Serena Sundell had another productive year, improving on her freshman campaign in most statistical categories. She averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game while shooting close to 48% from the field.

First-year transfer guard Gabby Gregory cemented herself as one of the top players in the Big 12, scoring the second-most points by a player in the conference. She also ranked third in both 3-point shots made and free throw percentage.

Both guards led K-State’s offense, but other starters helped contribute on both sides. Twin guards Jaelyn Glenn and Brylee Glenn were two key threats for the Wildcats. Jaelyn Glenn ended the season with the most steals in the conference and Brylee Glenn played valuable minutes on offense, averaging 8.3 points per game.

The team faced difficulties at times, often falling behind early in games, and experienced a rough patch, finishing second-to-last in the Big 12. The team also failed to win any road games, but played exceptionally well at home with notable victories over No. 3 Iowa and national sensation Caitlin Clark, and No. 17 Iowa State.

The roster possesses high potential going into next season. The pairing of Lee and Gregory along with Sundell is one that will garner attention from Big 12 foes. The Wildcats will have another shot at Big 12 contention and another March Madness berth with the roster at full strength.