By Mark Janssen
Let the games begin!
"It's time to get a real test," said women's basketball coach Deb Patterson, who enters her 15th Wildcat season. "I don't know that I have a great idea of what our toughness quotient is, or our character, or the fight, but the game is on now."
After posting exhibition wins by 66 points over Fort Hays State, and 44 over Washburn, Patterson admitted that the true tests only come when games count in the win-loss column.
"You can get a good feel from your team if you've had the same people in the gym for two or three years and they've proven some things, but this group is very unproven," said Patterson. "I'm not sure if I have a good feel for what their signature will be."
Patterson will start a trio of sophomore guards in returning starters Brittany Chambers and Taelor Karr, plus Mariah White. The front line will consist of a pair of 6-2 juniors in Jalana Childs and Branshea Brown.
"I feel comfortable with that group today, but I'm also comfortable that if we get complacent in practice, I will have no hesitation to change it," said Patterson.
With the departure of seniors Ashley Sweat and Kari Kincaid from last year's team, and without a senior starter on this season's unit, Patterson said, "I will have an even greater feel for our leadership after these first games. Things have gone well, but we've had big leads and things have been comfortable. I'll be anxious to see us in a tough game. That will give us an indication of what kind of leadership we will have in the game, and the next day at practice."
EXHIBITION NOTES: K-State's average margin of victory against Fort Hays State and Washburn was 91-36.
In those games, Chambers averaged 16.5 points per game on 54 percent shooting, while freshman Brianna Kulas averaged 15.5 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field.
Also in double figures were Childs at 13.5 points per game on 55 percent shooting, and Karr 10.5 points per game on 53 percent shooting.
Brown and Alina Voronenko led in rebounds with averages of 6.5 and 6.0, respectively.
TOURNEY HISTORY: The 'Cats have never lost to Grambling State in seven tries, and, they have been victorious in 27 of 30 Classic games, which includes winning 12 out of the 15 possible titles.
GAME OF NOTE: This is the 1,250th all-time game in the 43-year history of women's basketball at K-State. With 782 all-time wins, K-State ranks 13th in the nation among Division I schools.
PRESEASON POLLS: In the Associated Press preseason national rankings, Baylor is ranked No. 2, and only behind UConn. Texas A&M is No. 8, Oklahoma No. 10, Texas No. 17 and Iowa State No. 20 in the national listing.
Also in the Commerce Bank field is No. 14 St. John's.
In the Big 12's preseason coaches' poll, K-State is ninth behind BU, A&M, OU, UT, ISU, KU, NU and O-State. Following the 'Cats are Texas Tech, Missouri and Colorado.