By Mark Janssen
MANHATTAN, Kan. - It is 13 games into the 2010-11 season, but coach Deb Patterson says her women's basketball lineup "...is still a work in progress. We're continuing to evaluate day-to-day. We're looking for that work-ethic and intensity that have to be there even if each possession is not polished."
The 10-3 Wildcats are winning games with their defense, which is allowing just 51.9 points per game, and their rebounding where they hold a plus-5.0 rebound per game average.
What continues to be troublesome to Patterson is the team's 62.3 scoring average, and the fact that just one time this season has K-State scored more than 70 points heading into Sunday's 2:30 p.m., Big 12 opener against 12-1 Oklahoma State in Bramlage Coliseum.
"We still haven't seen a lot of push with our offense," said Patterson heading into the next three games against high-scoring teams - Oklahoma State (76.0), Oklahoma (83.9) and Texas Tech (71.3). "It's been like two steps forward, three steps back when we've gone with different lineups."
After losing games to UTSA and Middle Tennessee State, Patterson juggled her lineup for wins over Dartmouth and Vermont last week when she opted to bring Jalana Childs and Branshea Brown off the bench, and starting JuliAnne Chisholm, who is new to the program following a four-year volleyball career, and freshman Chantay Caron.
Of Chisholm's move back into basketball after not playing since high school, Patterson said, "In a short period of time she's picked up so many of our concepts. She gives us an intelligence. Any mistakes she makes are filled with effort."
Due to her exposure to Big 12 volleyball, Patterson said, "She is used to high-level competition and importance of attention to detail. She has that toughness that has helped in her transition, and she's a fighter."
While Caron (4.7) and Chisholm (2.6) produce little in terms of scoring, Childs and Brown have found some comfort coming off the bench in K-State's last two games as Childs averaged 13 points and 4.5 rebounds, and Brown 7.5 points and 6.0 rebounds.
Due to the iffy offense, Patterson said, "I don't feel certain what we've gotten accomplished because of our lack of consistency. We continue to be a work in progress."
Chambers Leads the Way
Brittany Chambers continues to lead K-State in scoring (15.3) and 3-point shooting (.365).
Patterson calls Chambers' recent play "unbelievably strong."
A year ago Chambers was a 12.1 point per game scorer, which included an 11.6 average in Big 12 games only in her freshman year.
In preparing this year's cast of rookies for the 16-game grind of the Big 12 season, Chambers said, "It's the physicality. You don't have fouls called as much. You get pushed around and you're not going to be given an inch.
"You just try to tell them to keep their head on, play our basketball game, and not focus into what the opponent is doing," said Chambers. Looking back to a year ago, she added, "I don't know if you ever get comfortable because so many things are being thrown at you."
Guards Attack Boards
Continuing a trend that developed under former K-State guard Megan Mahoney (2001-05), Kansas State's guards have continued to attack the glass for rebounds.
This season, K-State's guards have pulled in 230 of the team's 521 rebounds this season (44.1 percent). Over the last five seasons, K-State's leading rebounder has been a guard (Shalee Lehning four times; Brittany Chambers once).
This season, K-State guards are averaging 17.7 rebounds per game, which is ahead of last season's final per game average of 14.2. The 14.2 average from last season was the highest in 10 years in terms of rebounds per game from K-State guards.
Taelor Karr and Chambers are averaging 5.5 per game, while Mariah White is averaging 5.0.
K-State From Afar
K-State's current pace from beyond the arc of 5.6 three-point field goals made per game trails what the team has done historically over the last 10 seasons. The Wildcats have averaged 6.7 made three-point field goals per game in the last 10 seasons, including an average of 7.3 made three-point field goals per game in the 2009-10 season.
Pack the House
Talk about a Sunday afternoon bargain! The Wildcats' 2:30 matinee with Oklahoma State at Bramlage Coliseum will carry only a $1 ticket, plus, $1 for goodies from the concession stand.
At halftime fans will be entertained by America's Best Frisbee Dogs. The traveling halftime act located in Holland, Mich., has performed at over 300 professional and collegiate sporting events for over 20 years.
The NCAA "Pack the House" initiative is in its fourth year of existence and was created to assist in growing the game of women's basketball.