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Childs Demonstrates Toughness

By Mark Janssen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Deb Patterson said it before the season, and has had every reason to restate the thought multiple times during this 20-9 women's basketball season.

The thought: Jalana Childs has a chance to play in the WNBA.

The offense of the 6-foot-2 junior took a leap from 7.3 points per game last year to 13.6 this season, her defense has steadily improved, and Saturday at Kansas, the Orlando, Fla., native demonstrated a never seen before toughness.

On Wednesday against Texas A&M, Childs' body smashed to the court on her lower back and she was unable to return to the floor. Even by Saturday, her status was iffy for the Kansas game right up to the 6:30 p.m. start.

"I actually didn't think I would be able to play like I did because I was in a lot of pain," Childs said. "I talked to my coaches and it was my decision to step up. I could have tanked it, or do what I did. It was a mental game with myself. I had to be there for my team. It was just a mental war with myself."

Childs played for 32 minutes in the 56-51 Wildcat victory that helped give her club a tie for third place in the Big 12 standings. She scored 16 points with two assists, two steals and a rebound.

"We had an unbelievable performance in terms of toughness and courage from Jalana," Patterson said. "She played hurt. She just really brought it for her team. It was an amazing, courageous step-up moment for her."

Childs has proven to be one of the premier players in the league as was demonstrated Monday when she was named second-team All-Big 12 by the league's coaches.

With the exception of the A&M game when she played less than one minute due to the injury, Childs has scored between 16 and 22 points in her last nine games, which included career-high 22-pointers in back-to-back games at Nebraska and Baylor. The 22 points at Baylor was against 6-foot-8 All-American Brittany Griner, the league's Player of the Year.

Of her steady scoring, assistant coach Kamie Ethridge said, "It's hard for someone who doesn't shoot the 3-ball, and doesn't shoot 15-footers to score like she has. We've been asking someone 6-2 to go against people 6-4 to 6-8 every night and find ways to make baskets. She's showing just how good she is. People are longer than she is and people are game-planning her, and she's still scoring."

Childs is averaging 13.6 points per game, which ranks 13th in the Big 12 entering K-State's first game on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. against Iowa State in Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium. While shooting a respectable 46 percent for the total season, she has been over 50 percent in seven of the last 10 outings.

"You're just seeing a kid who has matured and gotten more confident and secure in who she is and what her team needs," Ethridge said. "She is confident in herself for the first time in her career."

While Childs' start to the season was mediocre with just four twin figure scoring games in her first 10 outings, the way she is finishing the season is not coming as a total surprise.

It was during the summer that Childs went head-to-head with former Wildcat and WNBAer Nicole Ohlde.

"Nicole came back to the office one day and just said, 'Jalana is unbelievably good.' She showed then what she's showing us now," Ethridge said. "What was surprising was in the first semester it wasn't happening in the games. Now she has that understanding of our needs as a team, and what needs she can fill."

Or, in Childs' own words: "I like to succeed in things. I want people to look at me and say, 'She does the right things.  She is golden. This is a total performer. She does it all.' "

FIRST 800, THEN 300: It's been a year of milestones for the K-State women's program as it first earned its 800th all-time victory with a win over Nebraska, and today coach Deb Patterson will be coaching for her 300th all-time victory in 15 years as the Wildcat head coach.

Of those seasons, eight have been of at least 20 victories, which includes this 20-9 campaign. Patterson has coached seven K-State teams into the NCAA Tournament, with an eighth expected to be announced on Monday evening.

In addition, the Wildcats have been to three WNIT events, which included a title in 2006 and reaching the WNIT Final Four in 2007.

BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP LINEUP:
TUESDAY - Game 1 Kansas 71, Colorado 45; Game 2 Iowa State 69, Nebraska 61; Game 3 Texas 79, MU 66; Game 4 Texas Tech 75, OSU 52
WEDNESDAY - Baylor vs. Kansas, 11 a.m.; K-State vs. Iowa State, 1:30 p.m.; Texas A&M vs. Texas, 5 p.m.; Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech, 7:30 p.m.
FRIDAY - Semi-finals at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
SATURDAY - Championship Game, 11 a.m.


We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.