Opening its 2013-14 campaign with an 85-64 exhibition win over Washburn University last night, the Wildcats are young, healthy and ready for an exciting season of basketball.
"I'm happy with the start," K-State head coach Deb Patterson said. "I think it was great to have a real bench and a lot of energy from everybody who had the opportunity to take the floor tonight. I saw all kinds of possibilities. I thought we had good balance and all kinds of things for us to grow from and learn from in this opener at home."
Coming off of a 2012-13 season littered with injuries which left K-State's roster only seven deep by the end of the season, having a bench full of promise to open this year was a breath of fresh air.
"It's just makes you feel great," Patterson said. "You just feel like, wow, this is going to be a fantastic year if everybody continues to get better every day. You feel as though there's a lot of different things that we can do to impact a game."
Highlighting the night and the Wildcats' five newcomers was freshman Leti Romero.
A native of Las Palmas, Spain, Romero opened her Wildcat career scoring 25 points, recording 12 rebounds and accounting for four assists.
Not a bad start for an 18-year-old playing in the United States for the first time.
"I had no idea how it was going to be," Romero said after the game. "It's really different but I really like it. I was nervous, but I think we did a great job and I'm really happy."
Patterson was also happy with Romero's performance.
"I liked the balance when you look at that stat line," Patterson said with a smile when asked about the young guard. "You're getting some from the floor, you're getting some from the free throw line and then she rebounded the ball well and that's encouraging. It's never easy to put those kinds of numbers up on the board but she's capable. I'm proud of really what everybody brought. It was a great debut."
Along with Romero, four other Wildcats scored in the double-digits, including junior Haley Texada (15), redshirt freshman Kelly Thomson (14) and freshman Erica Young (10). Sixty-six of the Wildcats' 85 total points were scored by either freshmen or players who, due to injury, had never played minutes on the court.
After losing last season's talented leading scorer Brittany Chambers, having newcomers put points on the board will be crucial to the Wildcats' success this upcoming season, and Patterson said she was pleased with the overall offensive effort of her team.
"That's what we've been so in need of, just having a team that will take the floor and play with great aggressiveness," Patterson said. "There's a lot of ways to do that, and whether that's two-point field goals or at the (free throw) line, tonight everybody remained aggressive in all of the phases in the game. When we do that it's going to give us a chance."
K-State returns to Bramlage Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 1, with its final exhibition game against Alaska-Anchorage at 5:45 p.m.
For a full recap and more on last night's game, click here.
Zimmerman Named Semifinalist for Jim Thorpe Award:
K-State senior defensive back Ty Zimmerman has been selected as one of 15 semifinalists for the prestigious Jim Thorpe Award, the Jim Thorpe Association announced on Monday.
Given to the nation's top defensive back, the Jim Thorpe Award was established in 1986 and Zimmerman is only the fifth Wildcat in K-State history to be named a finalist.
Click here for the full story: Zimmerman Named Semifinalist for Jim Thorpe Award.