February 28, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
From memorable wins to big-time freshmen performances to all-around team victories, February has been an exciting month for K-State Athletics. Here are a few moments K-State Sports Extra has highlighted as February's greatest.
10. Men's Basketball Wins on the Road at Texas Tech, 60-56
It came down to the wire in Lubbock, Texas, on Feb. 27, however the K-State men's basketball team had what it took to snap a six-game on the road losing skid. Despite a shaky first half, a 20-5 run by the Wildcats late in the second half was enough to push them past the Red Raiders. Led by freshman Marcus Foster who finished with a game-high 17 points, freshman Wesley Iwundu (12 points), junior Thomas Gipson (10 points) and senior Will Spradling (10 points) also scored points in the double digits.
"It was a good win for us. A lot of things didn't go well for us throughout the game and you talk about how bad do you want it, you got to keep fighting, and keep believing for good things to happen," head coach Bruce Weber said after the game. "You know, (you've) just got to keep fighting, you have to believe and something good will happen. It was a good all-around team effort for us.
9. Football Announces 2014 Signing Class
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, K-State football announced its 2014 signing class. A group of 28 student-athletes from 12 different states, the class is made up of 18 high school players and nine community-college players, while current Wildcat offensive lineman Will Ash was awarded a scholarship and counted towards this class.
"I'm proud of all the coaches, and all the personnel in our staff. When it comes down to recruiting, there are a lot of people who get involved," said Snyder. "We have an amazing relationship with our faculty, they are really significant in our recruiting process... There's a lot of people, our towns people, this community. I believe in all those elements."
8. Women's basketball defeats Kansas, 76-68, in Allen Fieldhouse
Opening the game on a 21-0 lead, once K-State women's basketball team took off in Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 26, there was no stopping the young team. The Wildcats were led on the court by freshman Leti Romero with 26 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals. The game marked Romero's fifth Big 12 conference game scoring more than 20 points and sixth this season. Freshman Kindred Wesemann (15 points) and seniors Ashlynn Knoll (12 points) and Chantay Caron (10 points) also joined Romero scoring in double digits.
K-State's 37 first half points marked the most first half points the Wildcats have scored in Big 12 play, and K-State finished the game shooting a season-high .574 from the field, which was the highest since 2008.
7. Tennis Opens February with Three Straight Wins
With wins over Liberty (7-0), Fresno State (4-2) and Colorado (4-1), the K-State women's tennis team opened the month on the right foot. Starting the spring season with a 5-1 record, the three February wins marked the first time the Wildcats had won five straight matches since Jan. 21-Feb. 19, 2011.
"With the number of matches we are playing, we really stress the importance of learning something from each one. I think they have done a pretty good job of doing that," head coach Steve Bietau said after sweeping Liberty. "This group is pretty young and inexperienced and they do some goofy things from time to time, but they are conscientious and they do work hard. I think today marks a pretty positive step for them."
6. 2004 Big 12 Women's Basketball Champions Reunite in Bramlage Coliseum
At halftime of K-State's 60-54 win over Texas Tech on Feb. 15, the 2004 Big 12 Women's Basketball team reunited and was honored on the court. A group who took part in one of the most memorable eras in K-State women's basketball history, all fans stood and applauded when the former Wildcats took the court.
Among the members who were in Manhattan for the event were: Claire Coggins, Chelsea Domenico, Amy Dutmer, Brie Madden, Jessica McFarland, Kimmery Newsom, Nicole Ohlde, Naytanda Smith and Kendra Wecker. Due to commitments with their professional teams in Australia and Italy, respectively, Laurie Koehn and Megan Mahoney were unable to attend but did provide video messages for the crowd in Bramlage.
"I think about that (2004 team) all the time, there will never be anything like it again," head coach Deb Patterson said. "It was a special point in time in Kansas State women's basketball history; the achievements, the rides, the sellouts, there will never be firsts like that again. People were fired up. It was just a very special time."
5. Men's Basketball Defeats No. 15/18 Texas, 74-57
Freshman Marcus Foster awed all as he scored 34 points in K-State's 74-57 win over then-No. 15/18 Texas on Feb. 8. While Foster's offensive effort helped boost the Wildcats to the win, the team's suffocating defensive effort held Texas to a season-low 57 points on just 32.7 percent shooting from the field. The win marked the Wildcats' 12th consecutive home win and kept the team perfect at home during Big 12 play.
"It was one of those days. It was a special day, we were in the zone," head coach Bruce Weber said after the game. "It was the shooting, but it is really the energy, the excitement and the passion."
4. Leti Romero Garners Third Big 12 Freshman of the Week Honors
For the third time this season, Leti Romero, the talented point guard from Las Palmas, Spain, earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Freshman of the Week for her all-around performances against Oklahoma on Jan. 29 and at Iowa State on Feb. 1. She became the first freshman since Laurie Koehn in the 2002 season to earn three Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Week honors. Romero is currently averaging team-leading 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, while her four assists at Iowa State made her just the fourth freshman in K-State history to record 100 assists in a single season.
"I'm just ecstatic about her progress thinking about the fact that she's so young in the American game right now," head coach Deb Patterson said. "Her upside continues to be tremendous. As we continue to recruit great players around her and watch her teammates step up and step on the floor and make the shots they're capable of making, we've become better instantly."
3. Erica Twiss Ties School Record in 60m Hurdles at the Iowa State Classic
On Feb. 15, at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa, track and field senior Erica Twiss soared over the hurdles. With a time of 8.24 in the 60m event, Twiss tied the record for best in K-State history. While her 8.24 seconds in the 60m hurdles sits at second best in the conference behind Texas' Morgan Snow (8.23 seconds), Twiss' best score of 4,023 in the pentathlon at the Bill Bergman Invitational on Jan. 30, is currently a Big 12 best.
"I was pretty impressed, I didn't know I had run that fast," Twiss said about tying the record. "I thought it was pretty cool, being a multi (pentathlon/heptathlon), for me, I think it was even cooler because it's not even something that I spend all my time on, so it's cool to see that my hard work is kind of paying off."
2. Marcus Foster Earns Big 12 Rookie and National Tisdale Freshman of the Week for 34-point Performance vs. Texas
Like he's done all season long, Marcus Foster turned heads on Feb. 8, in K-State's win over Texas. His 34 points were a game-changer, and the freshman from Wichita Falls, Texas, became only the third freshman in Wildcat history to break the 30-point mark. It was the most points from a freshman in the Big 12 this season and the most points from a K-State freshman since Michael Beasley put away 39 points on March 1, 2008, against Kansas. His performance earned him both Big 12 Rookie of the Week and National Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Week honors for the second time this season.
"It's an amazing feeling to be in the same category as guys like Jacob Pullen and Michael Beasley," Foster said after the game. "It was just one of those days. We always talk about being on the magic level, and tonight, I was on the magic level."
So far this season Foster is averaging a team-high 15.3 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game. While his 69 assists are also a team-high.
1. Men's Basketball Earns Thrilling Overtime Win over Kansas in Bramlage Coliseum
From start to finish, K-State's 85-82 overtime win over No. 7/7 Kansas was jam-packed with energy, drama, excitement and heart-stopping moments that kept fans on their feet.
It took character, it took passion, it took aggression and it took the entire K-State basketball team to pull it off, but on Monday, Feb. 10, K-State beat KU.
"I couldn't be more proud of our guys. I'm just so happy for them," head coach Bruce Weber said. "We talk about leaving a legacy, following up on Rodney (McGurder) and Jordan (Henriquez) and Martavious (Irving's) group and what they did, they want to continue that. For the rest of their lives, they can remember this."
A complete team effort, freshman Marcus Foster put away 20 points while senior Will Spradling scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds. The K-State bench scored a combined 30 points and was led by senior Omari Lawrence (9 points), junior Nino Williams (8 points) and sophomore D.J. Johnson (9 points).
For a complete story on that magical evening in Bramlage Coliseum, check out the Sports Extra Home Court Magic by clicking here.
K-State fans rush the court after the game against Kansas at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on February 10, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)