Back-to-Back Wins Fueling K-State Women's Basketball
"The thing that I'm most pleased with is that we're continuing to understand and have a recognition of what we're trying to accomplish," said head coach Jeff Mittie on his team's performance halfway through the Big 12 season. "Those are the things that I can see on tape. I think, at some point, we're going to start to click offensively, and defensively. I think we are starting to get committed."
On Saturday, K-State earned its first true road win of the 2014-15 season as it downed Texas Tech, 41-38, in Lubbock, Texas. Though the Wildcats shot 31.8 percent from the field (14-of-59), their solid defense held the Red Raiders to just 23.7-percent shooting. K-State's ability to find a way to win, even when its shots weren't falling, showed both poise and maturity from the young squad.
"You have to find a way to win through the struggles. While that score was (low), I'll take the 41-point side of it," Mittie said with a smile.
K-State's back-to-back wins marked the first time the team has won two games in a row since non-conference play, and the team's road win at Texas Tech snapped a five-game road losing streak.
"We've been struggling on the road," explained senior guard Ashia Woods. "We've obviously had some tough games on the road. So to finally win one, and to string two in a row at that, it's just getting us on a roll. It's bringing us some confidence."
Woods has been the Wildcats' anchor in each of its past two games as she scored a team-high 18 points in K-State's 52-51 thrilling overtime win over Oklahoma State last Wednesday and also scored a team-high 11 points against Texas Tech.
"It feels good to play well and get the win, but at the same time, a lot of us have played well," said Woods about Saturday's win. "(Brianna) Craig's shots brought us momentum, and (Breanna) Lewis on the boards, there were a lot of us who did some good things that got us that win."
Craig went 3-of-4 from behind the arc for nine points in Lubbock, while Lewis' 11 rebounds were a game-high.
With numerous Wildcats beginning to better understand and embrace their roles on the court, K-State has only continued to take steps in the right direction as the 2014-15 season continues.
"The first win against Oklahoma State, even though it was a tough, thriller win, it came with a lot of confidence," continued Woods. "Now we know we can do this. We're not just a bottom team in the Big 12. We're not going out there with no life and energy. These wins let us know we can do this. Our zone defense held Texas Tech to just 38 points. We have pride in that and I feel like that is going to carry over (against Texas)."
However, Texas will be no easy challenge tomorrow night. The Longhorns enter the game coming off of back-to-back taxing games.
"They're coming off of a tough one at TCU, and they had the double OT game against Oklahoma on Thursday, so this will be their third game in six days," said Mittie. "But just like anyone in this league, it's going to be a challenge. Defensively, they're very, very good. They're one of the top teams in the league.
"Offensively they're inside game is really formidable," continued Mittie. "They haven't shot the three great this year, but they have some talented young players who have been off and on at times. They have talent. Though they lack some experience at the guard spot, they have talent."
On Sunday, Texas fell, 64-59, to TCU in Fort Worth, while last Thursday, it topped No. 24 Oklahoma, 84-81, in double overtime.
The Big 12 is a proven league where anyone can beat anyone on any given night, and that's a fact the Wildcats will keep in mind as it now heads into the second half of the Big 12 season.
Nine games into the Big 12 season, No. 3 Baylor tops the standings with a perfect 9-0 conference record, followed by Oklahoma at 7-2. Iowa State and TCU are tied for third with 5-4 records, and Texas is sitting in fifth with its 4-5 record. The rest of the league - K-State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Kansas - are all tied for sixth at 3-6.
"The league this year is interesting in that you have so many teams bunched up," explained Mittie. "There are a lot of teams at 3-6, so it was good to get that road win. You have 18 (Big 12 games) and sometimes you catch two teams that are a little fatigued. We struggled offensively all day long, but it looked like both teams really had to fight through that on Saturday. We were fortunate enough to make a few more plays."
For more information on the Wildcats' upcoming game, please click here.