Nonconference Slate Prepares K-State for Big 12

Despite a first half of poor shooting, the Wildcats opened the second half strong with an 18-2 run, and, from then on, it was smooth sailing for the Wildcats. 
"The second half, we played much better," said head coach Jeff Mittie after the game. "We really started to connect with each other offensively, and I thought we made some really solid basketball plays out there. We needed to come off the half and answer the bell, and we did tonight."
K-State was led by freshman guard Shaelyn Martin, who scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds. 
"She's a versatile player and I think that she is able to do things without messing it up. There's a quality in that she can play, almost, the one through the four (positions) at times. She knows the plays and runs them correctly. That's the glue that she gives us." 
Last night's win marked the Wildcats' ninth-consecutive victory in Bramlage Coliseum and kept the Cats undefeated at home so far this season.
With its nonconference schedule behind it and Big 12 play on the horizon, Mittie is happy with how far his young team has come since the beginning of the season, but he knows there is always room for growth. 
"Well, it doesn't matter whether I like it or not - we're at where we're at," said Mittie. "There's areas where we'll always have to improve, but I think we have made solid progress throughout the month of December, and we accomplished our goal of coming in from the (Christmas) break and continuing the momentum. We're where we're at, but we know with the Big 12, we're going to have to be even better going forward. This is a good league."
Looking back at the Wildcats' nonconference slate, K-State has averaged 62.2 points per game in its 11 games, and, though it had two games cancelled due to facility conflicts at the 2014 Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, it added a matchup with William Jewell - a 66-53 win - to the schedule on December 8. 
K-State has been led by sophomore forward Breanna Lewis, who is averaging 12.5 points with 5.5 rebounds and has a total of 39 blocks and 18 steals.
While Lewis may be leading the way, including pacing the team in scoring in six of its 11 games, numerous other Wildcats have also stepped up and made key impacts on the court in K-State's past few games.
Along with her solid performance last night, Martin, who has started every game this season, has been a playmaker as she leads the team with 26 steals. 
Junior guard Deborah Meeks shined in K-State's 61-38 win over Grambling State where she put away 16 points. Senior Ashia Woods stepped up and scored a team-high 13 points at Wichita State, K-State's first and only true road game of the season.
As K-State has continued to grow together on the court, it has only continued to get better.
"I'm definitely a lot more comfortable now in just learning the offense," said Martin. "Our offense, we're communicating a lot better, so I think that we're all just feeling a lot more comfortable with (the system)."
K-State opens its Big 12 Conference competition on Saturday in Ames, Iowa, where the Wildcats are set to take on Iowa State (9-2) in Hilton Coliseum at 1 p.m.
"It's a great place to play women's college basketball, as is our arena, because the fans make it fun," said Mittie on playing at Hilton Coliseum. "The Big 12 is fun." 
After Iowa State, K-State will return home on Tuesday, Jan. 6, where it will take on the Baylor Lady Bears at 7 p.m.
"The excitement level is high right now," said senior guard Haley Texada about starting her final Big 12 season. "It's always fun. Our conference has a lot of good competition. We're going to see a lot of bigger and faster people, and I'm excited to play against them all."
For the Wildcats' full schedule, please click here
The K-State men's basketball team (7-5) is back in action tonight with a matchup against Georgia (7-3) at 3 p.m. K-State enters the game with a win in the only meeting against the Bulldogs, while this evening's game marks the first time Georgia will play in Manhattan. The game will be aired nationally on ESPNU or via the WatchESPN link.
For more information on tonight's game, please click here

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