SE: Busy Weekend Ahead for K-State Athletics

Women’s Basketball Begins Postseason Play
K-State women’s basketball (18-11, 8-10 Big 12) opens postseason play at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship tomorrow evening with a matchup against No. 22 West Virginia (23-8, 12-6 Big 12) at 8:30 p.m., at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

“I think West Virginia is playing very good, they might be playing as well as anybody in the league,” said K-State head coach Jeff Mittie about tomorrow’s opponent. “They’re a very, very talented team. So for us, it’s really just going to be about playing well and us doing the things that we can do well, and if we do those things, I think we’ve been able to feel good about what we’re doing.” 

The Wildcats enter tomorrow’s game as the No. 6 seed in the tournament – marking the first time K-State has earned a first-round bye since 2012 – while the Mountaineers are the No. 3 seed. No easy matchup ahead, West Virginia swept the regular-season series against K-State by winning 72-53 in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 6, and 64-44 in Morgantown on Feb. 6. 

Despite how the two teams fared in the past, postseason play marks the beginning of a new journey where anything is possible.

“February always flies by so fast,” continued Mittie. “I thought we played good basketball in February, but now the challenge is a new season where everybody is going after the same championship. It’s always exciting.” 

The Wildcats will be led by All-Big 12 First Team and Big 12 All-Defensive team selection Breanna Lewis, who paces K-State by averaging 16.8 points on a 55.7 field goal percentage, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. In the Wildcats’ game against Baylor on Feb. 27, the junior center from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, became just the 39th player in program history to eclipse 1,000 points and is one of just two players nationally (Breanna Stewart, Connecticut) with 475-plus points, 200-plus rebounds, 70-plus blocks and 45-plus steals. 

“The Big 12 is the Big 12 – it doesn’t matter which team you’re playing, it’s going to be competitive,” said Lewis. “But (West Virginia) is a very competitive team. We lost to them twice, so I’m looking forward to getting a win this third time. I’m just excited to play them again; it’s an opportunity to get revenge and win.” 

Along with Lewis, junior guard Kindred Wesemann of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, also picked up all-conference honors as she was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team. Wesemann is averaging 12.5 points per game this season and, thanks to a 41.1 percent mark from behind the arc, leads the Big 12 in three-point field goals made (79). 

For more information on K-State’s trip to the 2016 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament, please click here


Rowing Opens Spring Season in Oklahoma
The Wildcat rowing team kicks off its 2016 spring season this weekend with a trip to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to face the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday. 

“We’ve worked very hard and put in a lot of hours, so everyone is just very hungry to get out there and prove everything we’ve put into it is worthwhile and that there’s a reason for it,” said redshirt freshman Kennedy Felice. “It’s exciting that it’s finally that moment that we’ve all known is coming and that we’ve been working day in and day out for.”

The Wildcats enter this weekend’s competition coming off a successful winter camp in Austin, Texas, in January where the team spent quality time practicing on the water, working on technique and growing closer as a team. 

“It was a very good week,” said head coach Patrick Sweeney. “We did a lot of work there and saw a lot of things we wanted to work on. Overall, the winter camp went really, really well, and we got a lot of work done.”

The winter camp is always an important week for the team. It provides the group time on the water and in a boat during a period of time where it is usually too cold in Kansas to row on Tuttle Creek Lake. It’s a week where the coaches get a better sense of the team’s ranking order and begin working on good combinations for their boats.  

“Winter camp in Austin is a really tough week for us; we do a lot of hard work there,” said junior Kayla Brock. “But it’s good for us because we get in a lineup that we can row in for the duration of camp, and I think it’s really helpful to move together and practice those things that we can’t practice on the tank.”

Though the team has been working hard staying in shape and training together on the indoor tanks, it has yet to practice on the water since the winter camp because of the cold winter mornings and windy afternoons in Manhattan. Sweeney said he has used his team’s time off the water as an opportunity to step up the intensity while training inside the Intercollegiate Rowing Center. 

He said staying in good shape right now is going to be key to a successful season for his team. 

“The winter camp and the spring camp are very important, but we teach them they have to stay, physically, in good shape because, technically, though we have the tanks and we’re better off now because we can do so much with them, the feeling within the boat is different,” explained Sweeney. “Hopefully, with the spring camp, we should be able to feel the boat and everything should come together very nicely.”

Following this weekend’s trip to Oklahoma City, the Wildcats will head to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on March 19. Following their matchup with Tulsa, the team will spend its spring break training in Oklahoma before continuing the season in April. 

Sweeney anticipates, like every year, that this year’s team will continue to grow and increase speed as the season progresses and it continues to build time on the water. 

“I never know,” he said with a smile when asked his expectations for this year’s team. “I say that every year, but it’s going to be what it’s going to be and all we can do is try to put together the best combinations and they race as well as they can. That’s the name of the game; you make them as good as you can and you hope they enjoy it, and if they do, they’ll probably race well.”

For more information on the Wildcat rowing team’s first competition, please click here

“It’s really exciting. Racing is what we work all year for, so it’s exciting to finally be at the point where we can start applying everything that we’ve been working toward,” said Brock. “I think that we are all in a good place, and we’re all excited to see what we can do this weekend as a team.”


But wait, there’s more! It’s a busy weekend for K-State Athletics! Here’s a look at the rest of the lineup: 
 
At home:
TENNIS RETURNS HOME TO FACE TWO RANKED OPPONENTS 
K-State women's tennis looks to keep its perfect home record intact this weekend as No. 58 Denver and No. 50 SMU visit Mike Goss Tennis Stadium on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Friday's match will start at 2 p.m. while Sunday will be at 11 a.m.

The Wildcats (6-3) are coming off of back-to-back matches last weekend, losing to then-No. 50 Columbia before defeating Memphis at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center in New York City. Despite the weekend split, K-State has won three of its last four matches.

To continue reading about the tennis team’s home competitions, please click here

BASEBALL OPENS HOME SCHEDULE WITH UAPB 
Following an eight-game road trip, K-State baseball opens its home schedule this weekend with a three-game series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Tointon Family Stadium. 

The Wildcats (4-4) split their four-game series at UC Riverside to start the season and then went 2-2 against Pac-12 opponents No. 5 Oregon State and Utah last weekend in Surprise, Arizona. UAPB (0-8) is winless on the season as the Golden Lions were swept in a three-game set against North Dakota State, dropped a midweek contest against then-No. 17 TCU, and then lost all three matchups against Southeast Missouri State before losing at Missouri on Wednesday. 

The first and only time prior to this weekend that the Wildcats faced a team from the SWAC was in 2010 when they beat Grambling State (W, 9-8) at the Fayetteville Regional.

To continue reading, please click here

On the road:
EQUESTRIAN SEEKS TO GAIN GROUND ON BIG 12 FOES
With a neutral site win under the team’s belt, No. 10 Kansas State equestrian will look to keep the momentum going at No. 4 Baylor and No. 6 TCU. K-State will face Baylor on Friday at 10 a.m., in Waco, Texas, and then travel to Springtown, Texas. to face No. 6 TCU on Saturday at 10 a.m.

“This trip is always a big challenge for us playing two really good teams on the road. We have had a lot of confidence on the road so far, but we are looking to come out stronger on day one this time,” said head coach Casie Maxwell. “It has been a quick turnaround for everyone from the Georgia trip, but I think it will be good to continue from that momentum we gained.”

Kansas State comes into the meet with an overall record of 4-5, 1-3 in Big 12 matchups. In the fall, the Wildcats downed the Horned Frogs, 10-9, and will look to avenge a 1578.75-1533.75 loss earlier this season against the Lady Bears.

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MEN’S BASKETBALL CONCLUDES REGULAR SEASON AT TEXAS TECH
K-State men’s basketball (16-14, 5-12 Big 12) concludes the regular season this weekend, as the Wildcats travel to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech (18-11, 8-9 Big 12) at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday on ESPNews. 

K-State will be looking to sweep the season series from Texas Tech for the first time since 2014 after an 83-70 win on Jan. 12. The Wildcats own a 22-11 record in the series, including a 15-10 mark in the Big 12 era. 

To continue reading about this weekend’s men’s basketball game, please click here


MEN’S GOLF LOOKS TO CONTINUE MOMENTUM IN ALABAMA
The K-State men’s golf team will look to continue solid play in the state of Alabama as the Wildcats travel to Opelika, Alabama, to compete in the Tiger Invitational, Sunday through Tuesday.

The Wildcats, who check in at No. 58 in the latest Golfweek rankings, are coming off a fourth-place finish two weeks ago at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate in Mobile, Alabama. K-State was led by Matt Green and Jack Rickabaugh, who tied for 12th place at 2-under par 214, while Kyle Weldon joined the duo in the top 20 by tying for 17th at even-par 216.

For more on the Wildcat men’s golf team, please click here.