SE: Lewis Locked in on Breaking Records, Finishing Career on High Note

The evolution of K-State’s Breanna Lewis has been a step-by-step process, fueled by outside encouragement and a realization of her potential. In retrospect, her self-confidence wasn’t exactly always at an All-Big 12 level, evident by two questions she answered at K-State’s media day.  

Did you ever doubt yourself early in your career? “All the time,” she said.  

Did you ever imagine breaking records at K-State? “Um, no.”  

With the help of her teammates, Lewis said she’s shed any doubt and removed any preconceived self-limitations. 

“I feel like since it’s my senior year, I’m really trying to have more confidence in myself, because this is my last year and I don’t have any time to doubt anything,” she said. “My teammates don’t doubt me, so why should I?” 

As for the records, Lewis has done a 180 on them as well. 

Occasionally, the team holds mock press conferences. During one in particular, a question started, ‘You broke Breanna Lewis’ blocks record.’ Lewis stops the question there. 

“‘No, that’s not happening,’” she interjected with confidence. “I want to put that record in my pocket so no one else can get it.” 

With a full season of action, Lewis will almost certainly break K-State’s career blocks record by a long shot. The senior, who secured the single-season (97) and single-game (8) marks as a sophomore, needs 34 to tie Marlies Gipson’s career record of 257. 

“I didn’t come into college saying, ‘I’m going to break this record, I’m going to break that record,’ but to see that all play out, it’s exciting,” Lewis said. “I’m just grateful.”

When Lewis arrived at K-State in 2013, she was, in her own words, “so uncoordinated.”  With time, the 6-foot-5 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native came into her own on the floor. 

Lewis, a preseason All-Big 12 selection, could realistically move into the top-10 on K-State’s all-time scoring and rebounding lists this season. Only five other former Wildcats — Tammie Romstad, Eileen Feeney, Diana Miller, Nicole Ohlde and Kendra Wecker — currently sit in the top 10 in both categories. Of those five, only Ohlde has more than 200 blocks. 

With 37 steals this season, Lewis would become the only K-State player in history to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 blocks and 150 steals — a significant indicator of just how valuable she has become. 

“She’s stronger, faster, bigger, better. She has improved so much,” senior forward Erica Young said of Lewis. “I see how strong she’s gotten and how she’s taken her game to a whole other level by taking her time and realizing that she is her biggest opponent.”

Lewis said her teammates have helped as much as anything in her development. 

“My team and the things they say to me during practice, before games and in the locker room, it just encourages me,” she said. “They really show me the player that I am and bring out the good in me.”

Lewis upped her scoring average from 5.7 to 11.5 between her freshman and sophomore seasons, pushing it to 16.7 points a game last season while shooting 55 percent from the field. Lewis also brought in 7.5 rebounds per game last season, nearly three more a game than her first season, and has recorded 97 steals between her sophomore and junior campaigns. 

“The numbers speak for themselves,” K-State head coach Jeff Mittie said. “She has expanded her game every year that we’ve been here.”

To continue that trend, Lewis said she has worked to improve her efficiency at the free throw line, where she’s shot 49.5 percent in her career, and to become more involved in transition, an area K-State would like to utilize more this season. 

“Running the floor, opening up the lane and trying to cause chaos in the lane so that the guards can get outside shots,” Lewis said of her focus in transition. “Really, it’s just running from rim to rim so everyone can be attracted to me to get everyone else shots. I feel like if I run the floor well and do those things, we’ll have a great season.”

Don’t be deceived by the shift in pace, Mittie said. Lewis will still be the focal point of the offense.  

“We’re not going to be so dumb that Bre Lewis doesn’t get the ball 25 times,” he said. “I don’t care how fast we play, we’re throwing that thing to Bre Lewis and we’re going to keep throwing it in there.”

Because for K-State, which reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, to take another step forward as a program, Lewis has to be at the center of it. She doesn’t let the pressure bother her, however. 

“I try not to put pressure on myself. I feel like I perform OK under pressure, but I don’t want to put that pressure on myself. So I just come into practices and games playing to my abilities,” Lewis said. “I’m going to give my effort in whatever I do. I just want to come in and work hard for my team. They’re so encouraging, so it’s not, ‘You have to do this, you have to do that.’ I know what I have to do and they just push me to do it.” 

Three years ago, that inner confidence was hard to find in Lewis. Now, she’s ready to put it on display in her final season, which opens Friday against Chicago State in Bramlage Coliseum at 5:30 p.m. 

“I’m just giving it everything I have,” Lewis said. “This is what those three years are for, to get to this moment.”