SE: Women’s Basketball Ready for Sunflower Showdown

Every year during the week of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown, the Wildcat women’s basketball team enters the gym with an added pep in its step. While the practice and preparation for every game of the season is the same, there’s just something about this in-state rivalry that really gets the players going.

“It’s probably one of the most exciting games of the year,” said sophomore guard Shaelyn Martin of Salina. “You don’t have to say or do anything to get our team excited for it, especially the Kansas girls.”

Coming off of back-to-back Big 12 wins over Oklahoma State and TCU, K-State (12-5, 2-4 Big 12) will travel to Lawrence to take on Kansas (5-12, 0-6 Big 12) at 7 p.m., tonight in Allen Fieldhouse. 

“It’s a game that was probably circled on the calendar for both teams,” said K-State head coach Jeff Mittie, who, as a native of Blue Springs, Missouri, knows the rivalry well. “You always know there’s a little extra excitement going on with knowing each other well, the rivalry in state; there’s a little extra buzz.”

While tonight’s game will be the first matchup of the two-game series between K-State and Kansas this year, K-State certainly has the upper hand heading into the game. Last season, the Wildcats defeated the Jayhawks three times – both regular season games and in the Big 12 Championship. In the last 30 meetings, K-State is 24-6 against KU and has won four of its last five games in Allen Fieldhouse. 

Though the Jayhawks haven’t won a Big 12 game this season, K-State is not overlooking the task at hand. The Wildcats know with rivalry games, anything is possible, especially on their rivals’ home floor.

“They’re a great team that is hungry for a win,” said junior guard Kindred Wesemann, a Pleasant Hill, Missouri, native. “It’s going to be a big game for us. The Sunflower Showdown is just a lot of fun really, that’s how I think of it. It’s a great in-state rivalry and I can’t wait for it.” 

This year’s Wildcat team boasts five players – Martin (Salina), Kaylee and Lanie Page (Wamego), Jessica Sheble (Olathe) and Kelly Thomson (Riley) – from the state of Kansas, while the Jayhawks have three players – Sydney Benoit (Smith Center), Kylee Kopatich (Olathe) and Tyler Johnson (Leavenworth) – from the Sunflower State. 

“I’m very excited,” said Page, who, as a transfer from Nebraska, will be playing in her first Sunflower Showdown. “With the atmosphere in Allen Fieldhouse and everything, it’ll be a little bit different than our normal Big 12 road games. It’s a rivalry game, so you never know what to expect.”

K-State fans always travel well to support the women’s basketball team, and with tonight’s game just a quick trip away from the Little Apple, the Wildcats anticipate a good, purple crowd.

“We have such a good following that there are away games where sometimes I think we have more purple there than the home team’s crowd,” said Martin. “Quite a few family members are going to the KU game, though. Most people were trying to get more tickets for more family members to go, so I think we’ll definitely pack it with purple.”

Tonight’s game will be aired on FOX Sports Networks and can be heard on the K-State Sports Network.

For game notes and more information on tonight’s Sunflower Showdown, please click here

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MEN’S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO 13/15 BAYLOR TONIGHT
K-State men’s basketball (11-6, 1-4 Big 12) travels to Waco, Texas, on Wednesday, as the Wildcats play No. 13/15 Baylor (14-3, 4-1 Big 12) at 7:15 p.m., on ESPNews with Mark Neely and Bryndon Manzer on the call. It is the first of two road trips (at No. 6/7 West Virginia, Jan. 26) in the next three games. 

K-State and Baylor will meet for the 33rd time tonight with K-State holding a slight 17-15 edge in the all-time series. It is tied 13-all since in the Big 12 era with the schools splitting their last 10 meetings. Baylor owns a 7-5 advantage at home, including wins in 2014 and 2015.

For game notes and more information on tonight’s men’s basketball game, please click here

WILDCATS IN THE NFL – DIVISIONAL ROUND
Each week throughout the 2015 NFL season, k-statesports.com has recapped the week for the 12 former Kansas State football players currently in the NFL. This week, we recap the four former Wildcats who are on rosters for teams that played in the Divisional Round.

To read about Bryce Brown, B.J. Finney, Tyler Lockett and Jordy Nelson, and to read how their NFL teams fared this weekend, please click here