Wildcats Take on Oklahoma in Big 12 Opener

GAME - 14
Kansas State (12-1)  vs. #8/7 Oklahoma (10-1)
Wednesday, January 3, 2007 7 p.m.
Lloyd Noble Center (12,000), Norman, Okla.

Radio: KCLY-FM 100.9 (Clay Center); KGGG-FM 94.7 (Hutchinson);  KMAN-AM 1350 (Manhattan); KBLS-FM 102.5 (North Fort Riley); KWIC-FM 99.3 (Topeka)
Television: None
Internet: Live Stats on k-statesports.com

GAME PREVIEW: K-State opens the Big 12 portion of its schedule in Norman, Okla. Wednesday, Jan. 2 against reigning conference champion Oklahoma at 7 p.m.  This is the second time in 10 years that the Wildcats will take on defending Big 12 Champion in the conference opener.

THE SERIES: Kansas State and Oklahoma have met 46 times with the series tied at 23-23.  The Sooners have won nine out the last 11 games against K-State including the last three games.  The Wildcats last win against OU was on Jan. 31, 2004 when they defeated the Sooners, 74-65, at Bramlage Coliseum.  The last K-State win in Norman (74-45) was on Feb. 1, 2003.

THE SOONERS: After winning nine straight to open the 2006-07 season the Sooners fell to then-No. 8 Ohio State, 74-67, on Dec. 20.  Oklahoma bounced back and defeated No. 25 New Mexico, 80-58 on Dec. 30.  The Sooners are 3-1 at home with the wins against DePaul, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Northern Colorado by an average margin of 41.7 points.  Oklahoma was 8-0 against Big 12 foes at home last season.  Sophomore All-American, Courtney Paris scored a school single-game record 43 points and cleared 25 rebounds against New Mexico and leads the team in scoring (23.5 ppg) and rebounding (15.3 rpg) while shooting 64 percent from the floor.  Seniors Chelsi Welch (10.7 ppg) and Leah Rush (10.6) are also averaging in double figures. 

BIG 12 OPENERS: K-State owns a 4-6 record in Big 12 Conference openers, winning four of the last five contests.  Last season the Wildcats defeated Texas Tech (53-51) at Bramlage Coliseum.
Wednesday’s conference opener marks the first time the two teams have battled in the first conference game of the year.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Senior Claire Coggins came into the season with 831 career points and she is now just 11 points away from being the program’s 32nd 1,000 point scorer.
Coggins needs to average 0.7 points per game in the remaining 16 regular season games to reach the 1,000 point mark in the regular season.  In her first three years at K-State, Coggins has averaged 9.2 points per game, including team-best 13.5 points per game last season.  This season she has averaged 12.2 points per game.

WINNINGEST COACH: Deb Patterson became the all-time winningest women's basketball coach in K-State's history when the Wildcats defeated UMKC, 64-56, on Dec. 9 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
Patterson passed Judy Akers who guided K-State to a 206-94 record during a 10-year period from 1968-1979.

STEP RIGHT IN: After recovering from a foot injury freshman Kari Kincaid made her collegiate debut against Rice on Dec. 29 at FIU Sun & Classic in Miami, Fla.  She appeared in both games at the tournament and played 10.0 minutes per game.

SWAT TEAM: The Wildcats have blocked 96 shots this season led by Marlies Gipson and Shana Wheeler with 32 and 29 blocks respectively.  At least only player has blocked three or more shots in 10 games, four or more in seven games and five or more in five games this season.  Gipson tied the school record and set the Bramlage Coliseum record by rejecting seven shots against Weber State on Dec. 15.  She also blocked five shots against Wyoming (Nov. 17).  Wheeler blocked a career-high six shots against Wyoming (Nov. 17) and Rice (Dec. 29).

ON A ROLL: K-State is currently riding a nine-game winning streak.  The Wildcats finished the non-conference schedule with a 12-1 record and tied for second best per-Big 12 start in the Deb Patterson era.  K-State posted a 12-1 (.923) record in 2001-02 followed by 13-1 (.929) record in 2002-03.

CRASH THE BOARDS: Claire Coggins cleared a team-high and career-high nine rebounds against Weber State on Dec. 15.  She is averaging career-best 4.3 rebounds per game this season.

BRAMLAGE TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: During Deb Patterson era (1996-present) the Wildcats have posted 65-6 (.915) record against non-conference opponents in Bramlage Coliseum.  K-State finished 10-1 record last season and a perfect 7-0 record this season.

HALFTIME LEAD = “W”: Since March 2nd last season the Wildcats are 16-0 when leading at halftime.  The last K-State loss after leading at halftime came against No. 9 Oklahoma on Feb. 21, 2006.  The Wildcats led 39-36 at the break but fell to the Sooners, 78-64.  K-State is 12-0 this season when ahead at the half.

SUN & FUN CLASSIC: The Wildcats defeated the host Florida International, 59-52, in the title game at the Sun & Fun Classic in Miami, Fla. to capture their second tournament this season.  K-State also won the Wildcat Classic on Dec. 2.  The Wildcats finished third at the UNLV Lady Rebel Shootout in November.

BALANCE SCORING: In 12 out of 13 games this season, three or more players have scored in double figures.  In seven games four players reached double digits, while five players scored in double figures in one game (Creighton).  K-State has five players averaging at least 8.2 points per game, and eight different players have scored 10 or more points in a game at least once.

CATS FIND SUCCESS IN THE PAINT: Even without a true center, the Wildcats have outscored their opponents 416-234 in the paint this season.  K-State also has  plus 7.2 rebounding margin and blocked 96 shots.

CAPITALIZING OPPONENTS MISTAKES: The Wildcats have forced 246 turnovers this season and turned them into 223 points.  K-State is outscoring foes by 95 points (223-128) of turnovers.

DEE-FENSE: The Wildcats have held opponents to just 31 percent shooting this season.  K-State has allowed 52.8 points per game while posting 377 defensive rebounds, 96 blocks and 118 steals.  On Dec. 1st the Wildcats held Mississippi Valley State to a school record five field goals made and 8.6 percent (5-for-58) shooting.  K-State has held four opponents under 30 percent this season.  Creighton posted the highest percentage (.393) against K-State this season.

PLAYING WITH THE LEAD: During K-State’s 13 games this season, the Wildcats have trailed for a grand total of 65:32 of a possible 525 minutes.  K-State led from start to finish in three games this season against Creighton, Mississippi Valley State and Santa Clara.

3-POINT STREAK: K-State has connected on at least two three-point field goal in 100 consecutive games.  The last time the Wildcats were held without a three-point field goal was Dec. 30, 2003, by Southeast Missouri State at the UTSA New Year’s Eve Classic in San Antonio, Texas.  K-State missed all 14 attempts against the Lady Indians in a 78-42 win.

FRESHMAN MAKING A STATEMENT: After making her collegiate debut with a bang with 10 points and eight rebounds against UW-Green Bay, Ashley Sweat has continued to get better.  She is averaging 8.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 20.0 minutes per game, while tied for first in free-throws made (29) and second in free-throw attempts (39).  Sweat was the team leader in points  in one game (15 vs. MVSU) and rebounds in two games (9 vs. Wisconsin and Alcorn St.) this season.

ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Junior Kimberly Dietz was named Sun & Fun Classic Most Valuable Player after averaging 22.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.  She was selected to the All-Tournament team at the UNLV Lady Rebel Shootout after averaging 16.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.  She shot 60 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the three-point arc.  This is Dietz’s third and fourth all-tournament honors in her career at Kansas State.  She was selected to the Saint Peter’s Holiday Classic All-Tournament team and WNIT All-Tournament team last season after helping the Wildcats capture both titles.  Senior Claire Coggins was named to the Sun & Fun Classic All-Tournament team.  She averaged 14.0 points and 3.5 rebounds.
Sophomore Marlies Gipson was named Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic Most Valuable Player after averaging 14.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.  She also had .632 field goal percentage.  Sophomore Shalee Lehning was named to the All-Tournament team.  She recorded the double-double in the championship game with 10 points and 11 assists.  Lehning averaged 9.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists in two games.  This is her second consecutive Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic All-Tournament team honors.

HALF-COURT HEAVE: In the overtime win against Wyoming on Friday, Nov. 17, senior Claire Coggins hit a half-court shot at buzzer to send the game into overtime.  After junior Shana Wheeler tied the game at 52 with 13 seconds remaining in regulation,  the Cowgirls converted a three-pointer with 1.3 seconds on the clock to take a 55-52 lead.  Coggins took the inbound pass from sophomore Marlies Gipson at midcourt and swished the shot at the buzzer from 50 feet to tie the game at 55.

BLOCK PARTY: The Wildcats rejected 13 shots against Wyoming on Friday, Nov. 17, breaking the school record of 10 set on four different occasions, the last on March 19, 2005 against Bowling Green.  Shana Wheeler blocked a career-high six shots while Marlies Gipson tied her career-high with five rejections.  Ashley Sweat and Kimberly Dietz each had a block against the Cowgirls.  K-State also rejected 12 shots against Santa Clara on Dec. 15 and 10 shots against Weber State on Dec. 17.

CAREER-HIGHS: Five different Wildcats either tied or posted new career-high in points this season.  Junior Kimberly Dietz tied her career-high with 23 points against Rice, while sophomore Marlies Gipson tied her career-high with 18 points in the season opener against UW-Green Bay and against Santa Clara.  Junior Carolyn McCullough twice erased her career-highs this season and posted a new high (10 points) against Rice.  Junior Shana Wheeler recorded her career-high against Wyoming with 16 points and sophomore Danielle Zanotti carded her career-high (11 points) against Santa Clara.

THE RETURNING CAST: K-State returned four starters (a senior, a junior and two sophomores) and eight letterwinners from the 2005-06 squad.  Last season’s leader in every statistical category returned for the Wildcats this season, with the exception of field goal percentage.  More than 64 percent of their total scoring and 75 percent of their rebounding returned in 2006-07.

WNIT CHAMPIONS: Kansas State closed out the 2005-06 season as 2006 Postseason WNIT Champions, to mark  its first postseason championship title in school history.  The Wildcats defeated Marquette, 77-65, in front of a sellout crowd of 13,340 at Bramlage Coliseum in the championship game.  Claire Coggins was named Tournament MVP while Kimberly Dietz was selected to the All-Tournament team.

20-WIN SEASONS:  Kansas State women’s basketball program has totaled 18 twenty-win seasons in its 37 years of existence.  With a 24-10 overall record last season the Wildcats turned in their fifth consecutive 20-win season.

NEWCOMERS:  K-State welcomed two McDonald’s High School All-America nominees this season.  Kari Kincaid will look to work into the backcourt rotation after recovering from her foot injury, while Ashley Sweat has appeared in all nine games at forward this season with five starts.
Kincaid was a three-time First Team All-State and four-time First Team All-League selection.  She averaged 18.1 points and 7.3 assists her senior year.  Sweat averaged 20.0 points and 8.0 rebounds and was named the Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year as well as Kansas “Miss Basketball” as a senior.

WELCOME BACK WILDCATS: Former Kansas State women’s basketball players Kelly Moylan 94 and Andria Jones 97 are entering their first season as assistant coaches on the Wildcats staff.
Moylan, a four-year letterwinner for KSU from 1989-93, ranks 10th all-time in both career three-pointers made (108) and three-pointers attempted (281) at K-State. Jones also a four-year letterwinner,was an Associated Press Honorable Mention All- American in 1997 while also earning Kodak All-District V honors.

K-STATE SIGNS THREE FOR 2007-08: Head coach Deb Patterson announced that Kelsey Hill (Overland Park, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas), Shalin Spani (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Metro Academy) and Jackie Stanley (Wylie, Texas/Wylie High School) have signed national letters of intent to attend K-State and play for the Wildcats.
Hill, a 5-foot-7 point guard, averaged 10.0 points, 3.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game last season.  She was named KBCA all-state honorable mention and Topeka Capitol Journal second team all-state her junior year. Hill also earned second team All-Eastern Kansas League honors and helped the team to second place finish at Kansas 5A State Tournament.  She was named St. Thomas Aquinas newcomer of the year and Eastern Kansas League scholar athlete in 2004-05.
Spani, a 5-foot-11 guard, led Metro Academy to NCHBC National Championship her junior year.  A three time NCHBC All-American, earned 2005 Street & Smith's High School All-American honorable mention in 2006.  She was also selected first team all-state in 2006 and first team all-region in 2004 and 2005.  Spani averaged 24.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 4.5 steal per game as a junior.  She holds numerous school records including career points (2,467), points in a season (936) and points in a game (43).
Stanley, a 6-foot-2 forward, was a three-time first team all-district and two-time TABC all-region selection.  She was also named TABC and TGCA all-state and 11-4A District MVP in 2006.  Last season she averaged 20.5 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game and was named team MVP all three seasons.  Stanley earned Wylie High School athlete of the month five times and player of the week by Dallas Morning News six times in three years.  She is ranked sixth among the class of 2007 in the state of Texas by National All Star Girls Report.