Wildcats Backcourt Ready for 2011-12

Mariah White will look to build off a career-best season in 2011-12.

Oct. 12, 2011

With the return of eight letterwinners including four starters, Kansas State’s prospects of continuing the momentum built from the program’s 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament during the 2010-11 season to make a return trip to the postseason in the 2011-12 campaign.

K-State boosted its overall win total from 2009-10 by seven victories and improved upon its number of league wins by five during the 2010-11 season (21-11, 10-6 Big 12). The Wildcats recorded the 22nd 20-win season in school history and the eighth under head coach Deb Patterson’s guidance, while tying for third in the Big 12 standings after being tabbed for a ninth-place finish by the league’s coaches in the preseason poll. K-State also achieved a unique historical milestone during the 2010-11 season, as the program was the 13th team in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach the 800-win mark with a 69-64 win at Nebraska on Feb. 19.

Patterson returns to the Bramlage Coliseum sidelines for her 16th season at the helm of the Wildcats. The career wins leader in K-State women’s basketball history with a record of 300-175 (.632), secured her 300th career win in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Phillips 66 Big Championships with a 56-53 decision over Iowa State. Patterson has guided the program to 22 or more wins in seven of the last 10 seasons and nine postseason appearances in the last 10 years (seven NCAA Tournaments and two WNITs).

For the 2011-12 season, Kansas State will return 71 percent of its point production, 66 percent of its rebounding and nearly 75 percent of its assists. The Wildcats will need to utilize this experience to navigate a difficult 2011-12 schedule, with K-State slated to play 21 games against teams that reached either the 2011 NCAA Tournament or the 2011 Postseason WNIT.

Kansas State will have a solid amount of experience returning in its backcourt this season, as the Wildcats welcome back juniors Brittany Chambers and Mariah White, senior Emma Ostermann and sophomore Stephanie Wittman. K-State will also see four newcomers attempt to crack the rotation this season with senior Tasha Dickey and freshmen Heidi Brown, Haley Texada and Ashia Woods angling for minutes.

Chambers, a unanimous All-Big 12 first team selection in 2010-11 and an All-America candidate in 2011-12, led K-State and ranked 10th in the Big 12 in scoring with a career-high 16.1 point per game average (514 total points). She finished as one of two overall players in the Big 12 in 2010-11 to record 500+ points, 180+ rebounds and 80+ assists and was the only sophomore guard in the country and one of 11 guards in the nation to achieve the feat.
The native of Jordan, Minn., who also added a pair of Big 12 Player of the Week honors to her trophy case last season, paced K-State in three-point shooting (88-of-236; .373) and led the Big 12 in three-point field goals made per game at 2.8. She finish second on the team in rebounding (5.8 rpg; 185 rebounds) and is second in assists (2.6 apg).

In addition to providing leadership and a veteran presence in the backcourt in 2011-12, Chambers will have the opportunity to move up on a number of K-State career lists this season. With 98 points, she will become the 37th player in the program’s history to surpass the 1,000-point barrier for her career. She also needs 53 rebounds to tie for 30th in school history, while she needs just eight assists to tie for 27th in school history. She will also improve her place on the career three-point field goals made list during the season and can move into the top-five in the category with 32 connections from beyond the arc. Chambers is likely to become the 14th player in school history, and the eighth guard, to register 1,000 points, 400 rebounds and 200 assists in a career.

White will look to build on one of the most improved skill sets of any of the Wildcats in the 2010-11 season. In the 32 games last season, White averaged a career-high 4.8 points and led the team with 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals. She finished fifth on the team in rebounding with 4.1 per game. Her assists per game ranked ninth in the Big 12 for all games and was tied for 10th in league contests (3.5 apg) and she was fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7) for all games. Her assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 47th in the nation. She also garnered her first league honor with a Big 12 Player of the Week citation following her breakout effort against St. John’s.

For the year, White reset her career-highs for points in a game (17), points in a season (152), rebounds in a game (9), rebounds in a season (132), assists in a game (8), assists in a season (126), steals in a game (5) and steals in a season (49). She also made more free throws this season (43) than she attempted during her entire freshman campaign in 2009-10 (13).

Ostermann will bid for a spot in the rotation in her second and final season with the Wildcats. The product of Abilene, Kan., saw action in 16 games in 2010-11 and contributed 0.9 points and 0.7 rebounds following two seasons at Cloud County CC. In the action she saw, Ostermann was asked to contribute on the defensive end of the floor and will be asked to do the same in 2011-12.

Another senior who will look to contribute to K-State this season in a limited amount of time as a Wildcat will be Dickey. The three-year letterwinner for Arizona, Dickey joins the program this season for one season of eligibility while she begins her graduate studies in Manhattan. She will also have the opportunity to reunite with her family, as her father, Charlie, is a member of the K-State football coaching staff as the offensive line coach.

Dickey saw action in 76 games and made 21 starts for Arizona, as she averaged 3.7 points and 1.4 rebounds. Her breakthrough season was her first in the 2007-08 season, as she tallied 6.9 points and 2.0 rebounds and was named as an honorable mention choice for the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. With her 76 games of experience, Dickey will provide another veteran voice for the K-State guards.

Wittman only saw brief action in her rookie season in the Little Apple, but will look to expand her work load in 2011-12. The product of San Antonio, Texas played in 13 games and registered 13 total points and eight rebounds in those contests.

K-State will look to incorporate the talents of its three freshmen on the roster in Heidi Brown, Texada and Woods. Brown joined the program in early June following a strong high school career at Southwestern in which she helped the Mustangs to an 83-8 record and four High Plains League titles during her four years. In her senior season, Brown averaged 19.4 points while shooting .482 from beyond the arc and pulled in 7.2 rebounds and dished out 6.4 assists. The native of Plains, Kan., was a 2011 All-Class 3A second team selection by the Topeka Capital Journal and was a three-time Kansas Basketball Coaches Association (KBCA) All-State pick.

Texada was an early signee for the Wildcats and will look to provide depth at the point guard position. The product of Frisco, Texas, was rated as the 75th best guard in the nation according to ESPN Hoopgurlz. She was a two-time Texas Association of Basketball Coaches All-State selection while scoring 1,780 career points for Wakeland High.

Woods becomes K-State’s fourth women’s basketball player from Wichita, Kan., and the first on the roster since the 1977-78 season. A 2011 McDonald’s All-American candidate, Woods was a three-time All-State KBCA selection and a two-time Class 3A All-State selection from the Wichita Eagle and Topeka Capital Journal. In her final season with Wichita Collegiate, Woods averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists.