Wildcats Head to Miami for Sun & Fun Classic

GAME - 12
Kansas State (10-1)  vs. Rice (7-4)
Friday, December 29, 2006 6:30 p.m. (CST)
Pharmed Arena (4,800), Miami, Fla.

Radio: KCLY-FM 100.9 (Clay Center); KNZA-FM 103.9 (Hiawatha); KGGG-FM 94.7 (Hutchinson);  KMAN-AM 1350 (Manhattan); KBLS-FM 102.5 (North Fort Riley); KMZA-FM 92.1 (Seneca); KWIC-FM 99.3 (Topeka); KFTI-AM 1070 (Wichita)
Television: None
Internet: None

GAME - 13
Kansas State (10-1)  vs. FIU (6-3)/George Mason (4-3)
Saturday, December 30, 2006 4:30/6:30 p.m. (CST)
Pharmed Arena (4,800), Miami, Fla.

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); KFTI-AM 1070 (Wichita)
Television: None
Internet: None

GAME PREVIEW: The Wildcats will head to Miami after Christmas to play in Florida International University Sun & Fun Classic.  K-State will take on Rice on Friday, Dec. 29 at 6:30 pm. (CST) and will face either the host FIU or George Mason in the second day of action on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 4:30 or 6:30 p.m. (CST).  Both games can be heard live on the K-State Sports Network.

THE SERIES: Kansas State has only faced one team in the field of the Sun & Fun Classic.  The Wildcats have never faced Rice or George Mason.  K-State and FIU have met once before when the Golden Panthers captured an 81-68 win over the Wildcats on Jan. 3, 1989 in Miami. 

THE OWLS: Rice Owls, the preseason favorite to win the Conference USA title, are off to a 7-4 start this season.  They opened the year 3-0 before dropping the next two games to Arkansas-Little Rock and TCU.  Rice bounced back and won four of the next five games including an upset win against then-No. 10 Texas A&M, 79-66.  In their final game before the holidays against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 21, the Owls fell, 86-58, in Ruston, La.  Rice is led by senior forward Lauren Neaves who is averaging a double-double with 17.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.  Juniors Kadie Riverin (11.1 ppg) and Valeriy Berezhynska (10.5 ppg) are also averaging in double figures.  Head Coach Greg Williams guided the Owls to 24-9 overall record and a trip to WNIT Tournament in his first season with Rice last season.

THE GOLDEN PANTHERS: Florida International University is currently on three-game win streak and has a 6-3 overall record this season.  The three losses for the Golden Panthers came against Iowa (72-62), Tulane (69-64) and USF (96-73).  FIU has a 4-1 home record this season with the only loss coming against Tulane.  Junior guard LaQuetta Ferguson leads the Golden Panthers in scoring with 17.1 points per game.  Senior center Lasma Jekabsone is averaging a double-double for FIU with 13.7 points and 11.0 rebounds.  She is also the team leader in blocks with 33 and tied school record with eight rejections against Troy.

THE PATRIOTS: After opening the season 0-2 with losses against No. 1 Maryland (99-43) and Liberty (61-56),  George Mason has won four straight before falling to No. 11 Georgia (76-51) on Dec. 20.  Juniors Lateisha Wade (14.3 ppg) leads the team in scoring while Moni Akintunde is second with 9.1 points per game for the Patriots.  Junior Jessica Smith and Akintunde are both averaging 6.7 rebounds per game.

ON A ROLL: K-State is currently riding a seven-game winning streak.  Two wins at the Sun & Fun Classic would give the Wildcats 12-1 record and will tie the 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 4.5 rebounds per game this season.

SWAT TEAM: The Wildcats have blocked 80 shots this season led by Marlies Gipson and Shana Wheeler with 29 and 22 blocks respectively.  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) and has at least one block in every game including three or more blocks in five games.  Wheeler posted at least one block in 10 games this season.  She blocked a career-high six shots against Wyoming (Nov. 17) and five against Santa Clara (Dec. 15).

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.

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 has a perfect 7-0 record this season.

HALFTIME LEAD = “W”: Since March 2nd last season the Wildcats are 14-0 when leading at halftime.  The last K-State loss after leading at halftime came against #9 Oklahoma on Feb. 21, 2006.  The Wildcats led 39-36 at the break but fell to the Sooners, 78-64.  K-State is 10-0 this season when ahead at the half.

BALANCE SCORING: In 10 out of 11 games this season, three or more players have scored in double figures.  In six 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 8.9 points per game, and seven 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 366-206 in the paint this season.  K-State also has  plus 8.9 rebounding margin and blocked 80 shots.

CAPITALIZING OPPONENTS MISTAKES: The Wildcats have forced 207 turnovers this season and turned them into 184 points.  K-State is outscoring foes by 76 points (184-108) of turnovers.

PLAYING WITH THE LEAD: During K-State’s 11 games this season, the Wildcats have trailed for a grand total of 59:01 of a possible 445 minutes.  K-State led from start to finish in three games this season against Creighton, Mississippi Valley State and Santa Clara.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Senior Claire Coggins came into the season with 831 career points and she is now just 39 points away from being the program’s 32nd 1,000 point scorer.
Coggins needs to average 2.2 points per game in the remaining 18 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 11.8 points per game.

DEE-FENSE: The Wildcats have held opponents to just 31 percent shooting this season.  K-State has allowed 52.7 points per game while posting 313 defensive rebounds, 80 blocks and 95 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.

3-POINT STREAK: K-State has connected on at least two three-point field goal in 98 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.

WILDCATS VS. CONFERENCE USA: K-State has played six of the 12 schools in Conference USA and owns a 7-3 (.700) record against them.  The Wildcats have played East Carolina (1-0), Houston (1-0), Memphis (2-2), SMU (1-0), Tulsa (2-0) and UTEP (0-1).  K-State has not faced Marshall, Tulane, Rice, Southern Miss, UCF and UAB.  The last time K-State faced a Conference USA foe was in 1996 when the Wildcats fell to UTEP, 67-61.

WILDCATS VS. SUN BELT: K-State has played six of the 13 schools in the Sun Belt Conference and owns a 6-5 (.545) record against them.  The Wildcats have played Arkansas State (1-3), Florida International (0-1), Middle Tennessee State (2-0), North Texas (1-0), South Alabama (1-0) and Western Kentucky (1-1).  K-State has not faced Troy, Florida Atlantic, Arkansas-Little Rock, Louisiana-Lafayette, Denver, Louisiana-Monroe and New Orleans.  The last time K-State faced a Sun Belt foe was last season when the Wildcats defeated Western Kentucky, 57-56 (ot), in the WNIT Semifianls.

WILDCATS VS. CAA: K-State has played four of the 12 schools in Colonial Athletic Conference and owns a 8-3 (.727) record against them.  The Wildcats have played Georgia State (3-0), UNC Wilmington (2-0), Old Dominian (2-3) and Towson (1-0).  K-State has not faced Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison, George Mason, VCU, William & Mary, Drexel and Northeastern.  The last time K-State faced a CAA foe was last season when the Wildcats defeated UNC Wilmington, 75-49, at Saint Peter’s Holiday Classic.