Sunflower Showdown Ahead for K-State Women's Basketball

The freshman guard from Salina, Kansas, grew up watching K-State women's basketball. She made the quick trip from Salina to Manhattan almost every game day and rarely missed a game in Bramlage Coliseum - especially when the Cats played KU. 
"It's really exciting," said Martin on Thursday afternoon. "It's the first rivalry game that I'm playing in. I remember watching them, and it doesn't matter who's ranked, who's not ranked or what the teams are like each year, it's always a good competition because we're in-state rivals. It's going to be a really tough game, but I'm really looking forward to it."
So on Sunday afternoon when the Wildcats tip off against the Jayhawks, there will be an added excitement in the young starter's eyes.
K-State (10-3, 0-2 Big 12) and Kansas (9-6, 0-2 Big 12) are set to tip off at 1 p.m., on Sunday in Bramlage Coliseum, and it will mark the first of the two-game season series.
One of the longest-running rivalries in women's college basketball, this weekend's game will mark the 110th Dillons Sunflower Showdown with K-State leading the series, 63-46. The Wildcats also hold the upper hand as of late by winning 14 of the last 20 meetings.
"Certainly KU is a good basketball team and they pose their own problems both offensively and defensively," said K-State associate head coach Brian Ostermann. "I think they're going to play the way they always play; defensively they're going to play good man to man, they're probably going to try and pressure us a little more than we've seen even out of Baylor. They've got a good shot blocker in the back with Chelsea Gardner as well, and I think their quickness and length is going to be a factor in terms of defending our triangle offense."
Both teams will be playing with an added chip on their shoulders as both are 0-2 to begin Big 12 play. The Jayhawks are coming off of a 69-57 home loss to Oklahoma on Wednesday evening, while K-State fell 74-44 to No. 5 Baylor at home on Tuesday. 
Looking to help the Wildcats right the ship is Martin, the 19-year-old Kansas kid who has started all 13 games this year and is a key component to K-State's system.
Martin leads K-State in steals (32) and is second in assists (39) while she is averaging 5.2 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Comfortable at any position, the young guard's average of 27.2 minutes per game are the second most on the roster.
"I think we saw a lot of signs early how quickly she was able to make the adjustment to the college game," said Ostermann. "In particular, (she's) picked up the schemes that we want to run both defensively and offensively. I thought her grasp of those concepts was tremendous, and she progressed very quickly. To say it wasn't a surprise when we first got her, I think we were all a little bit surprised, but once you're around Shay for those first couple of months, you're not surprised at all because she has a great ability to pick up things quickly and you don't have to teach her things three and four and five times.
"She makes a lot of very simple plays in basketball, and if you can become extraordinary at the ordinary things, you're going to be pretty doggone good."
Looking to break its two-game skid on Sunday, a win in this weekend's Sunflower Showdown would put the young team back on track.
"It's been a tough week, but this upcoming game is really important to us," said Martin. "It could get our momentum going into more of the Big 12 games, so we just need to keep our focus straight and go for the win on Sunday." 
For game notes, ticket information and more on Sunday's game, please click here

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