K-State Selected to Make 14th NCAA Appearance
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MANHATTAN, Kan. - After exceeding preseason expectations in the Big 12, Kansas State women’s basketball was rewarded with the program’s 14th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and the first since the 2011-12 season, during Monday night’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Show on ESPN. This is the 13th postseason appearance for the Wildcats in the last 15 years.
The Wildcats (18-12, 8-10 Big 12) were chosen as a No. 9 seed in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, regional and will be opposed by No. 8 seed George Washington (26-6, 13-3 Atlantic 10) on Friday, March 18 at 4 p.m., (CDT) in Columbia, South Carolina, at Colonial Life Arena. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and on ESPN3.com. The contest will also be available on the K-State Sports Network and free live audio on kstatesports.com. The Colonials lead the all-time series with K-State, 1-0, a 69-45 decision on Dec. 19, 1995 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The winner of the Kansas State-George Washington game will play the winner of the No. 1 South Carolina-No. 16 Jacksonville matchup on Sunday, March 20. The top four seeds in the Sioux Falls regional are: No. 1 South Carolina (31-1), No. 2 Arizona State (25-6), No. 3 Ohio State (24-7) and No. 4 Syracuse (25-7).
Tickets for K-State’s first round matchup with George Washington will be available Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m., by calling the K-State Ticket Office at (800) 221-CATS. Tickets are priced at $33 for reserved seats for all sessions, $28 for baseline reserved and $23 in general admission. Single session tickets are $15 for the first round and $12 for the second round. Tickets will be limited to K-State alumni, staff, season-ticket holders and students. All ticket orders will be distributed at Colonial Bank Arena will call.
Should K-State advance to play in the second round, all first round ticket orders will be duplicated for the game on Sunday, March 20.
K-State is 11-13 in its previous 13 NCAA Tournament bids. The Wildcats advanced to the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as K-State entered the tournament as the No. 8 seed in the Kingston, Rhode Island, region. K-State defeated No. 9 seed Princeton in the first round before falling to No. 1 seed Connecticut in the second round.
Under second year head coach Jeff Mittie, Kansas State has tallied an 18-12 overall record, which surpassed last season’s regular season win total of 17, and an 8-10 mark in the Big 12, which marked the most wins in league play since the 2011-12 season.
After being slated for a seventh-place finish by the Big 12 Conference coaches in the preseason poll, K-State carded a sixth place finish in the conference standings. This is the second straight season under Mittie that K-State has improved its league win total from one season to the next.
On the floor this season, Kansas State has been led by the junior All-Big 12 duo of Breanna Lewis and Kindred Wesemann.
During her career year, Lewis was selected by the league’s coaches as an All-Big 12 First Team member and a Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection for the second straight season. Lewis became the first player in program history to register the combination of 500 or more points, 200 or more rebounds, 70 or more blocks and 45 or more steals in a season. She is the ninth player in program history with 500 or more points and 200 or more rebounds in a season. Nationally, Lewis is one of just two players in NCAA Division I (Breanna Stewart, Connecticut) this season to record these benchmarks.
The center from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been one of the most dominant centers in the Big 12 this season. She leads the Wildcats in a number of statistical categories, including: points (501; 16.7 ppg), field goals made and attempted (216-of-390; .554), rebounds (224; 7.5 rpg) and double-doubles (7). Lewis ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring, fourth in field goal percentage, seventh in rebounding, third in blocked shots (74; 2.5 bpg) and fifth in double-doubles (7). Earlier this season, Lewis became the 39th player in program history to join the 1,000 career point club and is the 24th player to register 1,000 or more career points and 500 or more career rebounds.
Lewis helped anchor one of the Big 12’s top defenses this season. She has been responsible for 51.0 percent of K-State’s blocked shots and set the school record for blocked shots in a two-year span with 171. Lewis has registered a combined 120 blocks and steals. She is one of two players in the Big 12 among the top-10 in both blocks and steals.
Wesemann garnered her first career league honor as she was selected by the league’s coaches as an All-Big 12 Second Team honoree while achieving career season-highs in points (375; 12.5 ppg), field goals made (113), 3-point field goals made (82), free throws made and attempted (67-of-79; .848), assists (94; 3.q apg) and steals (57; 1.9 spg). Her scoring average this season of 12.5 points per game is an increase of almost five points per game from her previous career-best of 8.0 points per game in the 2014-15 season.
The guard from Pleasant Hill, Missouri, has ranked as one of the Big 12 Conference’s top 3-point shooters this season. Wesemann leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made (82) and 3-point field goals made per game (2.7), while ranks sixth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (82-of-1203; .404).
George Washington finished the season as the Atlantic 10 champion and secured the league’s automatic bid into the tournament field. This will the Colonials’ second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the 17th in program history. In the previous 16 appearances, GW has achieved an 18-16 overall record.
The Colonials are led on the sidelines by fourth-year head coach Jonathan Tsipis. On the floor, George Washington is led by 2016 All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection and A-10 Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Caira Washington. The junior averaged 13.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds. Also pacing GW are a pair of All-A-10 selection Jonquel Jones with 16.0 points and 14.7 rebounds per game.