Wildcats Ready for Big 12 Home Opener
The Wildcats, who are coming off a tough 60-55 loss at Iowa State on Saturday, will face a completely different style of team in the Bears, one that will be very physical and apply more pressure than what K-State saw against the three-point shooting Cyclones."It's a quick turnaround," head coach Jeff Mittie said. "Our group has to be very focused and disciplined. They are totally different than Iowa State. You've really got to flip the switch and play more of a pressure team, so it's challenging."K-State will be able to settle in at home, however, as the Wildcats will be playing inside the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum in three of their next four games. It is the second-straight season Kansas State will open its home conference schedule against Baylor after a 92-63 defeat at the hands of the Bears last year.If the Wildcats want to win its 13th Big 12 home opener in their last 14 tries, they will need to rely on their defensive identity. Kansas State leads the nation in scoring defense (47.0 ppg), while the Wildcats rank second in field goal percentage defense (.324) and fourth in steals (13.8 spg).Tuesday's contest will be no easy task as Baylor brings a wealth of size and athleticism to Manhattan, but staying with its defensive mindset and keeping it simple will benefit K-State."You just need to keep it as simple as you can on both ends of the floor," Mittie said. "You say, 'Here are the things we have to do to be successful.' At the end of the day, you just keep it as simple as you can."Offensively, K-State is led by sophomore Breanna Lewis and senior Ashia Woods. Lewis is averaging a team-high 12.1 points on a .529 field goal percentage, while Woods is averaging 9.6 points and a team-high of 6.8 rebounds.Woods is coming off a season-high 21-point performance at Iowa State when she made 8-of-12 shots and was 5-of-8 from the free-throw line."I liked her aggressiveness (at Iowa State)," Mittie said. "She played big the whole game. She was very aggressive. I'd like to see her get more shots. We've been on her to take more shots and be more aggressive. Ashia has a tendency to let the game come to her at times. We're trying to get her to start the game out aggressively."The Wildcats were down 11 at halftime against the Cyclones but tied the game at 50 with 3:21 left thanks in large part to the Wichita, Kansas native. Woods put the team on her back by scoring 16 of her 21 points in the second frame, including an 8-0 run by herself."We need to come out playing like we did in the second half (at Iowa State) at the beginning of the game," said Woods, who had a career high 27 points the last time the Wildcats faced Baylor inside Bramlage Coliseum. "It wasn't necessarily a slow start; they just hit too many threes in the beginning and it got their crowd hyped. It affected us the first half but we were ready for it in the second half and played well."For Kansas State to earn a victory tonight over one of the top teams in the nation, the Wildcats will need to start quick and feed off the energy from its home crowd."Playing at home should bring us some energy," Woods said. "They're not a three-point shooting team and we're playing at home, so that should work out in our favor. We'll make them become shooters and they'll have to beat us off shooting jump shots. If we play our game, I think we'll be alright."Tonight's game can be seen on FOX Sports Kansas City and heard on the K-State Sports Network. For a complete game preview, please click here.