Women's Basketball Continues Sunflower Showdown
"It's huge," said Wildcat freshman and Salina, Kansas, native Shaelyn Martin about tonight's game. "Everybody knows the rivalry, so it's really an exciting time for both schools. It's the Sunflower Showdown, you get to show who is the best in the state."
Looking to stay on top of the series, the Wildcats won an intense 58-52 battle in Bramlage Coliseum on January 11. It was a game that went down to the wire, but the Wildcats were able to pull through for the victory.
"I just remember the crowd was extremely helpful," said Wildcat sophomore Kindred Wesemann of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, reflecting back to her team's home win over Kansas. "They were so loud. I anticipate us having just as many people in the building as KU because most of us live close by there. So I'm ready to feel the energy in that building."
With seven of the Wildcats' 16 players hailing from the state of Kansas, it's not just Wesemann who predicts a good crowd of Wildcat fans in Allen Fieldhouse tonight. K-State head coach Jeff Mittie - who, as a native of Blue Springs, Missouri, grew up not far from Lawrence - said he has had numerous ticket requests from his family as well.
"I think it'll be exciting for our team," said Mittie. "We have a lot of kids from Kansas and the Kansas City area, so that will be exciting. There will be more energy in that game than the norm, as it should be."
One of the longest continuous rivalries in all of women's college basketball, the Wildcats lead the all-time series, 64-46, and are an impressive 14-6 in the last 20 meetings. That includes last year's matchup in Lawrence on Feb. 26, 2014, where the Wildcats won, 76-68.
"I think all rivalry games are important, and I think they're more needed in women's basketball because there are so few games that get attention," explained Mittie. "But this game has been plenty big. We were fortunate to win the first one this year. It was a tight game all the way through, and I'm sure it's going to be a heck of a game over in Lawrence."
Since the last time the two teams met, the Wildcats have continued to grow together both on and off the court. The team has secured a signature win over a ranked opponent (No. 20/16 Texas on Feb. 4), and it has also come up big on the road (won at Texas Tech on Jan. 31).
"I think we've grown a lot together, not just individually, but as a whole," said Martin. "We've had some ups and downs, but I feel like we've really been coming together. So looking back at the last time we played Kansas, we have made some good changes and that will help us in this game."
Hoping to be named "Best in State" after tonight's game, the Wildcats are ready to give it their all in tonight's Sunflower Showdown.
For game notes and more information on tonight's game, please click here.
K-State women's basketball players from the state of Kansas:
Senior guard Heidi Brown - Plains
Freshman guard Shaelyn Martin - Salina
Freshman forward Lauren Mertz - Overland Park
Freshman transfer Kaylee Page - Wamego
Sophomore forward Jessica Sheble - Olathe
Sophomore guard Kelly Thomson - Riley
Senior guard Ashia Woods - Wichita
K-State Soccer Founders Club Created
In conjunction with Monday night's unveiling of the official K-State Soccer crest, K-State Athletics has announced the formation of the K-State Soccer Founders Club.
"This is a remarkable time in the history of the K-State women's soccer program," said head coach Mike Dibbini. "The chance to be a part of the first ever Founders Club and to support the new program is a unique opportunity to be a part of the soccer fan experience. The soccer program will have a very positive impact not only for the students and the campus community, but for everyone who is already a part of the loyal fan base."
Memberships for the K-State Soccer Founders Club will be available for the first two seasons (2016 and 2017), engaging fans in a grassroots campaign to help support K-State's newest athletic program.
To continue reading and to learn more about the K-State Soccer Founders Club, please click here.