Jan. 16, 2013
This story appeared in Wednesday's edition of K-State Sports Extra
By Mark Janssen
Haley Texada became the first player in Kansas State history last year to wear the No. 1 on her purple and white jersey, but she was anything but No. 1 in the hearts of the Wildcat coaching staff.
Giving a somewhat embarrassed chuckle to her freshman year, Texada said, “I didn’t give them much to get excited about.”
The 5-foot-7 guard from Frisco, Texas, played in 14 games, scored a total of 14 points and snagged a total of 11 rebounds. She made just 5-of-32 field goal attempts (.156) and was 0-of-12 from 3-point range, plus had 16 turnovers to go with seven assists.
She was so low on the Wildcat roster that she wasn’t even invited to travel with the team to the NCAA Tournament last year in Bridgeport, Conn.
“She went through some adversity. She had to go through a lot of tough time with self-inflicted adversity socially, academically and with basketball,” summarized K-State coach Deb Patterson.
Texada defined the year as being “… the first year here and the first year on my own. I just got in a rut in a lot of areas.”
Today No. 1 has become Patterson’s pride and joy during this 10-6 season which will continue tonight at 7 against the No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Baylor Lady Bears.
“Haley has taken an unbelievable step from a year ago. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a bigger change in a player from her freshman to her sophomore year,” said Patterson. “She is mentally dialed in. You can tell that basketball does matter. She is maximizing her abilities to help this team succeed. Her change mentally is the greatest change I’ve witnessed.”
On herself, Texada says, “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say my improvement is a 10. Last year nobody knew who I was. I’m not sure that I did. But the coaches kept saying they saw potential in me and that motivated me to work hard.”
The results are on the stat sheet.
Texada went from scoring a total of 14 points last year to averaging 11.9 points per game this season. From 0 percent shooting from 3-point range, her accuracy is now a decent 35 percent. And, 11 times in 16 games she has been in double figures in scoring, which included 22 points against TCU and 21 against Kansas.
“I wouldn’t call last year a wasted year because it was a learning year on and off the court,” said Texada. “I hope what I learned is showing up now.”
Patterson said, “She finally hit a point where she was low enough that she made up her mind that she wasn’t going to settle to be at this level in her life. Our message to her was that she had all this potential, talent, ability, but she had to make up her mind to commit to the work to bring it out.
“During the summer she picked her life up by the bootstraps and started to say no to the things she would have said yes to before,” said Patterson. “She started a life of discipline. She was hard on herself.”
Perhaps the single line that grabbed Texada’s attention was when the K-State coaching staff told her “… they said I had the potential to be the next Shalee Lehning. To hear that meant a lot. She was one of the greatest players to ever play here. I believed it because the coaches stayed on me 24-7. If they didn’t believe I could be that good, they wouldn’t pay any attention to me.”
Today, Texada said her role on the team is to provide “… motivation and produce energy.”
That, and take some of the scoring burden away from Brittany Chambers, which she has with her dozen points per game.
And, her coach has noticed: “Haley has been terrific. She’s been a leader day in and day out in practice, and we’re beginning to see the results of her hard work. She’s scoring, plus has been a warrior defensively competing every minute of the game. She’s very, very physically fit right now, and is playing with a very strong will.”
‘CATS BATTLE NO. 1 BEARS TONIGHT: K-State’s challenge tonight at 7 in Bramlage Coliseum is against the No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears. A Bears’ team that is 14-1 this year after going 40-0 a year ago to win the national title.
“They have it all,” said Texada. “They’re athletic, they have quickness and they have height. They have it all. If you get the ball too low, then you have a 7-footer to deal with.”
In reality, Brittney Griner is “only” 6-foot-8, but she is the premier female to perhaps ever play the collegiate game. Helping the Lady Bears to an 81.3 scoring average and a 30-point margin of victory, Griner is averaging 21.1 points on 59 percent shooting with 7.7 rebounds and 2.67 blocked shots.
Plenty of help comes from a pair of 6-1 talents in Brooklyn Pope (11.5 scoring on 57 percent shooting) and Destiny Williams (9.1 scoring on 55 percent shooting).
So far in Big 12 season, Baylor (4-0) has defeated TCU by 39, Oklahoma State by 34, plus nationally ranked Iowa State by 28 and Kansas by 22.
Baylor’s only loss this year was to No. 4 Stanford at a neutral site in Hawaii, 71-69, which snapped a 42-game winning streak.
STATE RECOGNIZES LEHNING: Prior to the start of the Feb. 2 K-State women’s basketball game against KU, former K-State All-American and current assistant coach Shalee Lehning will be honored by the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) as a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2013. The ceremony will take place at the 12-minute mark of the pregame warm-ups during the Dillons Sunflower Showdown game in Bramlage Coliseum.
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at email@example.com.