Oct. 11, 2010
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State enters its 43rd season of women’s basketball attempting to shake off the first below .500 season in nine years (14-18 overall record, 5-11 Big 12), that saw the Wildcats fight through a number of injuries which depleted the roster significantly by the end of the season. K-State’s fortune could have been drastically different, as the Wildcats suffered seven losses by six or fewer points.
During the 2009-10 season, Kansas State became the 11th program in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach the 775-win plateau (782-467, .626). With 18 wins during the 2010-11 season, Kansas State will join the 800-win club which features just eight current members.
Returning to the Bramlage Coliseum sidelines for her 15th season is head coach Deb Patterson. The all-time winningest women’s basketball coach in school history with a record of 279-164 (.630), Patterson has guided the program to 22 or more wins in seven of the last nine seasons and eight consecutive postseason appearances (six NCAA Tournaments and two WNITs) from 2001-02 to 2008-09.
K-State will look to bounce back into the postseason with the return of eight letterwinners, including three starters. The Wildcats also added five newcomers to bolster its 2010-11 roster to help replace the graduation of two-time first team All-Big 12 selection, Ashley Sweat, and veteran guard Kari Kincaid.
The Wildcats will look to replace the production of backcourt stalwart Kincaid, who appeared in 119 games and started 87. Kincaid provided the Wildcats with an increased scoring average in her senior campaign (8.8 ppg) and outstanding perimeter defense by typically drawing the opposing teams’ top perimeter offensive threat.
K-State will turn to five returning letterwinners (Brittany Chambers, Taelor Karr, Kelsey Hill, Shalin Spani and Mariah White) from last season’s roster while also bolstering the position with the addition of four newcomers: Chantay Caron, JuliAnne Chisholm, Emma Ostermann and Stephanie Wittman.
The Wildcats return a pair of starters to their backcourt for the 2010-11 season, as Chambers and Karr look to take the next step following a positive freshman season in Manhattan.
Chambers finished her first season as K-State’s second-leading scorer (12.1 ppg), the squad’s top rebounder (5.8 rpg) and the leader in assists (2.5 apg) and free throw percentage (.844). The product of Jordan, Minn., was the only freshman in the Big 12 last season to tally 350+ points, 180+ rebounds and 80+ assists. She scored in double figures in 22 games, including seven straight during conference action and pulled in double digits in rebounds in three contests, For her efforts, Chambers was named to the 2010 Waco Tribune All-Big 12 freshman team.
Chambers also provided the Wildcats with a consistent three-point threat, as she registered a team-high 65 made 3-point field goals to rank as the third-most by a K-State freshman in school history.
Providing another solid option from the K-State backcourt will be Karr. The native of Paola, Kan., finished as the Wildcats’ third-leading scorer (9.1 ppg) and the team’s third-leading rebounder (4.5 rpg) and passer (1.7 apg) and was the team’s leader in steals with 49 and three-point percentage (.386).
Karr garnered Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors in January and finished with 16 games with 10 or more points, including six straight from Dec. 29-Jan. 23.
Senior guard Kelsey Hill returns to the Bramlage Coliseum floor after missing the 2009-10 season after suffering an ACL injury during an October practice. Hill, a 2008-09 Academic All-Big 12 first team recipient, recorded a career-high nine points in a career-high 15 minutes against Alcorn State in 2008-09.
A versatile contributor for the Wildcats, senior guard Shalin Spani will be unavailable to the team in the 2010-11 seasson after suffering an ACL injury prior to the conclusion of the 2009-10 season. The Lee’s Summit, Mo., product tallied a career-high for points in a season with 113 during her junior campaign and scored in double figures on three occasions, including a career-high of 17 points against Hawaii.
Serving as a backup point guard for a majority of her first year, sophomore Mariah White will look to expand her role in the 2010-11 season. The product of Midwest City, Okla., saw action in 31 of the team’s 32 games last season. She tallied 1.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per contest.
Caron enters her first season with the Wildcats as a versatile option at three positions. Following a successful prep career at Lawrence (Kan.) Free State, the 5-11 combo guard/forward received a number of all-state and all-region honors including 2009-10 Sporting News High School All-American honorable mention and a 2010 McDonald’s All-American nominee. She also played in the 2010 Hy-Vee/Pepsi All-Star Challenge presented by the GKCBCA. Caron concluded her high school career as the school’s career leader in points (827) and field goals (291).
Chisholm will join the Wildcats following the conclusion of the 2010 Kansas State volleyball season. The native of Hillsboro, Kan., was a decorated high school basketball student-athlete by earning a pair of Class 3A honorable mention citations from the Wichita Eagle in addition to other honors. She will provide the Wildcats with added depth at the guard and forward positions.
Following a unique summer tryout, Ostermann was added to the K-State roster by Patterson for additional depth. The product of Abilene, Kan., spent the last two seasons at Cloud County (Kan.) Community College where she helped the Thunderbirds to a 50-14 record. In her two seasons at Cloud County, Ostermann averaged 9.0 points and was a significant threat from beyond the arc (.355 3-point field goal percentage).
During her time in Abilene, Ostermann garnered All-Class 4A honors and was a third team All-State selection following the 2008 season. In her final season with the Cowgirls, Ostermann averaged 16. 0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.5 steals.
Wittman comes to Manhattan rated as the No. 37 guard in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz and was named a Sporting News High School All-American honorable mention prior to the 2010 season. The product of San Antonio, Texas, tallied 15.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.3 steals in her senior season at Alamo Heights High School. With that effort, Wittman received All-District 27-4A first team honors and was selected to play in the 2010 Lonestar All-Star Game. She will provide the Wildcats with a formidable option at the shooting guard position.
Women’s basketball season tickets begin at $78 for general admission, while bench and chairback seating is available for $99 and $132, respectively. K-State is also offering a “Wildcat 4-Pack” this season which consists of four general admission tickets for $200. Season tickets are only $50 for those with military IDs stationed at Fort Riley.
The most convenient way to order tickets is online at www.kstatesports.com. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the K-State Athletic Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum or by calling toll-free, (800) 221-CATS.