Cats close exhibition against Lady Blues

By Kelly McHugh

The Kansas State women’s basketball team will get another chance Monday to work through some early growing pains when the Wildcats close out the exhibition slate at home against Washburn.

K-State opened its season with a 68-57 win over Fort Hays State on Thursday.

The Wildcats debuted their new system and struggled some, mainly due to so many new faces this season.

Also hurting K-State’s cause was the absence of point guards Mariah White and Haley Texada, who both served the first game of unspecified restrictions placed on them during the nonconference portion of the schedule.

Some bright spots, though, included three double-figure scoring nights from senior Brittany Chambers, junior Chantay Caron and sophomore Ashia Woods.

Chambers, the only returning starter in the lineup Thursday, had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Woods scored a game-high 19 points and Caron added 14 points.

While the Wildcats began their season with a win, the opportunity to play in a game situation was important for the young team, as five out of the team’s nine eligible players are new to the program.

K-State coach Deb Patterson said the team is still learning how to play together going into Monday’s game.

“As we head into the Washburn game,” Patterson said after Thursday, “we’ll take every minute of this game and take something that we can learn from…

“There really is no element of the game that we won’t continue to work on and build off of, and we’re going to be that kind of team that chips away and just runs a great deal through this season”

Washburn, though Division II, will be no easy game for K-State, as the Lady Blues are ranked No. 17 in the USA Today/coaches preseason poll.

The Lady Blues, who were 29-5 last season, lost to the Wildcats in an exhibition game at Bramlage Coliseum a year ago, 52-50.

Chambers scored a game-high 22 points in the win.

Washburn opened its season last Sunday, losing at Kansas, 57-35. Leading the Lady Blues in their first exhibition game against the Jayhawks was 6-foot-1 forward Tiara George, who scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Monday’s game will tip at 7 p.m. and air on Fox Sports Midwest.

The Wildcats open the regular season on Friday at home against Idaho State, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

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