Cats expect big things from Lewis

By Joshua Kinder

Breanna Lewis has what it takes to be a superstar in the Big 12 someday.

That’s the belief, at least, among the Kansas State women’s basketball coaching staff so far.

The sophomore-to-be post averaged just 5.7 points and 4.6 rebounds a game as a freshman this past season for the Wildcats.

But its what the 6-foot-5 Milwaukee native has the capability to do defensively that has K-State’s new coaching staff exciting about what could be on the horizon.

“I told her from Day 1 that if she was really willing to work on her deficiencies, she could be a really, really good player,” K-State head coach Jeff Mittie said during a recent interview with The Mercury.

Associate head coach Brian Ostermann took it a step further.

“I think Bre could be a superstar in this system because we not just allow, but demand and force our center to block shots all the time and be aggressive in blocking shots,” he said. “Her challenge, like any post, will be to stay out of foul trouble.

“With Bre’s length, she can be a superstar defensively, if she continues to develop.”

Lewis was eighth in the Big 12 in blocked shots last season with 44 — the most by a K-State freshman since Marlies Gipson during the 2005-06 season. She was the top freshman shot-blocker in the league and the first Wildcat to block a shot in each of her first seven games since the 1996-97 season.

“She blocked 44 shots last year and I think she could double that next year,” Mittie said.

Lewis started out slow a year ago for the Wildcats, who finished the season just 11-19 overall and 5-13 in the Big 12. She struggled to stay on the court, often getting into foul trouble before halftime.

It’s not Lewis’ start to her career that has the new staff so amped up about her future, but rather how she finished her first season. She reached double-figure scoring four times in the final 14 Big 12 games, including a career night against Kansas in the Wildcats’ season-ending loss in the conference tournament when she scored 20 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and blocked five shots in just 22 minutes.

“A player like Bre Lewis has come a long way in nine months,” Ostermann said. “You saw it coaching against Kansas State at TCU a year ago, where she was in November and December games to where she was in March putting up 20 and 14 against Kansas.”

Ostermann said most players make their biggest improvement their freshman year to their sophomore year. Mittie hopes that’s the case with Lewis. 

“With Bre, you see improvement daily,” Mittie said. “Even when I got here in the spring, we wanted her to leave her feet more, be more aggressive blocking shots, and we couldn’t get her to do it the first week. But the second week, she was starting to do it, but had no idea how to do it. The third week, she was starting to understand angles.

“With a young post player there are so many things they can improve upon that if they do the work, they’ll get better. She just has a real open mind for improving, which allows you to get better.”

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