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Cats look to replicate early success at WVU

By Tim Everson

Forgive senior guard Kindred Wesemann for not remembering much from K-State’s 86-71 win over then No. 12 West Virginia.

It was the second conference game of the season, and since then 45 days and 11 other games have passed for the fourth-place No. 24 Wildcats.

“I’m not going to lie,” Wesemann said, “I don’t remember the game plan for that one. I’m going to let coach answer that. That was a long time ago.”

Even head coach Jeff Mittie needed a refresher before the Wildcats started a two-game road trip with a 6 p.m. tip in Morgantown, West Virginia, on Wednesday.

“That was so long ago,” Mittie said. “The way they do the scheduling you have teams that you play in a two-week turnaround but (West Virginia) was the second game of conference. So I’m like Kindred in that I had trouble remembering so I watched it twice yesterday.”

Now that Mittie and his team have had their refresher, a tall task awaits the Wildcats as they venture to face a Mountaineer team that might be starting to wake up as they’re fresh off of a blasting of Oklahoma State to cut a four-game losing streak.

“They’re a great team,” Wesemann said. “I feel like they’ve been playing all right. They made 17 3s in a game versus Oklahoma State so that’s pretty big. That’s a good game for them. We’re going to hope that they don’t do that against us.”

West Virginia touts one of the top offenses in the conference and one of the top offensive players in reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, sophomore Tynese Martin who averaged over 30 points in her last two games and is second in the conference in scoring (18.1 points per game).

When West Virginia came to Manhattan, Martin was one of four players to score in double figures including junior guard Chania Ray who led her team with 23. The multi-faceted nature of this Mountaineer offense makes it very difficult to scheme against, Mittie said.

“They have a lot of firepower,” Mittie said. “They’re looking at the last stretch of this as they’re done with Baylor and Texas. They obviously know they need to make a push here as do all of us. This is the time of the year where everyone is trying to play their best.”

And while this final stretch of games will decide not only the conference race but possible seeding in the Big 12 and NCAA tournament, Mittie reiterated that all he and his team are concerned about is Wednesday’s game with the Mountaineers.

“Play well on Wednesday,” Mittie said. “I think everybody wants to talk about all of the other things but it’s my job to play well today in practice. I know how simplistic it sounds, I know how cliche it sounds and I don’t care. All of those things are important to us in getting better today.”

Following Wednesday’s game, K-State will head straight down to Austin, Texas to prepare for their Saturday matchup with the Longhorns instead of coming back to Manhattan. While this will offer a new experience for the Wildcats, Wesemann is confident that her team will take it in stride.

“I’ve never had one of those,” Wesemann said. “I’ve never actually not come back (to Manhattan) in between games. It will be different for me as well as everyone else on the team but I think we can handle it.”

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