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K-State used skid as a learning experience

By Kelly McHugh

Texas may have started Kansas State’s four-game losing streak three weeks ago, but Wednesday night the Longhorns played victim as the Wildcats finally had something to celebrate.

K-State halted the slide with 68-47 victory over Texas at Bramlage Coliseum.

Losing four straight games looks bad, sure, but two of the Wildcats’ losses came after close, hard-fought games.

The Wildcats lost to rival Kansas 89-80 in double-overtime Feb. 2.  K-State then turned around last Wednesday and lost at home to Oklahoma, 74-68 — a game in which the Wildcats cut the deficit to two points, but just couldn’t finish the job. The streak was started with a 19-point loss at Texas and capped with a blowout loss at Iowa State last Saturday.

“I think that it was a four-game losing streak that probably looked worse than it felt for us,” K-State senior guard Brittany Chambers said. “Because, besides the Iowa State game, I felt like we really, really were building, getting better and battling hard.”

And for a young team with virtually no depth at just seven players, taking advantage of opportunities to get better is key to the Wildcats’ future success.

After its 87-71 loss to Iowa State in Ames last Saturday, K-State knew it had some things to fix before returning home last night.

“What I really appreciate about our team is I feel like whatever it is that’s happened the game before, we work really hard to change that,” K-State head coach Deb Patterson said. “I felt like we really dropped the ball at Iowa State, and I think it was the first time in maybe a couple of weeks that we’d done that.

“For our kids to come back against Texas and to battle like they did tonight, was just awesome.”

K-State is eighth in the Big 12 , and while last night’s win kept the Wildcats above the Longhorns, winning their final six games will be no easy task. With four road games left, starting with a trip to Oklahoma State on Saturday and ending with a trip to top-ranked Baylor March 4, finding opportunities to get better could be difficult, especially in one of the nation’s toughest conferences.

“In this league, you have to set aside those games, you’ve got to learn from them,” Patterson said. “That’s what working in the Big 12 is all about, even when you’re 100 percent, and even more so when you’re hit with a lot of adversity like we have been this year.”

For senior point guard Mariah White, Wednesday night’s win over the Longhorns was bitter sweet after the struggles the past three weeks.

“In practice, we work so hard,” she said. “You feel like you work hard and so you want to reward yourself with a win, and I felt like we played well against KU and OU. We felt like we were getting better, so tonight, to reward ourselves with a win, felt great.”

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