With back-to-back road games against Tennessee State and Charlotte during the Thanksgiving break, the K-State women’s basketball team improved its record to 4-0.
While against Tennessee State the Wildcats saw a 62-47 victory, head coach Deb Patterson said she didn’t see her team play as well as she would have liked. So, the next victory — a close 67-63 win over the more challenging Charlotte 49ers — was a definite step up.
“I felt we played really well,” Patterson said, “and that Charlotte game, in particular, was important for us. It was a good boost in our overall understanding of what competing at the next level is all about.”
Senior guard Brittany Chambers anchored the win against Charlotte with 22 points, but she wasn’t alone in double figures as Haley Texada added 17 points and junior forward Ashlynn Knoll scored 10.
With Texada’s 17 points, the sophomore guard recorded three other career highs — eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Chambers said that she could tell from the pregame warm up that Texada was going to have a good night against Charlotte.
“We kind of joked around in pregame that she hadn’t missed a shot all day,” Chambers said. “But against Tennessee State, she played really well also. I think she’s just kind of building day by day and feeling more confident.”
Texada scored 17 points against Tennessee State also, and has proven to be consistent for the Wildcats success over the past few games since returning from a nonconference suspension
“It was a great game for Haley in that she was so focused and she played with great intensity every trip up and down the floor,” Patterson said. “She’s learning the system, she’s understanding what’s required on the defensive end of the floor and it’s a starting point for her.”
While Patterson said she felt her team was the better team against Tennessee State, the win over Charlotte wasn’t as easy.
Charlotte’s leading scorers, senior forwards 6-foot-4 Amanda Dowe and 6-3 Jennifer Hailey scored 18 and 14 points, respectively — with a clear height advantage over K-State.
K-State’s tallest starter is junior forward Chantay Caron at only 5-11. Caron tries to play smart on defense, in the hope of making up for what she may lack in height.
“Their posts were not bad posts, they’re really good posts,” Caron said. “They’re what we’re going to be seeing in the Big 12 and the rest of the games. So, in practice and pregame we worked on defense everywhere. Our games were just really good in the defensive area.”
Overall, playing on the road provided a good opportunity for the Wildcats’ young team to gain experience in new environments that will help them with a challenging conference schedule on the horizon.
“That was a great win against a great team, a very talented team,” Patterson said. “But it’s over, and now it’s about preparing for as many as two or three of the top-ranked teams in the country.”
Though early in the season, the Big 12 currently has six teams ranked in the Top 25 — No. 3 Baylor, No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 18 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Kansas, No. 24 Iowa state and No. 25 West Virginia.
But before the Wildcats can start to think about those daunting challenges, they have to finish up their nonconference slate.
K-State will tip off against Mississippi Valley State this Friday at 7 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum.
“We’re really excited, we’re ready for a home game now,” Caron said. “We’re ready to show our fans that we’ve gotten so much better on the road.”