After upsetting No. 8 Texas A&M Wednesday night, the Kansas State women’s basketball team has its sights set on another big game Saturday.
The Wildcats (10-3, 1-0 Big 12) will face the Kansas Jayhawks (12-1, 1-0) on the road in Lawrence on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Like K-State, KU is coming off a big win as well, as the Jayhawks defeated No. 23 Texas on Wednesday 72-67. It’s the first Big 12 opener win for Kansas since 2006, when the Jayhawks also won against the Longhorns.
“I can expect rivalry games are all unique and have a personality all their own,” K-State head coach Deb Patterson said before Thursday’s practice. “Both of our basketball teams are coming off big wins in our conference openers, so this feels even more stoked up — you can throw some hot salsa on the taco.”
The Wildcats took out the Aggies with a last-second basket by junior Mariah White in overtime and junior Carolyn Davis scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half to help lead KU past Texas.
K-State junior guard Brittany Chambers, who led the Wildcats with 21 points against Texas A&M, said the rivalry is high octane no matter the circumstances.
“It’s always tough playing at KU,” she said. “It’s a really hostile environment and they are rivals so it brings a lot of emotion to the game. It always ends up being a great game, whether it should be or not.
“KU is a great team this year. They are really athletic and they are going to bring some challenges for us, but we are excited to be going down there.”
Davis, a 6-foot-3 forward, leads the Jayhawks with 17.2 points per game while three other teammates average double-figures, with junior Monica Engleman nearly right with them at 9.9 points per game.
KU has been more than efficient from the field, as the Jayhawks entered the contest with the Longhorns with the nation’s top shooting percentage.
“They’re loaded,” Patterson said. “Carolyn Davis is a future WNBA player and (Angel) Goodrich is playing her best basketball since her injury. Engelman is as good of a jump shooter and perimeter player as you’ll see, and (Aishah) Sutherland is an unbelievable talent and fabulous athlete… she’s a great rebounder and can score and defend with anyone in our league. And Natalie Knight has come in and added a really nice inside and outside dimension to their team.
“There is great balance there, and it is a very, very potent and high quality KU basketball team.”
Senior transfer Tasha Dickey, who carried K-State in the first half against the Aggies with 12 points and 17 points overall, said she is excited about her first-ever meeting with the Jayhawks and that her father, KSU offensive line head coach Charlie Dickey, gave her a heads up on the game.
“My dad talks about it all the time,” the Arizona transfer said. “I’m excited to experience it for the first time. I know at Arizona, Arizona State was our big rival, so I’m excited to go out there and see what happens.
“I think our chemistry is (on right now). We’re finally starting to figure out how to play together and our scoring is finding some balance. We’re just going out there giving it our all, so I think that really plays a factor when we all step out there for war, as we call it.”
The meeting is the 103rd in the Sunflower Showdown and K-State leads the series 60-42. The Wildcats are 25-24 in games played in Lawrence and the Wildcats have won eight of the last 10 meetings. K-State won the last contest at KU 56-51 last year.