Struggling Wildcats set to host surging Mountaineers

By The Mercury

Coming off a disappointing road trip at TCU on Wednesday night and a chance to make up some ground in the Big 12 standings, the Kansas State women now turn their attention to No. 13 West Virginia.

It was just two weeks ago when the Mountaineers beat K-State by 40 points in Morgantown, W. Va., just one loss in a string of February setbacks for the Wildcats.

K-State has just one win this month — a 60-54 victory over Texas Tech last Saturday in Manhattan — and has lost six of its last eight games dating back to Jan. 22.

If K-State (10-15, 4-10 Big 12) has one thing going for it against West Virginia (23-3, 12-2) this time around, it’s that the Wildcats get the Mountaineers at home on Saturday — beginning at 5 p.m. in the second-to-last home game of the season.

The Wildcats are 7-5 at Bramlage Coliseum this season, which includes three of their four Big 12 wins — against Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma.

K-State’s biggest struggles have come on the road where the Wildcats have lost four straight games, including its 64-44 loss to the Horned Frogs on Wednesday. The Wildcats’ are 1-8 overall on the road this season, including 1-6 in the Big 12, with the lone conference road win coming at Texas Tech on Jan. 14.

West Virginia enters Saturday’s game as one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 10 of its last 11 games, including a 77-45 win over No. 12 Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.

The Mountaineers, who have been to the NCAA tournament five of the last six seasons, have four players averaging double figures — led by sophomore guard Bria Holmes at 14.8 points and almost five rebounds a game.

Joining Holmes is 6-foot-4 senior Asya Bussie, averaging 13.2 points and 7.8 rebounds a game, while senior guard Christal Caldwell is averaging 12.1 points a game. Senior Taylor Palmer is scoring 10.7 points a game off the bench.

While offense has some easy for the Mountaineers, the same can’t be said for K-State. Though freshman point guard Leti Romero has been the most consistent for the Wildcats this season, averaging better than 14 points and five rebounds a game, it’s been somewhat lean behind her. Junior Ashia Woods is averaging 10.5 points and four rebound a game, but no other Wildcat is averaging double figures.

K-State will play at rival Kansas next Wednesday and then at Oklahoma State on March 1 before closing the regular season at home against TCU on March 3. The Big 12 tournament begins March 7 in Oklahoma City.

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