The maturity Kansas State sophomore Haley Texada is showing on the basketball court isn’t often seen in player who saw very little time as a freshman.
Though senior Brittany Chambers has put on a scoring exhibition through the first four games of the WNIT, Texada hasn’t been far behind.
Such was the case Saturday when Texada scored 16 points to help the Wildcats get past Illinois 66-48 at Bramlage Coliseum and into the semifinals.
Texada has increased her production in every game of the WNIT, scoring 12 against Texas Southern, 13 against Illinois State and 14 in the Wildcats’ win over Ball State on Monday.
“Early in the season, you saw such an improvement from last season, and this season (Texada) has even grown further,” Chambers said about her teammate. “It’s just that kind of maturity that you don’t really see a lot in sophomores, especially sophomores that didn’t play a lot in their freshman year.”
Texada, who was 7 of 15 from the field Saturday, has been on a tear since early March. She’s reached double figures in six of her last seven games, including 19 points against Texas in the Big 12 tournament.
“She has great focus and great energy and has a presence out there — it’s a fighting presence and you notice her,” K-State coach Deb Patterson said. “On the offensive end, it feels natural — it’s not forced, it’s not plotting, it’s not second-guessing.
“I like the aggressiveness she’s playing with.”
The Wildcats (19-17) have needed Texada too, especially during an injury-riddled season that’s left K-State with just seven healthy players since Jan. 23. Texada, who scored just 14 total points as a freshman, is averaging nearly 30 minutes a game this season. The 5-foot-7 guard is second on the Wildcats with 67 3-pointers, including her one trey on Saturday against the Illini.
“It’s amazing to see how poised (Texada) is on the court,” Chambers said. “She’s keeping her head and not taking stupid shots, she’s taking smart shots, but being aggressive at the same time. I’m really proud of her.”
Texada credited a meeting with Patterson for her production in the WNIT.
“I had a meeting with Coach about a week ago and the one thing she stressed was, ‘have a lot of energy,’” she said. “And I think with that, everything will take care of itself. I feel like if you have a lot of energy on defense, offense is automatically going to be there.”
Texada said she is looking forward to the rest of the WNIT with her teammates, as K-State gets set to host Utah in a semifinal on Wednesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
“Everything’s starting to kick in,” she said. “The excitement is amped up and the energy is amped up, and it’s coming natural for all of us. The best feeling is to just be relaxed and play your game.”