Just two days after falling to rival Kansas in the Sunflower Showdown in Lawrence Wednesday night, the Kansas State women’s basketball team will return to its home court for another Big 12 test Saturday night at 6 p.m.
The Wildcats (9-4, 0-1 Big 12) will face a much different opponent than it did in Allen Fieldhouse.
Like K-State, TCU (7-5, 0-1) is young and small. However, the Wildcats aren’t too familiar with the Horned Frogs. After all, this is TCU’s inaugural year in the league, and the two teams have faced each other only one other time.
K-State’s lone meeting with TCU was on Dec. 11, 1999. The Wildcats lost to the Horned Frogs 71-62 at a neutral site in Springfield, Mo.
“They’re athletic and they play a lot of zone,” Wildcats head coach Deb Patterson said following Thursday’s practice. “They’re a basketball team like all of them in the Big 12. (Like us), they are scratching and clawing and trying to figure out a way to get wins.
“I know they’ve got some really good penetration and perimeter players. I know they have a transfer from Kansas and are really athletic.”
The Horned Frogs also opened conference play Wednesday night, but had to do so against No. 2 Baylor in Fort Worth. TCU was dominated by the Bears 74-35.
The Wildcats and Horned Frogs have faced a common opponent already this season, however. Like K-State, TCU faced Texas A&M in December. The Aggies were also victorious in that match-up with a 68-47 win over TCU. The Wildcats fell in their meeting with Texas A&M 83-60.
TCU is led by freshman guard Zahna Medley, who scores 13.8 points per game. Sophomore Natalie Ventress, a 5-foot-10 guard/forward, is right behind Medley with 13.3 points per contest. Junior center Latricia Lovings — their tallest player on the roster at 6-foot-3 –—controls the glass with 9.9 rebounds per game.
Without question, the Horned Frogs are a much different team to prepare for than the much bigger and more experienced Jayhawks. Patterson said the grind of preparing for two totally different teams in four days is challenging.
“One of the challenges of playing in the Big 12 is that two days later, you could be facing an opponent that is completely different,” she said. “You have KU with that experience, that Big 12 savvy and two players that most likely will be in the WNBA a year from now.
“With TCU you have more of a developing program that is learning the Big 12. The size disadvantage (we have against other teams) is neutralized a little bit. We just have to click it to the next challenge.”
Sophomore guard Haley Texada, who scored a career-high 21 points against KU despite being sent to the doctor earlier that afternoon with flu-like symptoms, is familiar with TCU. She grew up in Frisco, Texas, and knows a couple of Horned Frog players.
Texada said she feels her game is coming to her more and more each game, as evident by Wednesday night’s showing against Kansas. She said help from assistant coach Kamie Ethridge has been beneficial as well.
“I feel confident,” Texada said. “The last couple games I was in a bit of a slump, but I’ve been talking with (Ethridge), and she’s been helping me out with my game a little bit, and we’re practicing as much as we can.
“I’m urgent and eager to get out there (against TCU) with the girls and to get a win after a loss (in Lawrence).”