Kansas State senior guard Kindred Wesemann does not mince words when it comes to her feelings on playing Kansas.
“It means a lot,” Wesemann said. “It’s a big-time rivalry. It’s one of the longest ones in the Big 12. I’m from Kansas City, Missouri, so I never really liked KU. I want to win this rivalry like we always do.”
While “always” may be a slight exaggeration, Wesemann is not far off.
The Wildcats (12-4, 2-2 Big 12) have dominated the series versus Kansas (6-9,0-4) as of late, winning 26 of the past 31 games, including the last five.
The game tips off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Bramlage Coliseum.
Currently, only five members of the Wildcats roster have ever lost to the Jayhawks, and it’s not an experience that Wesemann plans on recreating in her final year at K-State.
“I only lost to them I think my freshman year,” Wesemann said. “And I’d like to keep it that way. I know that my fellow seniors feel the same way. We want to win.”
Wesemann and the rest of the Wildcats don’t need to be reminded of the importance of Wednesday’s game, but that hasn’t stopped K-State head coach Jeff Mittie from dropping some reminders to his team throughout the offseason.
“I bring it up year-round every now and again,” Mittie said. “There will be a June reference to this There will be a July one. A lot of the players know each other. Especially a lot of regional players know each other… it’s important to them as any rivalry game becomes. It’s important to a lot of people in the state of Kansas. They know it’s on the schedule.”
Meanwhile, the Jayhawks are riding a 22-game conference losing streak, stretching back to last season’s winless conference campaign.
The Jayhawks have matched their win total from last season, and their scoring has improved from roughly 50 points per game to 63.6 so far this year.
“They’re scoring is way up this season,” Mittie said. “Last season, they struggled to score the ball. This year they have a couple guards who can score and who can get going. That would be their biggest change.”
The Kansas attack is led by junior guard Jessica Washington, who averages 14.1 points per game and is especially dangerous when she’s able to drive to the hoop.
“Boy, she’s tough,” Mittie said. “(When) she’s got the ball in her hands, she can make pro shots. She pushes tempo very well. We have to keep her outside of the arc, and keep her in front of us.”
Meanwhile, K-State is coming off a win against a talented Texas Tech team following a 1-2 conference start versus three ranked foes.
“I think this stretch has been a very talented group of teams,” Mittie said. “I feel like this league is way deeper than a year ago in terms of talent.”