Wildcats looking for sweep of Cowgirls

By Joshua Kinder

The last time the Kansas State women’s basketball team played Oklahoma State, the Wildcats were looking to snap a three-game losing skid.

K-State did just that in Stillwater, Okla.

Now, the Wildcats are looking to keep build a winning streak when K-State hosts the Cowgirls at Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday night at 7 — televised on FSN.

K-State is coming off a 20-point blowout of Texas on Saturday and with Wednesday’s game, has a chance to rattle off a series of wins to end the season against numerous teams the Wildcats have already toppled this season.

The Wildcats — now 17-9 overall and 8-6 in the Big 12 — wrangled the Cowgirls 67-56 on Jan. 28 behind 29 points from Brittany Chambers.

But doing it again, is almost always more difficult the second time around.

“It’s hard to play teams twice and that was the challenge coming into this Big 12 season,” Chambers said Monday. “Beating a team once is hard, beating them twice is so much more difficult. But we have to go into the game as if we didn’t win the first one — trying not to think about the first game and just take it game-by-game in our preparation and scout.

“It’s a matter of making those adjustments based on what they’re doing that day.”

The Cowgirls, under Jim Littell, who took over after head coach Kurt Budke and three others died in a plane crash earlier this season, are 13-10 and 5-9 in the league. Oklahoma State has lost six of its last seven games — a skid that started with the Wildcats’ win over the Cowgirls last month.

Yet, K-State coach Deb Patterson said this is still a Cowgirls team that can sneak up on opponents down the stretch — especially a team like K-State that is vying for conference tournament seeding and an NCAA tournament bid that follows.

“They’re very physical, very competitive and very blue-collar,” she said.

The Cowgirls are led by three players in double-figure scoring, including 6-foot freshman forward Liz Donohoe (12.2), 5-6 sophomore point guard Tiffany Bias (11.7) and 6-2 junior forward Toni Young (10.5) off the bench.

Patterson is quite familiar with multiple Cowgirls, however, as Bias and starting forward Lindsey Keller are from Kansas originally. Bias is from Andover, while Keller, who averages 7.1 points and 6.9 rebounds a game, is from Goddard.

“The thing about Oklahoma State is that they have young people who we recruited mutually — some Kansas kids — so they always bring a lot of family to this game,” Patterson said. “So, I think there is an inspired and emotional lift when Oklahoma State comes here.

“It almost feels like a close, regional game, an old North division game — they don’t feel that far away — and we tend to recruit some of the same players.”

Much of that Kansas connection with Oklahoma State stems from Budke’s deep roots in this state. Budke, from Salina originally, was a graduate assistant at Washburn and an assistant at Friends University before landing his first head-coaching job at Allen County Community College where he was 47-15 in two seasons.

Though Littell — who was head coach at Seward County Community College for 14 years — served under Budke for six seasons, Patterson saw a clear difference in the two coaching styles when the Cats played OSU in January.

“They do play a little different, which is what you expect,” she said. “I was so impressed with their transition, the attack mode of Tiffany Bias. They can spread you with the 3-ball very well, and yet they’re physical in the paint.

“I think too, we saw their willingness to mix their defenses up between zone and man a bit more. I think we’ll see more diversity in how they defend us and going in, that’s a little bit different than usual.”

Probable starters

OKLAHOMA STATE (13-10, 5-9)

  Yr. Ht. Ppg.  Rpg.

G — Taylor Schippers Fr. 5-8 4.5 1.4

G — Tiffany Bias So. 5-6 11.7 3.1

F — Liz Donohoe Fr. 6-0 12.2 6.4

F — Lindsey Keller Jr. 6-2 7.1 6.9

C — Kendra Suttles So. 6-1 9.1 5.2

KANSAS STATE (17-9, 8-6)

  Yr. Ht. Ppg. Rpg.

G — Brittany Chambers Jr. 5-8 15.3 6.1

G — Tasha Dickey Sr. 5-10 10.2 4.0

G — Mariah White Jr. 5-8 5.7 4.5

F — Jalana Childs Sr. 6-2 13.6 5.0

F — Branshea Brown Sr. 6-2 4.9 5.1

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