Courtesy: K-State Athletics
MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – With the program’s first 20-win season since 2011-12, Kansas State women’s basketball was rewarded with the program’s 15th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and the second straight under head coach Jeff Mittie during Monday night’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Show on ESPN. This is the 14th postseason appearance for the Wildcats in the last 16 years.
For the fifth time in program history and the first time since the 2003 NCAA Tournament, Kansas State will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. K-State is 5-1 in Manhattan in the NCAA Tournament.
K-State was chosen as a No. 7 seed in the Lexington, Kentucky, regional and will be opposed by No. 10 seed Drake (28-4, 18-0 Missouri Valley) on Saturday, March 18 at 3 p.m., (CDT) in Bramlage Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and on ESPN3.com. The contest will also be available on the K-State Sports Network and free live audio on kstatesports.com. K-State leads the all-time series with Drake, 12-5, with the Wildcats winning the last meeting, 69-63, in Dec. 9, 2000 in Des Moines, Iowa
The winner of the Kansas State-Drake game will play the winner of the No. 2 Stanford-No. 15 New Mexico State match-up on Monday, March 20. The top four seeds in the Lexington regional are: No. 1 Notre Dame (30-3), No. 2 Stanford (28-5), No. 3 Texas (23-8) and No. 4 Kentucky (21-10).
All-session tickets for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament start at $25 and are on sale online now and will be available tomorrow at 8:30 a.m., in person at the Bramlage Coliseum ticket office or by calling 1-800-221-CATS. Season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase all-session chairback tickets before the public. Season ticket holders with seats in chairback sections will have the opportunity to renew their seats for the tournament, however not all chairback locations will be available for public purchase.
All-session general admission tickets start at just $25 and Youth (ages 2-17) GA all session tickets are $18. All-session chairback will be available to the public starting at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 15 for only $30.
K-State students can present a valid K-State student ID to receive free admission at the southeast entrance of Bramlage Coliseum on gameday. For questions or assistance, please contact the K-State Ticket Office by calling 1.800.221.CATS.
K-State is 12-14 in its previous 14 NCAA Tournament bids. The Wildcats advanced to the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament in Columbia, South Carolina, as K-State entered the tournament as the No. 9 seed in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, region. K-State defeated No. 8 seed George Washington in the first round before falling to No. 1 seed South Carolina in the second round.
Under Mittie’s guidance in his third season, Kansas State has registered its first 20-win season since the 2011-12 season and the most overall wins (22) since 2008-09. K-State recorded 11 Big 12 wins, the most in league play since K-State won the Big 12 regular season title in the 2007-08 season with 13 wins. Mittie is the first K-State women’s basketball coach in program history to guide the program to the NCAA Tournament in two of the first three seasons as head coach of the Wildcats.
After being slated for a fifth-place finish by the Big 12 Conference coaches in the preseason poll, K-State carded a fourth place finish in the conference standings. This is the third straight season under Mittie that K-State has improved its league win total from one season to the next and the highest league finish since the 2011-12 season.
On the floor this season, Kansas State features a diverse attack with eight players scoring 100 or more points this season. Leading the way has been the senior All-Big 12 First Team duo of Breanna Lewis and Kindred Wesemann.
During the 2016-17 season, Wesemann has achieved career season-highs and leads the Wildcats in points (447; 14.0 ppg) and steals (61; 2.0 spg). Her scoring average this season of 14.0 points per game marks the fourth straight season that Wesemann has improved her scoring average from one season to the next. Wesemann is the third player in program history with 400 or more points, 90 or more assists and 60 or more steals in a season and the first since Kendra Wecker in 2002-03.
The native of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, has ranked as one of the Big 12 Conference’s top 3-point shooters this season. Wesemann leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made (85) and 3-point field goals made per game (2.7). Wesemann’s 85 three-point field goals made are third in school history for 3-point field goals made by a senior and tied her career season-high from the 2015-16 season.
Lewis has reached the 400-point, 225-rebound mark for the second straight season. She is the only active NCAA Division I player with at least 1,500 or more career points and 275 or more career blocks. She is the 11th player in school history to reach 1,500 career points and is just one of four players in program history with 1,500 or more points and 800 or more career rebounds.
The senior from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been one of the most dominant centers in the Big 12 this season. She leads the Wildcats in a number of statistical categories, including: field goals made and field goal percentage (191-of-343; .557), rebounds (265; 8.3 rpg) and double-doubles (8). Lewis ranks 13th in the Big 12 in scoring, third in field goal percentage, fourth in rebounding and sixth in blocked shots (58; 1.8 bpg). Her 265 rebounds this season are a career-high and ranks 10th in school history for rebounds in a season.
Lewis, who is the only player in program history to be named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, earned her third straight league defensive honor by anchoring one of the Big 12’s top defenses this season. She has been responsible for 42.3 percent of K-State’s blocked shots and set the school record for blocked shots in a three-year span with 237. This season, Lewis owns a combined 91 blocks and steals.
Drake enters the NCAA Tournament on a 22-game winning streak and finished the season as the Missouri Valley Conference champion and secured the league’s automatic bid into the tournament field. This will the Bulldogs’ 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs are led on the sidelines by fifth-year head coach Jennie Baranczyk. On the floor, Drake is led by 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and All-MVC First Team selection Lizzy Wendell and MVC Freshman of the Year Beca Hittner. Wendell, a senior from Blue Springs, Missouri, is averaging 21.1 points per game and 4.5 rebounds. Hittner, a product of Urbandale, Iowa, is averaging 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds.