KANSAS STATE (17-9, 7-8) vs. KANSAS (16-10, 5-10)
March 2, 2006 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Allen Fieldhouse (16,300)
at Lawrence, Kan.
Radio: K-State Sports Network
Series History: K-State leads 50-40
Internet: Live statistics at www.k-statesports.com
The age-old rivalry between two schools couldn’t be more intense as Kansas State (17-9, 7-8) sets its sights on the second installment of the Sunflower Showdown with in-state rival Kansas (16-10, 5-10) on Thursday, March 2, at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. In their final regular season game of the season, the Wildcats travel east on I-70 to take on the Jayhawks, who will be searching for their first win in Lawrence in nearly five years. K-State is looking to continue their dominance in the annual series, having won the last nine-straight meetings between both schools. The game will be televised nationally on CSTV with Ann Schatz and Brenda VanLengen calling the action. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
JAYHAWKS AT A GLANCE
As the schedule would play out, Kansas hosts two of its biggest rivals in its last two games of the season. KU recently enjoyed an 81-71 overtime victory over border rival Missouri on Saturday. Like the Wildcats, Kansas has played in three overtime games this year, but have converted that to a 3-0 record when playing extra periods. Senior guard Erica Hallman recorded a career-high 29 points in the winning effort against MU, the team’s second biggest win of the year next to a 70-61 upset of No. 23 Texas on Jan. 3. The Jayhawks are 15-3 at home this year, having gone an undefeated 11-0 in the Phog during non-conference play. Four of their five Big 12 victories have been won at home. Three players are averaging double figures in scoring including leading scorer Crystal Kemp (19.0 ppg) who ranks third in the conference through all games played. She will be one of three seniors to be honored on Senior Night. KU has already posted the most wins (16) in a season since 1999-00.
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP
No. Name 2005-06 Stats
1 Sharita Smith, G, 5-8, Jr. 1.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg
4 Kaylee Brown, G, 5-8, Sr. 12.0 ppg, 3.0 ppg
23 Erica Hallman, G, 5-8, Sr. 14.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg
13 Taylor McIntosh, F, 5-11, So. 4.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg
40 Crystal Kemp, F, 6-2, Sr. 19.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg
SUNFLOWER SERIES PART II
Kansas State leads 50-40 in the all-time series against rival Kansas. The Wildcats are seeking their 10th-straight win in the series, the longest streak to date against any Big 12 opponent. Earlier this season, K-State defeated the Jayhawks, 69-63, in Manhattan on Jan. 25. It was the closest a Sunflower Showdown has been, since a 65-62 victory in favor of KU on Jan. 27, 2001. The Wildcats are 11-8 all-time when playing the Jayhawks in Big 12 regular season action, but have only won four out of the nine times they have played in Lawrence since the league’s inception in 1996-97.
2005-06 Category KSU KU
Overall Record 17-9 16-10
Big 12 Record 7-8 5-10
Points Per Game 69.8 67.7
Scoring Margin +7.7 +2.0
Rebounds Per Game 37.3 35.7
Rebounding Margin +0.8 +0.1
Field Goal Percentage 43.3 43.6
Field Goal% Defense 38.5 43.1
Three-Point FG% 34.6 36.7
Free Throw Percentage 71.0 68.1
Assists Per Game 16.0 15.8
Turnovers Per Game 15.7 14.1
Blocks Per Game 4.9 1.7
Steals Per Game 8.3 6.7
ON THE RADIO
The Sunflower Showdown can also be heard via a live radio broadcast on the K-State Sports Network with Brian Smoller and Missy Heidrick calling the action from Allen Fieldhouse. Network affiliates in Chanute, Clay Center, Goodland, Hays, Iola, Junction City, Manhattan, Fort Riley, Phillipsburg, Topeka, Wichita and Winfield will carry Thursday night’s game against the Jayhawks. An updated list of games aired by each network affiliate is located on the K-State women’s basketball site at: www.k-statesports.com.
The Wildcats are the only team to finish up the Big 12 season having to defend the league’s top three scorers and top 10 rebounders. Kansas’ Crystal Kemp (3rd, 19.0 ppg) will be third-straight scoring threat the Cats will encounter next to Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris (2nd, 21.0 ppg) and Baylor’s Sophia Young (1st, 21.5 ppg). In the Cats last outing with KU, Kemp recorded a double-double performance with 20 points and 12 rebounds on Jan. 25. She currently ranks 21st nationally in points per game. All-American candidates Paris and Young also turned in double-doubles against the Wildcats last week. Texas Tech is the only other league team to come close to meeting up with the league’s top three scorers and rebounders with three of their last four games scheduled against KU, BU and OU.
CATS AROUND THE NATION
As a team, Kansas State currently ranks among the top 25 in the nation in two statistical categories including 22nd in blocked shots per game (4.9) and 23rd in three-point field goals per game (6.8) as of Feb. 27. Individually, two Wildcats are making a mark on the national scene. Twiggy McIntyre currently ranks 22nd nationally in three-point field goal percentage (42.4), while Shalee Lehning ranks 30th nationally in assists per game (5.2).
REGULAR SEASON FINALES
The Wildcats are 4-5 all-time in Big 12 regular season closers and have won their last two-straight finales. Thursday’s matchup will be the fifth time in the 10-year history of the league to play a season closer on the road and second time to play KU in a finale. Both team’s last met in the last game of the year during the 1998-99 season, when the unranked Cats upset No. 22 KU (69-58) in Manhattan. However, K-State is 1-3 when playing its final game of the year on the road.
KNOCKING DOWN THE 3-BALL
The Wildcats have knocked down six-or-more three-pointers in 10-of-15 league games played this season, including 10 treys at Iowa State on Jan. 29 and at Colorado on Feb. 8. In their last six games, K-State has made no less than six triples in a contest. In Big 12 play, the Cats have recently drained the second most threes in a four-game span (30) behind 33 made in the four games prior to its current four-game stretch. Half of those threes, have been made by junior Twiggy McIntyre (15) who currently ranks second-best in the league in three-point field goal percentage (42.4) through all games played. She has led the Wildcats in scoring the last four-straight games including a team-high 20 points against No. 10 Baylor on Feb. 25. McIntyre has recorded double figures in 13 contests with four 20-point games this season.
The bracket for next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship on March 7-9 & 11 in Dallas has yet to be settled with the No. 6 through No. 9 seeds still up for grabs. There is currently a three-way tie for sixth between Texas, K-State and Nebraska (7-8) with a possibility of a four-way tie with Iowa State (6-9). Should Texas, K-State and Nebraska win their final games of the season, Iowa State would receive the No. 9 seed no matter what the team’s outcome against Colorado on Thursday night. The really complicated scenario would occur if all three teams all lost their final game of the season with an Iowa State win. In that case, tiebreakers would come into play.
WHAT A WEEK!
Against back-to-back top 10 opponents last week, the Wildcats still held their own with just a nine-point loss to No. 10 Baylor (79-70) on Feb. 25. It marked the first time in school history in which K-State hosted a defending national champion in Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats only trailed by two at halftime (37-35), but shot just 61 percent (17-28) from the charity stripe. K-State made a late rally in the last minute of the game with a pair of three-pointers by Kimberly Dietz, but the Lady Bears made sure to capitalize on free throws in the final stretch. BU ended the game making 33 of its 41 attempts from the free throw line. K-State saw its largest crowd of the season with 7,922 in attendance for Senior Day.
Two of the conference’s top freshmen point guards hail from Sunflower State schools. Kansas State freshman Shalee Lehning has dished out 136 assists this season with an average of 5.2 assists per game. Meanwhile, KU freshman point guard Ivana Catic has 129 assists to her credit with an average of 5.0 apg. Lehning currently ranks fourth overall in the league in assists with Catic close behind in fifth. Both are No. 1 and No. 2 among all Big 12 freshmen leaders. K-State is the fourth-best team in the league when dishing the rock (16.0) and KU the fifth-best (15.9). The Jayhawks rank 24th nationally in turnovers per game (14.1) with two of the top six assist-to-turnover ratio leaders in senior Erica Hallman (3rd, 2.08) and Catic (6th, 1.87). Lehning is ninth with a 1.68 assist-to-turnover ratio (136-81).
BIG 12 BRACKET SHAPING UP
All 12 league teams will wrap-up the regular season on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Oklahoma is one win away from becoming the first women’s team in Big 12 history to go undefeated in league play with one final date against Texas Tech. The Sooners have already clinched the No. 1 seed outright. The No. 10-12 seeds for next week’s championship have already been decided as well as the five teams who will receive the No. 2-5 seeds. However, a win or loss on Wednesday night, could shuffle around which seeds and brackets each of the top five teams will end up in next week in Dallas.
Big 12 School Conf. % Overall %
1. Oklahoma* 15-0 1.000 25-4 .862
2. Baylor 11-4 .733 21-5 .808
3T. Texas A&M 10-5 .667 21-7 .750
3T. Missouri 10-5 .667 20-7 .741
5. Texas Tech 9-6 .600 14-12 .538
6T. Kansas State 7-8 .467 17-9 .654
6T. Nebraska 7-8 .467 15-11 .577
6T. Texas 7-8 .467 13-13 .500
9. Iowa State 6-9 .400 15-11 .577
10. Kansas 5-10 .333 16-10 .615
11. Colorado 3-12 .200 9-19 .321
12. Oklahoma State 0-15 .000 6-20 .231
*Big 12 regular season champion
WILDCATS AND THE RPI
K-State is currently a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament field of 64 come Selection Monday. Usually, how well a team does in its last five games factor into the selection committee’s decision along with wins on the road and of course, the RPI. According to CollegeRPI.com, the Wildcats are currently rated 60th behind Oklahoma (6), Baylor (11), Texas A&M (24), Texas (44) and Texas Tech (53) as of Feb. 28. The league as a whole is rated third-best behind the ACC and SEC. The Cats are also rated No. 51 in the Jeff Sagarin and No. 59 in the Collegiate Basketball News ratings indexes. K-State is also No. 59 in the NCAA RPI report released on Feb. 28.