(#17/17) Kansas State (23-6, 12-4) vs. (#6/6) Baylor (26-3, 14-2)
Big 12 Tournament Championship Game
March 12, 2005 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Municipal Auditorium (9,827)
at Kansas City, Mo.
Television: Fox Sports Net
Radio: Mid America Sports Network
Series History: K-State leads 9-6
Internet: Live Statistics and Audio Broadcast on www.k-statesports.com
Eight years have passed since the third-seeded Kansas State women’s basketball team (23-6) has been in this position, its first Big 12 Conference championship game appearance since 1997. The Wildcats take on top-seeded Baylor (26-3) for the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid on Saturday, March 12 at 6 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised live from Municipal Auditorium on Fox Sports Net.
LADY BEAR PAUSE
Just like K-State, the Lady Bears are making their second-ever appearance in the Big 12 championship game. As the No. 2 seed in the 2002 Tournament, Baylor beat Texas Tech and Iowa State to meet top-seeded Oklahoma in the finals (lost 84-69). BU’s dynamic post tandem of All-Big 12 first teamers Sophia Young and Steffanie Blackmon are the team’s No. 1 and No. 2 scorers and rebounders. Against top 25 opponents this season, the Lady Bears are 6-2 including wins over Texas, K-State, Iowa State and Texas Tech (three times).
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP
No. Name 2004-05 Stats
33 Sophia Young, F, 6-1, Jr. 17.4 ppg, 9.5 rpg
35 Abiola Wabara, F, 6-0, So. 5.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg
45 Steffanie Blackmon, C, 6-2, Sr. 16.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg
02 Chelsea Whitaker, G, 5-9, Sr. 4.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg
21 Chameka Scott, G, 6-0, Jr. 7.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg
THE MAIN EVENT
For the Wildcats, Saturday’s championship game appearance will be an added checkmark on the long list of goals accomplished over the last four seasons by head coach Deb Patterson and her soon-to-be graduating Senior Class. K-State last appeared in the finals during the inaugural 1997 Tournament. The fifth-seeded Wildcats fell to third-seeded Colorado (54-44) in the championship game, but still advanced to the NCAA Tournament after a 10-year absence on the national scene. Former Wildcats Andria Jones and Brit Jacobson were both named all-tournament selections, with Jones earning coveted MVP honors. Both K-State and Baylor have never won the Big 12 Tournament title.
Kansas State leads 9-6 in the all-time series. Prior to a 72-62 loss at Baylor on Feb. 2, the Wildcats had won the last four consecutive meetings between both schools. In Big 12 Tournament play, K-State holds a one-game advantage going 2-1 against the Lady Bears. Both teams have met twice in the first round (1998 and 2001) and once in the quarterfinals (2003), but never in the championship game. The 11th-seeded Wildcats upset sixth-seeded BU in the 1998 Tournament with a 75-66 (+9) win in overtime, while claiming a 77-60 (+17) quarterfinal victory over the Lady Bears in the 2003 Tournament. K-State’s only loss happened during the 2001 Tournament falling 60-44 (+16) to BU, the second largest margin of victory in the postseason series between both programs.
GIVE ME 30
For the 21st time in school history, the Wildcats have played 30 or more games in a single season (including BU game), while two more victories would give them their fourth-straight season to record 25 or more wins. Baylor will also play its 30th game of the year having already gone a school-best 26-3 overall in 29 games played.
LAST TIME OUT vs. BU
Kendra Wecker, Laurie Koehn and Megan Mahoney each scored 12 points in a 72-62 loss at No. 8 Baylor on Feb. 2. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Wildcats. BU’s Steffanie Blackmon had 21 points, while teammate Sophia Young had 15 points and 13 rebounds, giving the Lady Bears their 13th-straight home victory at the Ferrell Center. Emily Neimann finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Jordan Davis added a season-best 17 points to aid in the winning cause.
WILDCAT SPARK PLUG
Sophomore Twiggy McIntyre scored a career-high 19 points vs. 11th-ranked Texas in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament Thursday night. She reset career-highs in minutes played (28), field goals made (7) and field goals attempted (10) against the Longhorns. She has turned in three-straight double-digit performances including 11 points at Missouri on March 2 and 10 points vs. Nebraska in the Big 12 quarterfinals on March 9. Over the last three games, McIntyre has averaged 13.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 assists off the bench for K-State. Her game-and team-high 19-points against UT marked the first time she has led the team in scoring in a single game.
Senior Brie Madden turned in her second career double-double with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in a 72-69 victory over No. 11 Texas Thursday night in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament. Her 10 rebounds against the Longhorns marked the fifth double-digit board performance of her career. The second all-time leading shot blocker in school history (102), Madden also dished out a career-high six assists off the bench for the Wildcats.
BACK-TO-BACK TOP 25
K-State is 3-3 against the top 25 this season and last beat back-to-back top 25 opponents on Jan. 22 vs. No. 10 Texas Tech (55-53) in Lubbock, Texas, and on Jan. 25 vs. No. 18 Iowa State (74-52) in Manhattan. The Wildcats picked up their third top 25 victory of the season with a 72-69 upset of No. 11 Texas in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals on March 10.
The Wildcats improved to 10-8 all-time in the Big 12 Tournament. Their No. 3 seed in this year’s tourney is the second-highest in school history, behind earning a No. 2 seed in 2003-04. K-State last advanced to the championship game during the 1997 postseason tourney, also the first-year under the guidance of head coach Deb Patterson. Overall, K-State has met Baylor (including Saturday’s game) four times in Big 12 Tournament play.
2005 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team selection Kendra Wecker currently ranks first all-time at K-State in career scoring (2,265), first all-time in career rebounding (1,051) and first all-time in career double-doubles (50). She became the league’s all-time leading scorer vs. Nebraska on March 9. Wecker was recently named the WBCA National Player of the Month for February. She is two rebounds away from surpassing OU’s Caton Hill (1,052) for third all-time in career rebounding in the Big 12 record books.