(#25/22) Kansas State (5-2) vs. Alabama (6-1)
December 18, 2004 2:30 p.m. (CT)
Hammons Student Center (8,846)
at Springfield, Mo.
Television: Fox Sports Midwest (Kansas and Kansas City Markets Only)
Radio: Mid America Sports Network
Series History: Alabama leads 1-0
Internet: Audio Broadcast on www.k-statesports.com
A four-team women’s basketball holiday showcase tournament is ahead for No. 25-ranked Kansas State (5-2) as the Wildcats take on Alabama (6-1) in the third annual Triple Crown Classic hosted by SW Missouri State on Saturday, Dec. 18 in Springfield, Mo. This year’s Classic features a national caliber doubleheader with a meeting between top-ranked LSU (9-0) and SMS (4-3) at noon (CT) followed by Kansas State and Alabama at 2:30 p.m. (CT). The K-State vs. Alabama game will be televised live on Fox Sports Midwest throughout the state of Kansas and the entire Kansas City market with Thad Anderson (play-by-play), WNBA star Becky Hammon (color analyst) and Renee Carlson (sideline reporter) calling the action from Hammons Student Center.
Alabama has won six of its last seven games including a two-game winning stretch against UAB (74-55) on Dec. 7 and at Tennessee Tech (62-59) on Dec. 11. The Crimson Tide are making their second appearance in the Triple Crown Classic, having done so in 2002 when the tournament was held at New Mexico. Sophomore guard Marverly Nettles leads the team in scoring (13.4 ppg) and ranks 32nd nationally in steals per game (3.3 avg). As a team, Alabama has outrebounded opponents by an average margin of 9.9 rpg, which ranks 13th nationally among NCAA leaders.
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP
No. Name 2004-05 Stats
02 Marverly Nettles, G, 5-10, So. 13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg
21 Kate Mastin, G, 5-9, So. 5.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg
24 Monique Bivins, G, 5-9, Sr. 9.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg
32 Natasha Gamble, F, 6-0, Sr. 12.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg
52 Dee Merriweather, C, 6-4, Jr. 4.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg
Alabama leads the all-time series 1-0. Both teams last met on Nov. 26, 1999 in Cancun, Mexico. Despite shooting just 31.3 percent from the floor (28-64), the Crimson Tide came away with a close 63-60 victory over Kansas State. The Wildcats led 29-28 at halftime. Former Wildcat Angie Finkes scored a game-high 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field with nine rebounds. For the game, K-State shot 37.3 percent (22-59) in the three-point loss to Bama.
TRIPLE THE COVERAGE
The Triple Crown Classic will be broadcast to 51 million homes on various television stations across the country. The following is a list of stations and cable affiliates who will broadcast the K-State vs. Alabama game: FSN South, FSN Midwest (Kansas Only), FSN Southwest (Louisiana and Arkansas Only), MSG (New York), Empire Sports (New York), Fox College Sports (Digital), NESN (New England), CSN Philadelphia, CSN Chicago, CSN West (Sacramento, Calif.), CSN Portland, Cox San Diego and KWHD 53 (Colorado).
Kansas State director of basketball operations Donease Smith played for SW Missouri State under former head coach Cheryl Burnett during the 1994-95 season as the Lady Bears advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Smith later completed her collegiate career at Central Missouri State. Senior Laurie Koehn ranks second all-time in Kansas girls basketball history behind SMS and Claflin High School legend Jackie Stiles (3,603). Koehn recorded 3,160 career points at Moundridge High School. Claflin (pop. 688) is located about an hour and 45 minute drive northwest of Moundridge (pop. 1,575).
Kendra Wecker suffered a sprained left ankle in four minutes of play vs. New Hampshire on Dec. 3. She did not suit up vs. Liberty on Dec. 4 for the first time in 104 consecutive games started and played since the beginning of her freshman season in 2001-02. Wecker’s recovery is listed as day-to-day. She did not play at UMKC on Dec. 11.
LOOKING AT THE RPI
In the latest WBCA/Summerville RPI Index released on Dec. 12, K-State is rated No. 74 behind Alabama (35). Upcoming opponents Villanova (66) and Saint Joseph’s (199). By conferences, the Big 12 was rated the fifth-best league in the country behind the Pac-10, SEC, ACC and Big Ten.
AGAINST THE SEC
K-State is 7-13 all-time vs. teams hailing from the Southeastern Conference. This season, Big 12 teams have gone 3-3 against the SEC.
The Wildcats will play on television 11 times during the 2004-05 season. Four of those 11 games will be televised nationally on FSN and ESPN2, while the other six on a regional or local basis. K-State is 1-0 this season and 35-25 all-time when playing on television.
An annual top 10 leader in several NCAA statistical categories, the Wildcats are currently ranked second nationally in assists per game (20.9) behind national leader Ohio State (21.0). Last season, K-State ranked in the top 10 in scoring offense (9th, 75.5), scoring margin (6th, 16.5), assists per game (5th, 18.8), field goal percentage (6th, 47.7) and three-point field goal percentage (5th, 38.6).
AROUND THE LEAGUE
The Wildcats are currently fifth in the latest Big 12 Conference standings as of Dec. 12. Kansas State leads the league in assists (146) and ranks second in rebounding defense (32.0), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.47) and three-pointers made (52).
School Overall Big 12
1. Baylor 7-1 0-0
2T. Iowa State 6-1 0-0
2T. Texas A&M 6-1 0-0
4. Texas Tech 5-1 0-0
5. Kansas State 5-2 0-0
6. Nebraska 6-3 0-0
7. Texas 4-2 0-0
8. Oklahoma 5-3 0-0
9. Kansas 4-3 0-0
10. Missouri 4-4 0-0
11T. Colorado 3-4 0-0
11T. Oklahoma State 3-4 0-0
IN THE NEUTRAL ZONE
K-State last played at SMS’ Hammons Student Center during the same season (1999-2000) as the Alabama loss in Cancun. Playing in the Women’s Sports Foundation Classic held on Dec. 10 & 11, 1999, the Wildcats lost to No. 10-ranked Oregon (79-69) and TCU (71-62) in the consolation game of the tournament. K-State is 1-1 this season when playing on neutral courts.
FRESHMAN BLOCK PARTY
Freshman Shana Wheeler has played in all seven games of the season and leads the Wildcats in blocked shots (10). Among Big 12 freshmen, Wheeler ranks first in steals per game (0.57 avg) and blocks per game (1.43 avg). She had a career-high three blocks at UMKC on Dec. 11. The K-State freshman record for most blocks in a season is 33 held by Tina Dixon (1982-83).