The Sunflower Showdown gets a third leg as the Wildcats and the Jayhawks do battle in the opening game of the first round of the 2014 Big 12 Tournament. The Wildcats come into tonight's game losers of four of their last five games. Their lone win was over the Jayhawks on February 26th.
While the Wildcats are out of the NCAA Tournament at-large picture, there is a chance to move with some upsets, and find a way to get a chance to take down might Baylor tomorrow night, March 8th. A lot of that will be determined on the play of Leticia Romero. The freshman is a second team All-Big 12 choice. She is the first freshman in school history and only freshman guard in NCAA Division I this season to register the combination of 400 or more points, 100 or more rebounds, 100 or more assists and 50 or more steals.
Don't take the Jayhawks lightly. They're only one of two teams that have been able to take down Baylor this season. The Wildcats do have the advantage of being able to beat Kansas, just a week earlier in Lawrence. Chelsea Gardner is the super star big that leads the team in scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounds (8.5 rpg). She's a decisive piece to why the Jayhawks have been to the Sweet 16 the last two seasons.
While the Wildcats aren't a very high octane offense, just 61.4 ppg and ninth worst in the Big 12, they're playing one of the worst defenses in the conference. Kansas is allowing 67.4 points per game. Attack the paint and get the Jayhawks into foul trouble, getting chances at charity stripe will be beneficial for the Wildcats winning this game.
It's one of the longest continuous rivalries in the country between Kansas State and Kansas. Tonight will be the 109th meeting between the interstate schools. Kansas State has won 22 of the last 27 against the Jayhawks, including 6-5 in their matchups at neutral sites. The Wildcats also own a 2-1 advantage in the Big 12 Championships. This season, the two teams split the regular season meetings, both teams winning on the road. The Wildcats won the last meeting 76-68 in Lawrence on February 26th. Kansas State leads the all-time series 63-45 and snapped KU's three-game winning streak by defeating Kansas last week.
Guest correspondent Chuck Chaney writes for Thunder Obsessed and Crimson and Cream Machine, and has been gracious enough to provide us reports live from Oklahoma City. Follow @OKCChuck for game play-by-play and the rest of the 2014 Big 12 Women's Tournament throughout the weekend.