Welcome to your first (and hopefully not last) women’s basketball open game thread for your Kansas State Wildcats.
We’ve got a big game tonight. The Wildcats are finally ranked in the AP poll (though the coaches voting in the WBCA poll are still idiots), meaning tonight we have the first regular season matchup between ranked teams in Bramlage since the final regular season game of the 2016-17 season when the #24 Wildcats fell to the #12 Texas Longhorns before heading off to the Big 12 Tournament. And yes, regular season does need to be specified, because the Cats remained ranked through the NCAA Tournament, and the first round games that should have been hosted by Stanford were instead hosted in Manhattan due to scheduling conflicts. That was a weird deal.
Tonight’s opponent from Iowa State is 14-1, and is ranked pretty highly despite a schedule that’s relatively weaker than K-State’s. Their sole loss came on the road at LSU, and their best win was over then-#12 Iowa in Ames. So far they are 3-0 in conference play, but have played two at home, but did take out then-#23 Oklahoma in Norman last week. They are led by former Kansas prep star Emily Ryan, and the Claflin native was a unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team last year.
The Wildcats counter with arguably the best player in the country in Ayoka Lee, who had a pedestrian 14 points and 12 rebounds this past weekend against West Virginia, but should be a much tougher match-up for the under-sized Cyclones. She’s joined by a trio of stellar freshman, led by point guard Serena Sundell (who will likely have the primary duty of guarding Ryan), who just picked up her third Big 12 Freshman of the Week honor, and has also topped the 20-point mark three times already this season.
This should be a great match-up, and hopefully it goes the Wildcats way.
Tonight’s game from Bramlage tips at 6:30pm CST and can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Brain Smoller (play-by-play), Missy Heidrick (analyst), and Kelsey Bigelow (sideline) on the call.
If you haven’t subscribed to ESPN+, or just don’t want to, you can listen to James Westling (play-by-play) and Kristin Waller (analyst) call the game on some of the K-State Sports Radio Network, and also available online on the The Varsity Network app and at K-StateSports.com.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
(25/RV) Kansas State Wildcats (13-2, 3-0 Big 12)
G: #3 Jaelyn Glenn
G: #4 Serena Sundell
G: #5 Brylee Glenn
F: #13 Laura Macke
C: #50 Ayoka Lee
(9/9) Iowa State Cyclones (14-1, 3-0 Big 12)
G: #11 Emily Ryan
G: #20 Aubrey Joens
G: #21 Lexi Donarski
G: #24 Ashley Joens
F: #31 Morgan Kane