Oh my, what a performance by Ayoka Lee. Kansas State opened their season with a 103-40 win over Central Arkansas last night, but the real story was Lee’s dominant offensive performance that saw her break the K-State single-game scoring record as she dropped in 43 points in just 24 minutes of game action. And it was efficient scoring too, as the star junior went 17-25 (68%) from the field, and 9-12 (75%) from the charity stripe. Oh, and she also had nine rebounds, three assists, four blocks, and three steals. Talk about stuffing the stat sheet. Overall, Lee was the only Wildcat in double figures until into the meat of the 4th quarter, when she was finally joined by Emilee Ebert, who finished with 16, and Rebekah Dallinger, who finished with 11. All 10 players who saw the court for K-State played at least 15 minutes, and thanks to some preseason injuries, that’s the only 10 players currently available for Jeff Mittie.
Next up for the MittieCats is the 2021 Preseason WNIT, with the Wildcat playing host to UT Martin, Western Kentucky, and North Carolina A&T this weekend. The first game on the tournament is Friday, Nov 12th, at 4pm, and K-State’s first game is Friday at 6:30pm against UT Martin.
The WeberCats are in action tonight to officially open their season, with the tilt against Florida A&M set for 7pm from Bramlage Coliseum. The last time these two schools met was in December of 2019, with the Wildcats winning 76-58 after returning home from their dismal showing in the Fort Myers Tipoff. And it will be the second time K-State has opened the season against the Rattlers, as the Wildcats won 96-57 back on Nov 14th, 2008 to open Frank Martin’s second season at the helm in Manhattan. At least Weber continues to say the right things about his team, and continues to have optimism headed into a make-or-break season for the coach starting his 10th season in Manhattan. But regardless of his optimism, it’s very possible that the Wildcats could be and improved team this year, and it could still result in a losing record, especially in conference play against a stacked Big 12; but this Wildcats team may have the ability, thanks to big additions from the transfer market that brought in experience and scoring prowess, to overcome preseason expectations and get K-State back to postseason play.
K-State’s weekly press conference was yesterday, and probably the most surprising news to come from Chris Klieman was the announcement that junior kicker Taiten Winkel has “decided to hang it up” after suffering an injury that appears to be career-ending. Winkel, a native of Halstead, KS, was the Wildcats primary field goal kicker through the first seven games of the season, where he went 7-9 on field goal attempts, and 22-23 on extra point attempts. He was replaced against TCU by true freshman Chris Tennant, who has gone 1-2 on field goals and 9-9 on XP’s in his first two starts.
There was a fun tidbit that came from senior receiver Kade Warner. Apparently, after never going to a bowl game during his time at Nebraska (LOL), Warner and his family are very excited about being bowl eligible with the Wildcats, and Kade’s family is already making plans for the eventual bowl trip. So Wildcat fans, you might get a chance to hang out with Kurt Warner at K-State’s bowl game this year.