Auburn, which is 21-12, has won four of its last five games after hitting a late season four-game losing streak that cost the Tigers a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament.
The consolation prize is the Women's National Invitational Tournament, which Auburn won in its only previous appearance in 2003. To reach the 2007 championship game the Tigers will have to knock off an 18-14 Big 12 opponent on the road and then take on the winner of Sunday's South Dakota State at Wyoming game.
"I saw a lot of good things with the way we played at Virginia Tech," says Auburn coach Nell Fortner, who notes that Auburn's last outing, an 81-73 win over the Hokies, was one of her team's better all-around performances.
"Our sophomores are getting better now that they have more experience and that is what we were hoping we would see," Fortner adds.
Sophomore forward DeWanna Bonner scored 27 points in her last outing and sophomore point guard Whitney Boddie played one of her best all-around games on Thursday night at Virginia Tech as she produced 15 points, seven assists and four steals without committing a turnover.
Bonner leads the Tigers in scoring at 15.3 points per game while another sophomore, guard Sherrell Hobbs, is next with 11.4 points per game.
DeWanna Bonner is averaging 8.2 rebounds per game this season.
The Wildcats will start three 6-2 forwards and two guards who are five-foot-nine. The leading scorer in the group is junior guard Kimberly Dietz, who averages 13.2 points per game. Freshman forward Ashley Sweat is averaging 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. Claire Coggins, who made the All-Big 12 Freshman Team, comes off the bench to score 12.6 points per contest.
Sunday's game will be the first meeting in women's basketball between Auburn and Kansas State. The Wildcats defeated Illinois 66-51 to advance to the fourth round game vs. Auburn. Before that the Wildcats ran past Southern Illinois 72-46 while Auburn defeated UAB 74-60.