Center Court With The Lady Wildcats

Kendra Wecker at the beginning of the season was a solid candidate for National Player Of The Year then she severely sprained her ankle and missed 4 games. Considering the biased east coast media who seem to control much of the post-season award voting her chances were hurt just a bit due to the injury, but as anyone following the Lady Wildcat program can attest to, awards are the furthest thing from the mind of Kendra Wecker.

She returned to the team with a vengeance surprising everyone by starting and playing against both Villanova and St. Joseph's in a trip through Philadelphia and back home against Central Connecticut State.

The mark of a great player is their ability to pick up a team when needed and put them on their back. Wecker has done that with just her presence on the court and her stellar play that has picked up the intensity and confidence of the rest of the team. Now if the rest of the Lady Wildcats continue to improve and pick up their play Kansas State should be primed to make a run at the Big 12 title.

Wecker, averaged 23.3 points, 12 rebounds in those 3 games in recording three more double /doubles to give her forty for her career. This set a new record passing Nicole Ohlde on the all time Lady Wildcat list.

The amazing 3 game stretch led to for the second time this season Wecker being named Big 12 Conference Player of the Week by the league office on Monday afternoon.

The Kansas State Lady Wildcats began their recent three game stretch playing their first game in 10 days as they made a trip to Philadelphia to battle the Villanova and St. Josephs. Then they finally got to play a game back in the friendly confines of Bramledge Coliseum.

Looking sharp throughout and showing no rust after a 10-day lay off the Lady Wildcats only trailed once early as they out hustled, and out rebounded a bigger Villanova squad in claiming their seventh win of the year with 75-63 victory. The Lady Wildcats who have had difficulty in the past with bigger, more physical teams showed no signs of those past problems. Kansas State dominated the boards throughout and showed grit and toughness inside as they out rebounded the other "Wildcats" 42-26.

The Wildcats from the Big East Conference came into the game with a good resume due to the fact they have beaten the Connecticut Huskies the last two times they've played. A big team that is well coached could have given the Lady Wildcat fits, but there was one thing Villanova wasn t counting on was the return of Kendra Wecker.

Wecker, went through warm ups and seemed to be moving rather gingerly on the injured ankle. Head Coach Deb Patterson must have seen something she liked as Wecker showed little effects from the injury in playing 18 minutes and scored 11 points in the first half to share the team lead with Laurie Koehn and Claire Coggins added 8.

The All-American candidate seemed to get more comfortable as the game moved along as she finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds to earn her 3rd double-double of the season. It was the 38th double-double of her celebrated Kansas State career.

In the first half of action the Lady Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field and took a 42-27 lead into halftime. The Villanova team never gave up as they cut what was a 21point Lady Wildcat lead to 65-58 when Kate Dessart Megar converted on an old school 3 point play with only 3 minutes left in the game. That is as close as Villanova would get as Kansas State went on a 10-5 run to put the game away for good.

St. Joseph s provided the next opponent for Kansas State in their Philadelphia tour. Once again Kendra Wecker continued to show why she is a national player of the year candidate by scoring 21 points and pulling down 14 rebounds as the Lady Wildcats blew past St. Joseph's 68-49. Kansas State showed improvement on the boards by out rebounding St. Joseph's 48-25. Another stat was K-State dominated offensively inside by outscoring the home team from Philly in the paint 40-14.

The game was a little too close for comfort with Wildcat fans mostly due to the Lady Wildcats only being up by 6 with 14:12 left to play in the game. K-State then went on an 11-0 run to increase their lead to 47-30.

The start of the second half was a nightmare for St. Joseph s as they went nearly 11 minutes without a field goal. The loss was the seventh straight for the home team, and the Lady Wildcats improved to 8-2 with their fourth consecutive win.

Finally it was home sweet home for K-State as they entertained Central Connecticut State in front of nearly 7,000 fans, glad to have their Lady Wildcats home for the first time in a month as they destroyed the Blue Devils 77-23.

In a dominating performance K-State held Central Connecticut State to its lowest point total in the history of their women's basketball program. The 54-point win was the largest for Kansas State since they whipped Sacramento State by 63 in 2003. The Blue Devils shot a horrific 20.5 percent from the field due to poor play and a tough Kansas State defense.

The victory was significant as Head Coach Deb Patterson picked up her 160th win and she now has a career record of 160-97.

One of the real bright spots in this game was the shooting of Laurie Koehn who hit 5 of 9 from the 3-point line to finish with 15 points. Twiggy McEntyrye had a solid game as well with 14 points and Kendra Wecker once again led the team with 24 points on 10-17 shooting while pulling down 10 rebounds.

The win moved "The Cats" record to 9-2 going into Big 12 play. K-State is improving, and the return of Wecker couldn't have come at a better time. Night in, night out K-State will get everyone's best shot and with the hostile environments in the Big 12 toughness, both mental and physical will be a must. The Lady Wildcats also need to assert themselves, and make other teams take notice of the fact they are one of the elite teams in the conference and in the country. Kansas State opens Big 12 play against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa then its onto Lawrence for the renewal of the Sunflower Showdown against the Lady Jayhawks.

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