Four new faces with four new jerseys stepped onto the floor against Division II Emporia State in the Wildcat's only exhibition game of the season Tuesday night.
This introduction of a new class of Wildcats isn't the only change. Returning players now find themselves in new roles and with greater responsibility. And former players are sitting in the bleachers, with their numbers hanging from the rafters.
Change on the hardwood is as inevitable as the green leaves of summer turning red in the fall.
However- the familiar end result of the ballgame did not change for Coach Deb Patterson's squad. K-State won their 14th consecutive exhibition game 60-46.
The Cats experienced rough stretches against the Lady Hornets, who were led by sophomore forward Michelle Stueve's game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds.
First half highlights were few and far between as K-State shot 32-percent from the field and turned the ball over eleven times.
"We took a lot of quick unorthodox shots," junior point guard Twiggy McIntyre said. "Shots that usually fall in practice weren't during the game. And I think that caught us off guard. We were a one shot and out team."
Yet the play of the "Fab Four" (if you will…) did give the crowd of 4,355 something to cheer about during the first 20 minutes of play.
If we could somehow fuel our cars with a freshman's energy instead of gasoline, we'd all be a lot richer. JoAnn Hamlin, Shalee Lehning, Danielle Zanotti and Marlies Gipson checked into the game and raised the excitement level in the building by about a 1000-percent.
Although, the shot selection didn't improve much, there were glimpses of flash. Gipson jumped what seemed like six feet in the air for a defensive rebound. Zanotti hit a 3-pointer. And Lehning fired a no-look bounce pass to Hamlin in the paint, who was fouled. The 6'3" center from Winfield, Kan. sank both free throws.
During the second half Kansas State continued to experience some growing pains and fell behind 40-38. At the 8:40 mark Lehning spun through the lane for lay-up and sparked a 10-1 Wildcat run. She finished with eight points.
With less than four minutes left Patterson went to the bench looking for some leadership and said she was impressed with the line-up led by McIntyre.
"Twiggy took a hold of that call," Patterson said. "Make a difference. Get us in position to build upon this lead and make us better."
McIntyre answered the request, attacking the basket for six points and dishing out three assists. She finished with a team-high 12 points.
The winds of change have certainly arrived at Kansas State.