Women BB Season Opens Fri At UTEP

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State will open the 41st season of women's basketball on Friday night in El Paso, Texas, as the Wildcats take on UTEP at 6:30 p.m. (CT) from the Don Haskins Center.

The game can be heard live on 1350 KMAN, as Dave Riggert delivers the play-by-play, while former Wildcat Kristin Waller provides the color commentary.

K-State and UTEP have split the only two games in the series with the Wildcats winning the last meeting, a 66-58 decision on Dec. 1, 2007 during the championship game of the Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic in Bramlage Coliseum. This will be K-State's first ever trip to El Paso.

The Wildcats concluded their two-game exhibition slate on Nov. 7 with an 89-57 win over Emporia State for the fifth win in the last six exhibition games for the Wildcats. K-State was led by junior forward Ashley Sweat with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Also in double figures on Friday night were senior guards Kelsey Nelson and Shalee Lehning with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Nelson was 4-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc in just 13 minutes of action. Lehning, a 2008-09 Wooden Award candidate and 2008-09 All-Big 12 preseason first team selection, carded another diverse stat line with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.

During the two-game exhibition slate, Sweat paced the Wildcats with 18.0 points per game to go with 4.5 rebounds. Lehning was the second-leading scorer at 12.0 points and provided a diversified stat line of 7.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. Senior forward Marlies Gipson paced the Wildcats on the boards with 8.5 rebounds per game and added 2.5 blocks, 3.5 assists and 8.5 points to her line.

This is the first time K-State will open its season on the road since the 2003-04 season (Nov. 16 at No. 7 Purdue). This also marks the first time since the 1971-72 season (at Washburn, Jan. 14, 1972; at Haskell, Jan. 18, 1972) that K-State will play its first two games of the season on the road. The Wildcats won both of those contests.

K-State Receives National Preseason Attention Kansas State has garnered national preseason recognition after capturing the 2008 Big 12 regular season title and the 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. The Wildcats are ranked 19th in the Athlon's College Basketball preview, 26th according to Charlie Creme's preseason power rankings at espn.com and are 33rd in the preseason Associated Press poll.

At the conclusion of the 2007-08 season, the Wildcats were ranked 16th in the final AP poll and 21st in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll.

Lehning Named to Wooden Award Watch List; Preseason All-Big 12 Senior guard Shalee Lehning has been named to the 2008-09 Wooden Award watch list in addition to her selection to the 2008-09 Preseason All-Big 12 team by the league's coaches.

Lehning, a 2008 All-Big 12 first team selection and 2008-09 All-American candidate, enters her senior year on the cusp of setting the school record for career assists. She currently ranks second with 571 assists and needs 19 assists to pass Megan Mahoney (2001-05; 589) for the top spot. Lehning also will climb the ranks of the career rebounds chart (703; 9th), career steals (187; 7th) and career points (868; 35th).

Following a 2008 season which saw Lehning average 11.3 points per game, 7.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists, she was recognized by a number of media outlets for her effort. Organizations to honor Lehning included: WBCA Region V All-America finalist, Kansas City Star Player of the Year and All-Big 12 first team and the Waco Tribune All-Big 12 second team. Lehning excelled in the classroom as she was named to the Academic All-Big 12 first team and to the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VII third team.

Remember, Remember the Month of November Entering the 41st year of women's basketball at K-State, the Wildcats have accumulated a record of 89-36 (.712) in the month of November. In the Patterson era, the Wildcats are 40-16 (.714) in the 11th-month.

K-State in Season Openers/Road Beginners The Wildcats have been dominate in season-openers since the team's first season in 1968-69. Kansas State is 32-8 (.800) in openers and have won eight of the last nine season openers, including four straight. Head coach Deb Patterson is 10-2 (.833) in season-openers since taking the reins of the program in 1996.

The Wildcats are 22-17 (.564) in true road openers. K-State has won six of the last nine.

Head coach Deb Patterson is 7-5 (.583) in the first road game of the season since taking the reins of the program in 1996.

Wildcats on the Road K-State has a 215-217 (.498) record in road games during the program's 41-year history. During the 21st century, K-State owns a 56-37 (.602) mark in road contests and are 72-71 (.503) during Deb Patterson's 13 seasons on the K-State bench.

During the 2007-08 season, K-State finished with an 8-4 road record and set a new school standard for conference road wins in a season with a 7-1 mark, becoming the first team in the Big 12 since the 2005-06 season (Oklahoma, 8-0) to win at least seven league road contests and the sixth overall. Of the six teams to have achieved the feat, five have won the Big 12 regular season title.

Lehning 7th Member of 700/500 Club Shalee Lehning is just the seventh player among Big 12 schools to register 500 assists (571) and 700 rebounds (703) for her career and the sixth since the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996-97.

During the 2007-08 season, Lehning also became the second player in school history to register 800 points (868), 700 rebounds and 500 assists for her career.

Lehning the Passer; 2nd on Career Assists List Shalee Lehning continued her climb to the summit of the K-State career assists list during the 2007-08 season, as she moved into second place on the all-time list with 571, passing Mary Jo Miller (1988-92; 562). She is just 18 assists from tying Megan Mahoney for the career school record of 589 and ranks ninth in Big 12 history. The junior from Sublette, Kan., is the third player in school history to reach the 500-assist plateau for her career. Lehning has played in 100 games in her career and has tallied 5.77 assists per contest.

For the 2007-08 season, she tallied a K-State junior record 203 assists and became the first player in school history to surpass the 200-assist barrier in a season. Lehning also holds the assists record by a freshman (189) and by a sophomore (179).

Lehning was effective and efficient in 2007-08 season with her distribution of the basketball, registering 6.34 assists per game to lead the Big 12 and ranked 11th in the nation. She is the first Wildcat to lead the Big 12 in the category. She also has a 1.66 assist-to-turnover ratio (203 assists - 122 turnovers) to rank fourth in the Big 12 and 68th in the nation. In 2007-08 season, she has carded 25 games of five or more assists and four contests with 10 or more. For her career, she holds the school record for games with 10 or more assists at 12 contests including a career-high of 12 on three occasions.

Lehning the Leading Rebounder; Top Rebounder Among National Assist Leaders Shalee Lehning continued to mix it up with the big girls inside, despite being just 5-9 and playing the point guard position. She led the Wildcats in rebounds for the second straight season in 2007-08 with 243 (7.6 rpg) and is just one of six guards in the nation to achieve the feat during the last two seasons. She finished the season ranked ninth in the Big 12 in rebounds per game, is the shortest player among the top-10 in the category and the only guard ranked in the top-10. She was second in the conference in defensive rebounds per game (5.84) and trailed Oklahoma's Courtney Paris (9.29) in the category.

In 2007-08, she had 10 contests of 10 or more rebounds, including a season-high 17 rebounds at Kansas in the regular season finale. For her career, Lehning has 22 career games with 10 or more rebounds, including a career-high and school record-tying total of 20 rebounds against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 6, 2005. When she hauls in six or more rebounds in a game, the Wildcats are 43-22 (.662). The guard from Sublette, Kan., is ninth in career rebounds at K-State with 703.

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