The Wildcats (24-7, 10-6 Big 12) were chosen as a No. 5 seed in the Raleigh, N.C., regional and will be opposed by No. 12 seed Drexel (24-8, 16-2 Colonial Athletic Association) on Saturday, March 21 at 9 p.m. (CT) in Albuquerque, N.M., at the The Pit on the University of New Mexico campus. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and on ESPN360.com. The contest will also be broadcast on the K-State Sports Network.
The winner of the Kansas State-Drexel game will play the winner of the No. 4 Vanderbilt-No. 13 Western Carolina matchup on Monday, March 23. The top four seeds in the Raleigh regional are: No. 1 Maryland (28-4), No. 2 Baylor (27-5), No. 3 Louisville (29-4) and No. 4 Vanderbilt (24-8).
K-State is 9-10 in its previous 10 NCAA Tournament bids. The Wildcats advanced to the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament in Bridgeport, Conn. Kansas State entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed in the New Orleans region. K-State defeated Chattanooga in the first round before falling to No. 4 seed Louisville in the second round.
This is the eighth straight postseason appearance for the Wildcats, as K-State has appeared in five NCAA Tournaments and two postseason WNITs in the last seven seasons. K-State captured the 2006 WNIT title for the first postseason title in school history and reached the semifinals of the 2007 WNIT. The Wildcats have advanced to the second round in the last five NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 effort during the 2002 NCAA Tournament.
Under head coach Deb Patterson, K-State has now reached the NCAA Tournament seven times and registered a 6-6 record with five straight second round appearances.
This season, Kansas State is led by All-Big 12 selections Shalee Lehning, Marlies Gipson and Ashley Sweat. Lehning, a candidate for a number of national All-American honors and an All-Big 12 first team selection, is the Wildcats' third-leading scorer at 10.9 points per game, the team's top rebounder at 7.1 per game and the Big 12 leader and second in the nation in assists per game at 7.6 per contest. Lehning has registered three triple-doubles this season and five for her career, which is tied for third in NCAA history for triple-doubles.
Gipson garnered All-Big 12 second team honors for the second time in her career from the league's coaches. The product of McPherson, Kan., is K-State's second-leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, the Wildcats' second-leading rebounder at 6.7 rebounds per game and ranks 13th in the nation and second in the Big 12 in blocks per game at 2.7.
Sweat earned her first citation from the league's coaches with All-Big 12 first team honors. The native of McPherson, Kan., leads the Wildcats in scoring at 16.7 points per game and is the third-leading rebounder at 5.2 per game.
Drexel captured its first-ever Colonial Athletic Association tournament title with a 64-58 win over James Madison on March 15. The Dragons entered the tournament as the number one seed, capturing the league's regular season title with a 16-2 record.
The Dragons are led by fifth-year head coach Denise Dillon. The 1996 graduate of Villanova owns a 96-83 (.508) record during her time with Drexel. Dillon, the 2009 CAA Coach of the Year, became the fastest coach in Drexel history to record 70 wins and owns the second-most wins in school history.
On the floor, Drexel is led by junior forward Gabriela Marginean and sophomore guard Jasmina Rosseel. Marginean was named the 2009 CAA Player of the Year after recording 23.6 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per contest. The product of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, is shooting .479 from the field this season and is 241-of-269 (.896) from the free throw line.
Rosseel, an All-CAA third team recipient, is the Dragons' second-leading scorer at 10.8 points per game. The native of Leper, Belgium, is the team's leading three-point shooter, converting 87-of-227 (.383) from beyond the arc.