Kansas State vs. Texas: Women’s Basketball Preview and Prediction
Here is everything you need to know about the Kansas State Wildcats and the Texas Longhorns in our Kansas State vs. Texas Big 12 women’s basketball preview.
7 p.m. Central Time, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
TV: Longhorn Network
Records: Kansas State: 15-4 (5-2 in Big 12); Texas: 14-3 (4-2).
Ranking: Kansas State: No. 25; Texas: No. 9.
Last game: Kansas State: def. Oklahoma, 94-65 (Jan. 23); Texas: def. TCU, 68-47 (Jan. 22).
Previous meeting: This is the first meeting between these two teams this season.
C Ayoka Lee: If you’ve been under a rock the last few days, let’s catch you up. The 6-foot-6 junior scored 61 points against Oklahoma to set a Division I record for most points in a game. She’s the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, ESPN Player of the Week, the US Basketball Writers Association Player of the Week and is on the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List. She’s also a jersey short since she sent the one she wore on Sunday to the Naismith Hall of Fame. Oh, and she announced on Tuesday that she’ll be returning to Kansas State for her senior year.
G Serena Sundell: She is one of two players in the Big 12 that has been named the Big 12 Freshman of the Week three times this season (the other is playing in this game too). She is averaging 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, six assists and one steal per game. She has also emerged as Kansas State’s most consistent 3-point shooter.
G Jaelyn Glenn: Glenn is the reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Week, and the third Kansas State freshman to win the award this season (her sister, Brylee, has won it twice). She had nine points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and five steals against Oklahoma. She averaged nine points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.5 steals last week.
G Rori Harmon: Harmon is that other player that has earned the Big 12’s Freshman of the Week award three times. She is averaging 10.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and two steals per game. She also has a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Harmon is the pilot of a guard-driven offense.
F Lauren Ebo: She is the biggest threat the Longhorns have inside at the moment. She scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for a double-double against TCU on Saturday. Ebo missed the Longhorns’ win over Iowa State last Wednesday. With her back in the lineup against the Horned Frogs, Texas held a 34-18 edge on points in the paint. She’ll have help from DeYona Gaston and Aaliyah Moore, among others.
G Aliyah Matharu: The Mississippi State transfer is the one guard on the floor that has the ability to take over the game from the 3-point line. She’s shooting 42.5 percent from distance, has made 34 3-pointers this season and leads Texas with 15.2 points per game. She’s streaky and is capable to taking over an entire quarter with her outside shot.
Outside of Lee’s excellence, this a great bounce-back season for the Wildcats. Kansas State won just nine games last season. The conference’s struggles with COVID derailed them last season, as the program had five games postponed or canceled in January. The Wildcats have already passed last year’s win total overall and for Big 12 play (they won just three league games in 2020-21). They’ve done with Lee in the pivot, but also an assemblage of young talent around her. Sundell, the Glenn sisters and others have grown alongside Lee this season. Kansas State has its eyes firmly on the NCAA Tournament and challenging for a Big 12 crown.
The Longhorns hit a valley as Big 12 play started. COVID played a role in that, as they saw their final non-conference game cancelled and were a bit short-handed for their Big 12 opener at Oklahoma State. The Longhorns also, uncharacteristically lost home games to both Texas Tech and Kansas, neither of which had beaten Texas on the road in years. That loss to Kansas seemed to wake Texas up, though, as the Longhorns have won their last three games, including a win over Iowa State, which was their third win over a ranked team this season.
Kansas State and Texas are two of five Big 12 teams with two losses in league play. The others are Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma. Also, between Kansas State and Texas they’ve beaten six ranked teams this season.
Prediction: Texas 65, Kansas State 60. Texas has size to well, not necessarily handle Lee, but at least slow her down enough to keep the Wildcats from taking this one.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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