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K-State Basketball Teams Set for Exhibition Doubleheader vs. Emporia State

November 2, 2017
By Corbin McGuire

Preseason basketball is, more or less, about working out as many kinks as possible before games start to count in the win-loss column. This makes exhibition games and the live-game experiences they bring extremely valuable when it comes to gauging areas of improvement and others in need of it.

Both the K-State men's and women's teams will be able to measure their progress in a doubleheader of exhibition action against Emporia State on Friday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

Each team will be on opposite ends of the preseason spectrum, too. K-State's women tip off at 5:30 p.m., in their first of two exhibitions, while the men will wrap up a three-game exhibition slate when they face the Hornets at 8 p.m.

After K-State's 79-56 win against Fort Hays State on Sunday, head coach Bruce Weber applauded a few strides his team made from its first exhibition, a 78-62 win over Missouri State, which was picked to win the Missouri Valley.

Collectively, the rebounding and assist numbers improved for K-State. Individually, Dean Wade and Xavier Sneed, who combined for 33 points on 13-of-23 from the field, played closer to the level Weber said he expects. He also complimented the "consistency" of redshirt freshman guard Cartier Diarra, who contributed 11 points, five rebounds, six assists and zero turnovers in his second game back from an ACL injury.

Now, the Wildcats' sixth-year head coach said it's about the newcomers learning and filling roles.

"We just have to get some other guys to figure out what they're good at, what's their role, how they can help us," Weber said, "and if they do that I think we'll have a very, very good team."

Sneed, a sophomore, said he wants his team to put together a more complete game in its final exhibition. After it, the regular season starts with a home game American on Friday, November 10.

"I want to the see the whole team together and just playing well," he said. "We won (against FHSU) but we still had a lot of mishaps on defense and offense as well, so it's about just coming together as a team and straightening those things out before the season really gets kicked off."


K-State's women have been waiting a while to face another team, though not as long as most considering their four-game Europe tour this summer.

Even with the extra work, K-State continues to face the challenge of figuring out how to replace two All-Big 12 players in Kindred Wesemann and Breanna Lewis, both in terms of leadership and production. The Wildcats look to do so by committee, with seven newcomers and five returners on the roster.

"It's a new group," fourth-year head coach Jeff Mittie said, "and that's been both challenging and fun to see how the pieces fit together."

Offensively, the Wildcats expect to be more balanced than a year ago. Senior Shaelyn Martin said this does not mean points will be easier or harder to come by, however.

"It's just different. Our style is going to have to be a little bit different," she said. "Lew was our go-to, get it in the paint, and now we're a little more guard heavy in that situation with returners, but I'd say it's more different, not necessarily more difficult or easier. It's just making a transition to what kind of players we have now."

Mittie said the Wildcats' two freshmen forwards, Mary Lakes and Ashley Ray, are ahead of the curve physically but it would be unrealistic to ask them to reproduce Lewis' shot blocking numbers, which shattered K-State records. Still, he's eager to see how they develop in other important areas.

"Lateral movement, timing, discipline, angles, those will all be a factor for them," he said, as his team comes off its second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. "I'm curious to see how quickly they can grow in that because it's a big part of our defense."

So far, senior Kaylee Page said she's been impressed with how quickly the Wildcats' five freshmen have advanced.

"Ashley Ray is so fun. She loves to bang in the post and it's so fun watching posts who love to bang because you can teach them to rein it in just a tad, but it's hard to teach them to go that hard," Page said of the 6-foot-4 Girard native. "On the guard side, between Alisa (Wiggins), Cymone (Goodrich) and Rachel (Ranke), they've come so far since June. It is so fun to watch them use the things that we work on in drill work and put them into play. It's just been so fun to watch all of them grow up."



We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Corbin McGuire, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.


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