KU, K-State women look to build off NCAA Tournament wins

Kansas State women's basketball speaks to the media during Tuesday's Big 12 Tipoff.
Kansas State women's basketball speaks to the media during Tuesday's Big 12 Tipoff.(Brandon Zenner)
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 9:03 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KWCH) - The coaches of the Big 12 expect big things from the Kansas and Kansas State women in 2022-23.

The Jayhawks were selected fifth in the preseason coaches poll, one spot ahead of the Wildcats. Both teams were selected to the NCAA Tournament and earned first-round wins a season ago. Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly, whose Cyclones are ranked 8th in the nation and picked to win the Big 12, said that six teams from his conference were worthy of top-20 rankings.

“There’s a lot of buzz in the state around both programs,” Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider said.

Kansas returns four starters and 11 players overall from last year’s team, which finished 21-10 and placed fifth in the Big 12 at 11-7. Led by Big 12 Coach of the Year Brandon Schneider, the Jayhawks defeated Georgia Tech 77-58 to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Three Jayhawks earned Preseason All-Big 12 selections on Wednesday as senior guard Holly Kersgieter was selected to the team while senior guard Zakiyah Franklin and senior center Taiyanna Jackson received honorable mention.

Schenider told the crowd at Late Night At The Phog that he expects his team to compete for a Big 12 title, which is only an attitude the players say reflects what they practice.

“Last year, it was more internally we talked about it, like just standards that we have within our team that no one really knew about because people didn’t expect us to do that last year, what we did,” senior guard Holly Kersgieter said.

“It was pretty much just him putting everyone on notice,” senior guard Zakiyah Franklin said. “We talk about it every day. That’s our goal. We walk in the building (and) that’s on our mind all the time.”

Kansas State went 20-13 last year and defeated Washington State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. They are led by the sophomore trio of Brylee Glenn, Jaelyn Glenn and Serena Sundell, a preseason All-Big 12 selection. The Wildcats enter the year looking to fill the void of All-American center Ayoka Lee, who underwent season-ending surgery in August

“I can’t speak enough about kind of the growth that we all experienced last year and because I was a high school senior coming into Big 12 basketball,” Sundell said.

“They’ve been through virtually every type of experience they can, and they played significant minutes,” head coach Jeff Mittie said.

Kansas State begins Oct. 31 with an exhibition against Fort Hays State, officially opening the season Nov. 7 against Central Arkansas at Bramlage Coliseum. KU gets underway Nov. 9 against Jacksonville at Allen Fieldhouse.