MANHATTAN — The Kansas State women’s basketball team is in the middle of one of the strangest transitions coach Deb Patterson can remember.
On one hand, the Wildcats are dealing with the loss of Brittany Chambers, one of the program’s best scorers.
On the other, the Wildcats are finally healthy again. A year ago, they were so decimated by injuries they could hard barely put a starting five on the court for the WNIT.
It’s a mixture that leaves them excited and hesitant about the upcoming season all at the same time.
“Last year was a lot of suffering from injuries and only having seven players,” junior Haley Texada said. “But having the majority of the team be young and moving on without your best two players makes it hard to think about the future.”
Think about the future they must, though.
They were picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 preseason poll, and if they have any shot at exceeding that low expectation, a group of veteran-yet-unproven players will have to lead the way.
Chambers averaged 21 points last season. Patterson will lean on seniors Katya Leick, Chantay Caron and Ashlynn Knoll to point the offense in a new direction. But she may depend on Texada, who averaged 11.8 points a year ago, the most.
“They are building expectations and an understanding of what hard work and great character can bring to the table,” Patterson said. “I think that lives through players like Haley Texada.”
Texada will be asked to play several positions. She says she is prepared to play either guard position as well as small forward. That makes no difference to her.
She has been impressed with her teammates, and thinks she can fit in well with different lineups.
The Wildcats head into the season with the advantage of playing together in Italy over the summer. It was there, overseas, that they grew close and learned each others’ games.
The dynamics are much different than they were a year ago, but K-State put that in the past long ago.
“That trip got all of us ready and prepared us for something so much more this upcoming season,” Texada said. “A lot of us are just excited about what we can do this season. The work we have put in so far is unbelievable.”