Three games in Cancun, Mexico, and a neutral-site matchup against Arizona State highlight a Kansas State women’s nonconference basketball schedule that coach Jeff Mittie believes could be the most difficult of his tenure with the Wildcats.
K-State, led by senior guard Kayla Goth and 6-foot-4 Topeka junior Peyton Williams, will play nine nonconference games against teams that reached the postseason in 2017-18, including five against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament (Syracuse, DePaul, Princeton, Little Rock and Arizona State).
“When you put these schedules together, it is a two-year process,” said Mittie, who is beginning his fifth season at K-State. “We feel like we have a good, talented roster, and this schedule reflects that. It looks like it has the potential to be the toughest nonconference schedule we have played since we got here.”
Three of K-State’s five games against 2018 NCAA qualifiers will be played Nov. 22-24 in the Cancun Challenge at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. The Wildcats will face Syracuse at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 22, DePaul at 11 a.m. Nov. 23 and Princeton at 11 a.m. Nov. 24.
After hosting Vanderbilt on Dec. 2 as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and Lamar on Dec. 5, K-State will play Dec. 8 at Little Rock and travel Dec. 16 to La Crosse, Wis., to square off against Arizona State.
The noncon slate concludes with home games against Central Arkansas on Dec. 20 and Northern Iowa on Dec. 29.
K-State opens with five straight home dates, including exhibitions against Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State on Nov. 2 and Nov. 5, respectively. The Wildcats then welcome Omaha on Nov. 12, North Texas on Nov. 16 and UMKC on Nov. 18 before departing for Cancun.
The contest against UMKC will pit Mittie and the Wildcats against former K-State assistant Jacie Hoyt, now the Kangaroos’ head coach, and former K-State All-Big 12 player Kindred Wesemann, an assistant to Hoyt.
The schedule should test a roster that includes six sophomores and four incoming freshmen, including Manhattan standout and Topeka Capital-Journal All-Stater Christianna Carr.
“This is our youngest team, but I think this roster has a good balance of experienced players and talented newcomers to handle this type of schedule,” Mittie said.