After last year’s mid-season transfer, Tiffany Brooks is traveling back to Manhattan.
Tonight, the Missouri women’s basketball team (7-6, 1-1) takes on No.23-ranked Kansas State (10-3, 1-1) at 7 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum.
Brooks, a 5-foot-11, sophomore guard, will face her former team for the first time since transferring to Missouri in January, 2004.
She competed in four games for the Wildcats, playing a total of 16 minutes and averaging two points. Brooks, though, has become a vital part of Missouri’s team.
“It’s not any secret we want to get the ball to Tiffany,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said.
Brooks’ recent impact was most evident in Missouri’s 81-74 loss to Nebraska on Saturday.
Brooks had a break-out performance scoring 30 points and grabbing five rebounds. She took over the game by repeatedly driving down the lane.
“Obviously, that’s a big emphasis for us, finding ways for her to score,” Stein said.
In her first five games for Missouri, Brooks is averaging 15.4 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Missouri is hitting the road after its home loss to Nebraska ended a three-game win streak.
Kansas State lost its first conference game on Jan. 5 against Kansas State, but turned around to beat Kansas 63-45 on Saturday.
Missouri played well against Nebraska, but Stein said other players needed to step-up.
“We needed somebody else to have kind of a bigger game,” Stein said after the loss to Nebraska.
Kansas State coach Deb Patterson relies on her trio of seniors — Kendra Wecker, Laurie Koehn and Megan Mahoney — for stability, but one stands out above the rest.
Wecker paces the Wildcats. Wecker, a 5-foot-11 forward, was a preseason candidate for the John R. Wooden and Naismith Player of the Year award.
Wecker and Kansas State went into the season without without Nicole Ohlde, a 6-foot-5 center who averaged 19.0 points and seven rebounds in conference play last season as a senior.
Wecker stepped up in Ohlde’s absence. She is averaging team-highs in both points and rebounds with 20.7 and 9.2.
Missouri’s perimeter defense will have to be ready for Koehn, a 5-foot-8 guard.
She is the Big 12 Conference and Kansas State all-time leader in 3-pointers with 394 and has averaged 12.2 points this season.
Teammate Mahoney, a 6-foot guard/forward, is scoring 11.2 points and pulling down 6.3 rebounds a game.
“We’ve got to have an inside presence to be effective,” Stein said.
Missouri lost that presence against Nebraska when center Christelle N’Garsanet fouled out with five minutes left.
N’Garsanet is averaging 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. She and teammate LaToya Bond, who is averaging 12.5 points, only combined for 16 points against Nebraska.
Missouri’s bench must become a factor. The Tigers’ Carlynn Savant playing well off the bench. Savant scored 14 points and had nine rebounds against Nebraska.
Without Savant’s points, Missouri’s bench only contributed seven points.