Starting Five

Kansas State’s Leticia Romero leads Big 12 freshmen in scoring

Updated: 2014-02-12T05:10:12Z

By KATHLEEN GIER

The Kansas City Star

As if taking over a starting guard spot as a freshman in the Big 12 is not a big enough challenge, Kansas State’s Leticia Romero has done it while adjusting to life six time zones away from home.

Romero, a native of Las Palmas, Spain, has had to improve her English, begrudgingly get used to the Kansas winter and learn the nuances of the American game, but she’s doing it gracefully so far.

“My first goal when I came here was to adapt to all of that, and I think that I’ve been doing pretty well,” Romero said. “My main goal is to help the team and to win games, and I am sure that we will.”

Romero leads the Wildcats with 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Her points and assists are also first among Big 12 freshmen, which has helped her win four conference freshman-of-the-week honors. She is the first K-State freshman and first in Division I this season to record more than 300 points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists.

“The coaches have given me a lot of confidence to play, and that has made my play a lot easier,” Romero said. “I feel like I am learning every day and I am playing harder because when I first came I wasn’t used to that kind of physicality. In Europe, it’s pretty different, but I am getting better in practices.”

Prior to coming to Kansas State, Romero played for two different Spanish national teams last summer. She is a candidate for the 2013 FIBA Europe Young Women’s Player of the Year.

No. 17 North Carolina at No. 10 North Carolina State, 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The Tar Heels won the first matchup 79-70, but the Wolfpack have won seven of their last eight, including an upset over No. 8 Maryland.

Kansas junior guard Natalie Knight has shot 50 percent or better from beyond the three-point arc in her last three games. She went six for nine against Oklahoma on Sunday and is sixth in the Big 12 in three-point shooting at 40 percent.

With 14 points against Georgia, Mississippi senior Valencia McFarland became the seventh Rebel to record 1,500 career points. She has recorded double-doubles in her last two games.

Blue Springs South graduate and Johnson County Community College sophomore forward Kariel Hutt was chosen as the NJCAA Division II women’s basketball player of the week for games Jan. 27 through Feb. 2.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com. Follow her at twitter.com/kgier.

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