MANHATTAN, KS. (KSNT) – The first women’s basketball Sunflower Showdown of the year is set for Wednesday, Jan. 19.

“Obviously every game in the Big 12 is going to be a challenge and be a good game but this one just means a little bit more,” K-State center Ayoka Lee said.

Lee will be a focal point of the Jayhawks preparation. She leads the Big 12 with 23.5 points per game and ranks second in the conference in rebounding with 10.6 per game. Those marks also rank her sixth and eleventh on the national scale, respectively.

“You’re surprised when she misses. That’s always good,” K-State head women’s basketball coach Jeff Mittie said. “She’s just finishing at such a high, high level.”

K-State boasts multiple wins over ranked opponents and received a spot in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the 2016-17 season on January 10, but they’ve lost two games in a row since then. Most recently the Wildcats suffered their worst defeat yet this year in a 64-45 loss at Texas Tech.

“We got hit in the mouth Saturday,” Mittie said. “We need to bounce back with a good performance on Wednesday.”

KU has also shown signs of high potential early in the year. They entered at 11-3 on the year. Both of the Jayhawks last two games have been against ranked opponents. They beat No. 13 Texas and then lost narrowly to No. 14 Baylor after leading with 25 seconds left in the game.

“We both have good wins under our belt and I’m sure both will fight real hard fgr this one on Wednesday,” Mittie said.

The Jayhawks head coach says they need to put their frustrating loss on Saturday behind them to focus on the rivalry game.

“Of course it’s a rivalry game but they all count the same. You can’t let a very disappointing outcome today turn into a second loss on Wednesday,” KU head women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider said.

The game may count the same in the standings but not in the hearts of fans players, coaches and fans in the state of Kansas.

“It’s the game of the year that you may not be a women’s basketball fan but you hate KU or you hate K-State so it’s a game that you follow,” Mittie said. “[It’s a] fun game to play in, fun game to be a part of. It’s got a lot of history in it, a lot of pride among K-Staters.”

Tipoff in the women’s basketball Sunflower Showdown is set for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night in Bramlage Coliseum.