Lee ends basketball career at Washburn

A Seaman High graduate, Lee has always known about Washburn, though It wasn’t until 2013 that she became an Ichabod. Lee started her first two college years at Hutchinson Community College. Her freshman year she averaged 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds that helped her team win a championship title and a 30-3 record.

Kara Protasio, [email protected], is a junior mass media major.

As the last regular game of the season approaches, both men’s and women’s basketball teams will honor the seniors as they could potentially be playing their last home games.

For both teams, recognizing the seniors won’t be difficult. This year, the women’s basketball team has Kara Lee as the only senior. 

A Seaman High graduate, Lee has always known about Washburn, though It wasn’t until 2013 that she became an Ichabod. Lee started her first two college years at Hutchinson Community College. Her freshman year she averaged 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds that helped her team win a championship title and a 30-3 record.

As a sophomore, Lee doubled her stats by averaging 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds. Her team won a conference and regional championship and were also the runner ups to the national championship. Lee transferred to the University of Missouri-Kansas City for her junior year, where she played in 27 games. However, she didn’t like the environment here. 

“Hutch and UMKC was hard for me because I’m a home-town person and now that I’m home it’s comforting and stress-free.”

Lee started basketball in the first grade. Her mom enrolled her in the YMCA league in Topeka. She continued to play basketball because of her grandpa, whose love for the game kept her going even when she didn’t want to play.

“I try not to think about things, just to play, that’s what my grandpa used to tell me, just to calm down and play and that’s what I am hoping to do,” said Lee.

“When I got the call that she was coming back home and that she was going to school at Washburn, wanting to know if we needed her, we were definitely excited to have her back home. It’s a rarity for a 6-foot 4-inch kid to come back home and want to be apart of your program.  We are fortunate to be her hometown,” said Head Coach Ron McHenry. 

His assistant coach Brett Herber agrees. 

“She was definitely a good addition to the team considering she was originally going to walk on to the program,” said Herber.

Lee has played 23 games as an Ichabod and averages 17.4 minutes per game. She averages 9.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. 

Tonight, Lee and the Ichabods will take on Fort Hays State University at 5:30 p.m. in Lee Arena. The last time the Ichabods played the Lady Tigers was earlier this month. The Bods lost 62-69 in a close battle at Hays. 

“I really want our team to win. If we can rebound and do some of the good things we did, I know we can have a different outcome this time, especially with senior night I want a win.”

Lee started the game, but only played 11 minutes of the entire game. She scored only five points, but had two steals. Lee fouled twice early in the first half of the game and was pulled from the game. In the second half Lee got into more trouble and fouled out of the game. 

“Obviously we want to have her in the game longer than 11 minutes and have her playing at a high level. She is used to chasing around 6-foot post players and now she is playing against a 6-foot 4-inch kid who’s like her. Now it’s a much better match up for her and this is why she was brought in to do what she does,” said McHenry. 

As for the future, Lee will not be going far from the team. In fact, she will be sitting next to them as the student assistant as she continues to finish her degree. Lee aspires to be a coach or physical education teacher.

“Kara is just a really talented player. The only disappointment is that we don’t have her more than one year because I think she has some really unbelievable tools and talents. She is a great teammate. It’s hard to step in your last year with a brand new team and try to mix personalities. She did great job of doing that,” said McHenry.