Last season, the Wichita State women’s basketball team enjoyed a 10-game winning streak that began , near the end of its non-conference schedule.
The streak matched the program’s best in history, but it wasn’t as beneficial as some might think. Coach Jody Adams thinks WSU’s flaws were masked and since the wins kept coming, the team was hesitant to change its ways.
This season Adams wants to identify the Shockers’ weaknesses before conference play starts. She will get her wish this afternoon when WSU opens its season on the road at LSU, in the return game of a home-and-home series.
“With our non-conference schedule the way it is, it’s going to expose a lot,” Adams said. “You’re not only bettering players’ skill sets, you’re also bettering players’ mind sets. That’s one of the things we’ll continue to do in practices and hold them accountable.”
Even if Wichita State takes its lumps early in the season, Adams is effectively going all-in on preparing the Shockers to win in March.
Early concerns have been ball handling, rebounding and free-throw shooting. The Shockers also rehauled their defensive scheme in the offseason and it will likely take time to gel.
“You put your players in these types of situations to expose some of those things,” Adams said. “That’s why we bring in guys to practice. It exposes you early. It challenges you.”
The connection between LSU and the Shockers comes through the coaches — LSU coach Nikki Caldwell and Adams both played on Pat Summitt’s 1991 national championship team at Tennessee.
Last season, the Shockers nearly pulled off the upset at home, taking LSU down to the wire but eventually losing 64-56.
Adams was not satisfied with WSU’s performance in a 69-33 exhibition win over Central Oklahoma last week, but was encouraged by a week’s worth of practice.
“Great teams rebound from whatever it was to cause them the issues and figure it out,” Adams said. “We need a confident walking in, not one with their head between their tails. That doesn’t work in poor program. I like kids that have an edge.”