The Wichita State women’s basketball team is ready to get back to playing basketball.
It has been a tumultuous past week for the Shockers, beginning with a lackluster effort in a victory over Grambling State that saw coach Jody Adams bench two guards for the majority of the second half and one to not suit up.
Then came the reprimand the coaching staff received from WSU athletic director Eric Sexton on Friday for making players do push-ups on the court during halftime of the game. The following day, Adams announced sophomore guard Molly O’Brien had been suspended, citing a violation of team rules.
Distractions have been piling up, but the players insist their focus hasn’t left Tuesday night’s home game against Kansas State. It will be the first time since 2000 the Shockers have hosted K-State, as the Wildcats return the visit after last season’s 60-34 victory in Manhattan.
“We’re not focused on the media or anything else right now but ourselves,” senior Jessica Diamond said. “We know what we have to do.”
Adams has been pleased with how her veteran group has responded in the midst of everything swirling around them.
“They know when they’re doing the right thing and they know when they don’t,” Adams said. “We just have to figure out what’s the trigger to get us back in the right state of mind.”
The seniors, particularly the four-year players, have been instrumental in ensuring the Shockers don’t let distractions creep in.
“We just have been focusing on being more team-oriented,” senior Chynna Turner said. “Not that we weren’t before, but even more so. We come in with positive attitudes and focus on what the coaches and what we’re saying and not the way we’re saying it. I think we’re all on the same page.”
The 3-4 start to the season isn’t bothering Adams. The Shockers have lost to all four of their quality opponents, but the total margin has been 15 points.
“It would be different if we were being blown out, but we’re not,” Adams said. “It’s a couple of possessions. It’s a couple of players that just need to understand how important each possession is.”
Adams said before the season the non-conference schedule would expose flaws early on. It may have uncovered even more, but Adams is still confident it is strengthening the Shockers for what they hope is their first Missouri Valley title.
“We’re learning from losing right now,” Adams said. “I’ve always said wins are for players and losses are for coaches. It’s tough, but I have an older group and they’ve haven’t put their heads down. They’re fighters.”