Wichita State women’s basketball coach Jody Adams has been adamant throughout the season that this team is made up of a different structure than its predecessor.
But Adams doesn’t think it has anything to do with the Shockers’ win over Illinois State on Friday. It was in that exact game that last season’s team lost its first game in Missouri Valley play, and then skidded to a 5-6 finish.
So, yes, this team is different in that it closed the deal against Illinois State, improving to 8-0 in conference play, and looks to make it a clean sweep of the first half of Valley play against Indiana State on Sunday at Koch Arena. But it was different before that game was ever played.
“Last year we didn’t know how to handle success,” Adams said. “This year I have phenomenal leaders, (seniors) Jessie (Diamond) and Chynna (Turner) and Jaz (Gordon). We understand the target is on our back and we have to bring our ‘A’ game and make A’s in every part of the game to continue to win.”
It’s not hard to figure out why this team has jelled.
“There’s a lot of seniors on this team and this is the last time we’ll all get to go out there and play,” said Darice Fountaine, one of six seniors on roster.
The Shockers looked like they were still in search of their identity entering Valley play with a 6-6 record, but they always believed they knew themselves even through the losing.
“We respond much better,” Diamond said. “We’re able to finish the games now.”
Wichita State lost five of its non-conference games by 5 points or fewer. The Shockers have turned around to win three games in the Valley by the same margin.
“I think you’re beginning to see piece-by-piece come together for us,” Adams said. “And there’s still some pieces there that we have to put together. I’m glad we’re not that perfect team yet. I want to be that perfect team rolling into the tournament.”