The Wichita State women’s basketball team is very well aware of its one-game lead in the Missouri Valley Conference race. The Shockers are 11-2 in the conference and one game ahead of Creighton after splitting the season series with the Bluejays.
But WSU isn’t focused on just winning the first conference title in program history. Coach Jody Adams is still more concerned about the improvement of WSU entering the final stretch of the season, which begins Thursday at home against Evansville (8-15, 6-6 MVC).
“You talk about the inch of improvement you can make as an individual and the inch of improvement you can make as a team,” Adams said. “If we take care of the details in February, then that will put us where we need to be and where we deserve to be.”
After being in an almost identical situation last season and shriveling in the final games, Adams says WSU has learned valuable lessons from past failures.
The biggest difference, in Adams’ mind, is the leadership from the trio of four-year seniors in Jessica Diamond, Chynna Turner and Jazimen Gordon.
“You see a lot of difference in the leadership,” Adams said. “We found out last year the good, the bad, and the indifferent. What we’ve done is learned what was useful and what wasn’t useful.
“I think there’s a much better understanding this time around of winning and what we have to do.”
Against Evansville, that will be to keep up a defense that is on pace to set the school record again. After holding teams to a tick above 58 points last season, WSU is allowing 53.4 points per contest this season.
In the first game withthe Aces this season, a 49-45 WSU win, the game was halted to a crawl by Evansville. That’s to be expected again, but this time the Shockers are aiming at trying to get more points in transition, where Adams has charted WSU shooting 65 percent this season.
“People have tried to hold us into a half-court game and we’re focused on getting better there,” Adams said. “But when we’ve been at our best, we’ve been playing off one another defensively. There just hasn’t been any glitches and that’s when we get in transition the most.”
As Wichita State plays its final two home games of the season this weekend, the team realizes the importance of defending its home court and knows exactly how it will happen.
“I’m really proud of what this team has done so far and I think there’s more out there for us,” Adams said. “It will take a true team effort if something special happens. Everybody will have to be on the same pace, the same track.”