The bus ride to Springfield was not a tense one for the Wichita State women’s basketball team.
Knowing they were driving to the destination where they can clinch at least a share of their first Missouri Valley Conference title, the Shockers were focused.
Coach Jody Adams didn’t have to give a pep talk or talk about what’s on the line. The last four years have been leading to this.
“They know what’s at stake,” Adams said. “I think they’re excited to be in this position. I would say they’re more focused on our game plan and playing together and playing for each other. We don’t view it as pressure.”
A victory over Missouri State (14-15, 6-11 MVC) would guarantee at least a piece of the MVC title. WSU is tied with Creighton, which plays Southern Illinois on Saturday.
But more importantly the Shockers (20-9 14-3) can secure the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament with a victory. Even if Creighton wins, WSU would win a tiebreaker, with WSU’s road win over Bradley being the trump card.
The Shockers can also set the school record for total wins and conference wins in a season. Four teams share the mark at 20 wins and only the 1999-2000 team accomplished 14 wins in Valley play.
Even with the raised stakes, Adams said WSU did not prepare any differently for the game against Missouri State. Expect the same ferocious defense, she said.
“We believe if we execute the game plan, we’ll have a great shot,” Adams said. “We have to attack offensively and we’ve got to put pressure on them for 40 minutes.”
Wichita State won the first meeting between the teams 74-76 on Jan. 3 in Wichita, a victory that kicked off the Missouri Valley portion of the schedule.