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Shocker women open with exhibition win over NAIA foe

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, at 7:15 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, at 7:06 a.m.

No one in gold was winning a jump shot competition on Sunday in the first of two exhibition games for the Wichita State women’s basketball team at Koch Arena.

The Shockers put on a display of the various ways to miss outside shots against Central Methodist and had to fall back on their athletic superiority over an NAIA opponent in Sunday’s 63-42 victory.

Normally a performance like this would be filed away as a side effect of the nerves the season’s first game brings. But it irked coach Jody Adams how many of the 48 Shocker misses were unguarded.

“I’m going to blame it on the fact that we haven’t been in the gym enough,” Adams said. “We’re not ready to take the shot. Feet not ready, not set. And mentally not ready to knock it down.”

Open shots from 15 feet and beyond were not only available against Central Methodist, but encouraged by the Eagles. When CMU wasn’t playing a sagging man defense, all it took was a quick ball reversal against its zone to free up an open corner shot for WSU.

Instead of the swishes the Shockers promised were coming before the season with a new cast of sharpshooters, clangs were the most popular sound on Sunday — WSU shot 34 percent.

“A lot of things were rushed today,” WSU junior Alex Harden said. “A lot of nerves and jitters. A lot of people it was their first time ever playing in college, so it was a little of that and then the ball just wasn’t falling. We’ll get in the gym and they’ll start to fall.”

The positive to come out of the game was the Shockers may not need a good shooting performance every game with a defense that provided them more than enough buffer on Sunday.

Newcomer Jamillah Bonner lived up to her reputation as a tenacious defender, which presents a tantalizing future of terrorizing ball handlers alongside Harden.

“Off the ball, I’d be pretty excited,” Adams said of the three others on the court. “More than likely, somebody is going to throw the ball right into my hands.”

The Shockers forced CMU into 34 turnovers, which helped bring their offense to life in transition. Even when WSU missed, it finished with 19 offensive rebounds and did the majority of its scoring off put-backs and steals.

Bonner’s transition to a full-time point guard is still a work-in-progress, but her work off the ball was most impressive. She scored a game-high 20 points with half of those points created by either her own steal or offensive rebound.

Harden, who had seven steals and eight rebounds, thinks the partnership with Bonner in the backcourt could be a boon for a Shockers’ squad breaking in seven newcomers this season.

“It could be really good,” Harden said. “It helps out everyone else because all they have to do is be in those lanes and get the steals. Eventually we’ll get all the babies to get in and they’ll get some steals, too.”

The only other stable presence on offense was redshirt senior Michelle Price, who turned in a consistent effort that led to 15 points and five rebounds.

But that was it offensively for the Shockers, as the nine others beside Bonner, Price, and Harden combined to shoot 7 for 38, or just over 18 percent from the field.

It was a performance that secured the whereabouts for all of the Shockers until their next exhibition, next Sunday against Southwest Baptist.

“We’ll be in the gym,” Price said. “It just wasn’t our day (Sunday). We’re going to knock down those shots. We’ll be fine.”

CENTRAL METHODIST: Williams 3-7 5-7 11, Lewis 0-1 1-2 1, Vetter 4-9 1-2 11, Gathercole 1-7 0-0 2, Cornelison 2-4 0-0 4, Stankovic 1-3 1-4 4, Robinson 2-3 0-0 5, Bilen 0-0 0-0 0, Bozicek 0-1 0-0 0, Ellis 1-4 0-0 2, Pannier 1-3 0-1 2, Copeland 0-0 0-0 0, Durst 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-43 8-16 42.

WICHITA STATE: Bonner 7-12 5-6 20, Decker 1-8 2-2 5, Harden 5-14 0-0 10, Price 6-9 3-4 15, Mi. Dapprich 1-5 0-0 2, White 1-6 0-0 2, Jacobs 1-3 0-1 2, Agnello 2-6 1-4 5, Jones 1-1 0-0 2, Preston 0-3 0-0 0, Chapel 0-4 0-0 0, Mo. Dapprich 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-73 11-19.

Halftime—Wichita State 37, Central Methodist 19. Three-point shooting—CMU 4-21 (Vetter 2-7, Stankovic 1-1, Robinson 1-2, Bozicek 0-1, Ellis 0-1, Durst 0-1, Pannier 0-2, Gathercole 0-6), WSU 2-10 (Bonner 1-1, Decker 1-6, Preston 0-1, Mi. Dapprich 0-2). Rebounds_CMU 47 (Cornelison 12), WSU 39 (Harden 8). Assists—CMU 8 (Robinson 3), WSU 11 (Harden 3). Fouls—CMU 18, WSU 18. A—1,342.

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