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Shockers trounce Drake, improve to 5-0 in MVC

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, at 7:19 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 6:22 p.m.

The formula for success under Jody Adams has never factored in a reliable offense.

It used to be, for the first five years under Adams, WSU was content with whatever it could squeeze out of its offense and gamble that its defense was good enough to win the game.

But now the defense has become so suppressive that it has actually transformed WSU into a dynamic offensive team, as it exhibited in an 88-55 victory over Drake at Koch Arena on Monday afternoon.

Wichita State improved to 14-2 overall and 5-0 in the Missouri Valley, while extending its program-best winning streak to 13 games.

“We put a lot of pressure on our defense the past few years because we didn’t have the arsenal that we have now,” Adams said. “We’ve lived off our defense in the past, so it’s nice to begin to see it equal out.”

In the past five years, Adams’ teams haven’t strayed far from their combined average of 62.3 points per game. Through 16 games this season, WSU is scoring exactly 73 points per game, which would be the highest scoring average since the 1994-1995 team averaged 73.1.

And this team’s defense has not suffered; in fact it has not budged, as it still tops in the Missouri Valley by allowing just over 55 points per game.

“We’re still a defensive-oriented team,” WSU junior Alex Harden said. “I feel like a lot of the turnovers we’re causing now are leading to layups. Before we had a lot of turnovers, but they wouldn’t always lead to points. Now we’re getting out in transition and hitting shots from the outside.”

That dominance was on display early Monday, as the Shockers forced Drake turnovers on eight of its first 10 possessions to build a 14-0 lead.

“When you play against that type of pressure and you know what you’re about to get,” Adams said, “there’s no doubt it takes you awhile to adjust.”

In case of Drake, it took an entire 20 minutes to figure out the Shockers.

WSU never relented after the 14-0 onslaught. An 11-2 run pushed the lead to 27-8, which was followed abruptly by a 13-0 run that gave the Shockers a 30-point lead after 15 minutes. WSU led 49-22 at halftime.

The Shockers hit shots from all over the floor, as Harden and Michaela Dapprich combined to hit five three-pointers, while Jamillah Bonner, Kelsey Jacobs, and Michelle Price finished in the paint.

“It allowed us to show a complete game,” Harden said. “That’s something we’ve been looking to show to everybody.”

But the offensive highlights didn’t end there. Alie Decker, who has been mired in a shooting slump this season, caught fire and hit three three-pointers in a row and finished with a season-high 17 points off the bench on 7-of-9 shooting.

“I went on a spell there for a while and I really relied on my teammates to help me keep my head up,” Decker said. “They showed me that they have my back, no matter whether it goes in or out. So knowing that, it just relieves a lot of pressure.”

Harden finished with 21 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and three steals, while Dapprich (15 points, six rebounds), Bonner (13 points), and Jacobs (seven points, seven assists, four steals) had excellent games for WSU, which shot 49.3 percent for the game.

Finally, WSU’s offense is catching up. And on a day when the Shockers received a vote in the Associated Press Top 25.

“It was explosive,” Adams said, “on both sides of the ball.”

DRAKE (7-10, 1-5): Wendell 4-8 2-3 10, Clark 2-10 4-8 9, Heap 2-4 0-0 4, Marschner 2-4 0-1 4, Bartow 2-7 1-2 5, Grenfell 2-4 2-4 6, Specht 0-1 0-0 0, Donahue 0-0 0-0 0, Ingle 4-8 3-5 13, Lutes 1-2 2-4 4. Totals 19-48 14-27 55.

WICHITA STATE (14-2, 5-0): Bonner 5-15 2-2 13, Jacobs 3-4 1-2 7, Harden 8-16 2-2 21, Price 2-6 2-3 6, Mi. Dapprich 6-10 0-0 15, White 1-3 2-2 4, Agnello 0-0 0-0 0, Decker 7-9 0-0 17, Jones 1-1 0-1 2, Preston 1-5 0-0 3, Chapel 0-0 0-0 0, Mo. Dapprich 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-69 9-12 88.

Halftime—WSU 49, DU 22. Three-point shooting—DU 3-21 (Ingle 2-5, Clark 1-6, Wendell 0-1, Marschner 0-1, Lutes 0-1, Heap 0-2, Grenfell 0-2), WSU 11-24 (Harden 3-4, Decker 3-5, Mi. Dapprich 3-6, Bonner 1-4, Preston 1-5). Rebounds—DU 39 (Bartow 8), WSU 34 (Harden, Mi. Dapprich 6). Assists—DU 10 (Clark 3), WSU 22 (Harden 8). Fouls—DU 18, WSU 26. A—2,532.

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