Coach Jody Adams etched her name in the Wichita State womens basketball record books with a quintessential Jody Adams game a 85-66 victory over Illinois State on Friday night at Koch Arena.
Wichita State showed no residual effects from its first loss in 21 games, dismantling the Redbirds piece by piece and forcing a season-high 30 turnovers.
Adams, in her sixth season, surpassed Linda Hargrove as the winningest coach at Wichita State as she logged her 114th career victory.
We got back to business, Adams said. And our business is playing some great defense.
Wichita State was so efficient in generating turnovers from its full-court press that it didnt need to do anything else well. The Shockers finished shooting 52.4 percent from the field, but that figure swelled by lay-ups created by turnovers near ISUs basket.
Even though Illinois State made its first seven three-pointers, all in the first half, WSU was able to swallow that output by making sure that was the only source of offense. While the Redbirds were 7 of 9 beyond the arc, they were 2 of 13 inside it.
The final blow was delivered early in the second half when the Shockers engineered an 11-0 run in a 5-minute span, forcing turnovers on seven of nine ISU possessions.
We did something new we havent been doing the past few games and it was just called moving, Adams said.
In the first 14 minutes and 50 seconds of the second half, when WSU did not relent until it built a 76-49 lead, the Shockers forced more turnovers (17) than it allowed points (16).
While Adams was more blunt about what led to the turnaround, the players cited the loss at Northern Iowa as their motivation.
It sparked a fire under us, said junior Alex Harden, who became the 19th player in WSU history to reach the 1,000-point milestone with a game-high 20 points. It allowed us to really want and push ourselves to our limits. Us flying around, its hard to get by. So the biggest thing for us was working for each other.
There was one span in the second half when WSU forced three turnovers in less than a minute. Players said that they thrive when the turnovers mount for the other team.
It keeps us motivated to keep going and going and going, said Jamillah Bonner. We dont let up.
And for Adams, watching it all unfold is a thing of beauty. When she recruited each of these players to come to WSU, this was how she intended for them to play.
Wichita State scored 34 points off turnovers with Harden (8 steals) feasting on lob passes forced by Michelle Price (15 points, 7 rebounds) and Kelsey Jacobs. When Harden wasnt there for the steal, Bonner or Michaela Dapprich was.
For the first time in February, Wichita State played connected on the court and looked like the team that dominated the Valley in the first half of the schedule.
I know how hard it is to press the way we press and come up with the results, Adams said. I think (the players) know what it does to their opponent, to not even get it past the free-throw line on our end of the court. They understand what pressure does.
It was just really great to see them moving around and playing together. When they play together, theyre just an unbelievable team.
Wichita State took a step closer to defending its Missouri Valley regular season championship, as it holds a three-game lead on Northern Iowa with four to play.
The Shockers have a chance on Sunday, with a win against Indiana State, to clinch at least a share of the title.
But on this night, Wichita State wanted to stamp out any inkling that it was vulnerable. It wanted to show even without its undefeated record it is every bit as formidable.
Just because we lost doesnt mean we changed, Price said. Were still the same team. (The loss) was a reality check and we got it. Now we just have to get back to playing our game.
ILLINOIS STATE (7-16): Nelson 4-10 5-7 14, Hall 0-5 0-0 0, Smith 3-7 0-0 9, Seberger 2-2 1-2 5, Winge 5-6 0-0 12, Crump 2-3 1-4 5, Foley 2-2 2-2 7, Bess 1-1 1-3 3, Stewart 2-6 3-5 7, Gebhardt 0-1 1-2 1, Freeman 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 22-44 14-25 66.
WICHITA STATE (22-3): Bonner 7-12 4-4 21, Jacobs 2-7 0-0 4, Harden 9-16 2-2 20, Price 7-10 1-2 15, Mi. Dapprich 3-5 2-3 9, White 1-3 0-0 2, Agnello 0-0 1-2 1, Decker 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 1-2 1, Preston 0-1 0-0 0, Chapel 2-5 2-4 6, Mo. Dapprich 2-2 0-0 6. Totals 33-63 13-19 85.
HalftimeWichita State 40, Illinois State 33. Three-point shootingISU 8-11 (Smith 3-5, Winge 2-2, Nelson 1-1, Foley 1-1, Freeman 1-1, Hall 0-1), WSU 6-14 (Bonner 3-7, Mo. Dapprich 2-2, Mi. Dapprich 1-2, Harden 0-1, Decker 0-2). ReboundsISU 34 (Smith 5), WSU 31 (Price 7). AssistsISU 9 (Winge, Stewart 3), WSU 17 (Harden 7). FoulsISU 20, WSU 20. A2,227.