If you listen to Wichita State women's basketball coach Jody Adams talk about her program for a few minutes, it's easy to sense her excitement about the upcoming season.
And plenty of that excitement stems from Adams' eight-woman recruiting class that wipes the slate clean from the Jane Albright era, although Adams likes to link it to the growth of sophomore Haleigh Lankster.
"She's a totally different player," Adams said. "The difference in one year is amazing."
Last year, Lankster looked to be in the mold of graduated senior Daria Frazier _ an athletic wing player with the ability to slash to the basket or shoot. With limited options, Adams also used Lankster as the team's top perimeter defender.
Now, as one of three returning players from last season' 13-18 team, Lankster must take on another role _ leader.
"She has accepted the challenge that Jody has given her," said senior Ashley Gladden. "I'm excited about what she will bring."
During media day Monday afternoon at Koch Arena, Adams spoke about the newfound athleticism, speed and talent that will be on the court this year for WSU. And, that there is no better player that exemplifies that than Lankster.
"I really challenged her to grow and use her God-given abilities to change some of the things that were undisciplined... to be more of a disciplined player," Adams said.
Lankster's off-season brought plenty of film study with the coaches, picking apart the areas of her game that needed the most improvement.
"Last year, I played a lot on the ball and now I think I'm moving off the ball," Lankster said. "I am more active with my hands and not so much fouling. Just a bigger stance with my hands."
With so many new faces on the court this season, Lankster wants the three returners to fill that role. to be the three returners.
"I wanted to step up and show the new people how we play here at Wichita State," Lankster said. "And how we out-work and out-compete. That's what me, Marisah (Henderson) and (Ashley Gladden) are doing _ leading the way."