Lankster scores 17 as Wichita State women rout SMU

12/03/2011 12:00 AM

12/04/2011 10:26 AM

Haleigh Lankster was pressed for an answer, for some kind of explanation of the carnage the Wichita State senior had left in her path.

For the first eight minutes of WSU's 63-43 victory over Southern Methodist on Saturday, Lankster was unstoppable. She took what she wanted and scored when she wanted.

Yet, she couldn't clarify exactly what had happened.

"Honestly, when I'm in that zone I really couldn't tell you what happened because it's like a blackout," Lankster said. "I can't really remember that much."

What the 1,879 in attendance at Koch Arena saw was Lankster take the game over on both ends.

The first time she touched the ball, Lankster jab-stepped from the top of the key then coiled around her defender for a lay-in 14 seconds into the game.

" (Coach Jody Adams') first words to me before the game was, 'Get in your zone,' " Lankster said. "That's what I was focused on."

Then there was a 25-second stretch later in the first half where Lankster forced three consecutive SMU turnovers with two resulting in baskets at the other end. Six minutes in, WSU led 15-6 behind Lankster's eight points.

By the second media timeout, Lankster had 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting and nearly single-handedly engineered an 18-0 run that essentially buried SMU. She ended with 17.

"When Haleigh has that focus and she's focused on the right thing, and that right thing is getting deflections and getting steals and playing off her defense, she's the player that we all know she is," Adams said.

Little else was needed after Lankster's streak. Once WSU achieved its largest lead, 30-8 with 5:56 remaining in the half, the game turned into an opportunity for bench players to earn minutes.

Adams used the second half as a tool to discover more about her bench, as all seven substitutes played and the bench totaled 97 minutes.

"We have to grow them and you grow them with your seniors and your juniors," Adams said. "They watch and follow their lead. When these guys go hard and they do the right thing, they try to mimic that. That's why it's so important our leadership is there."

It was a crucial win, snapping a skid that saw the Shockers (3-4) lose four of their last five games and concluded the home non-conference slate.

After returning to their roots of swarming defense generating offense, the Shockers feel better about themselves entering a six-game, month-long road swing.

"It was a Merry Christmas from the Shockers to our fans," Adams said. "Obviously it's a boost to (the players') confidence. As a coach, my confidence is not shaken. I know who they are. I know what they can do. It's just the discipline of doing it day-to-day."

Elliott reaches milestone at home — In Christine Elliott's Wichita homecoming, the South graduate scored a team-high 13 points and became the 19th player in SMU history to score 1,000 career points.

"She's come a long ways," SMU coach Rhonda Rompola said. "It was special for her to be able to play in front of friends and family in her senior year. She's been a great player for us."

SMU (4-4): Simpson 2-8 0-2 4, Elliott 5-6 3-5 13, Filmore 1-6 1-2 4, Johnson 2-3 2-2 6, Mahnesmith 0-9 2-2 2, McKinney 1-6 4-4 6, Brandenburg 1-5 0-0 2, Hives-McCray 1-5 0-0 2, Short 0-3 1-2 1, Singleton 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 13-52 16-27 43.

WICHITA STATE (3-4): Turner 3-6 0-0 6, Gordon 4-6 2-2 10, Sanchez 1-2 0-0 2, Diamond 4-11 0-1 8, Lankster 8-11 0-0 17, Jones 1-2 0-0 2, Henderson 3-7 0-0 8, O'Brien 2-3 0-0 4, Jacobs 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Harden 1-1 4-4 6, Wells 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-52 6-7 63.

Halftime—Wichita State 36, SMU 19. Three-point shooting—SMU 1-7 (Filmore 1-1, Short 0-1, Mahnesmith 0-5), WSU 3-8 (Henderson 2-4, Lankster 1-1, Sanchez 0-1, Diamond 0-2). Rebounds—SMU 35 (Hives-McCray 6), WSU 37 (Diamond 7). Assists—SMU 9 (Mahnesmith 4), WSU 9 (Jones, Henderson 2). Fouls—SMU 12, WSU 23. A—1,879.

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