Coach Jody Adams said there was a different feeling coming back from the Christmas break this season for the Wichita State women's basketball team.
Adams has yet to find a leader in her fourth season with the Shockers.
Instead, the Shockers have taken on a leadership-by-committee approach to the season. Adams thinks that is part of the reason why WSU has been able to win five consecutive games away from Koch Arena, where it returns after a month-long break to host Drake tonight.
Wichita State is 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference for the first time since 1999.
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"I call it my council," Adams said. "We have a leadership council of juniors and seniors. We haven't had that strong leader yet, we're still developing that. We talk about it weekly. We have fun with it. We bring our little skulls and set them at the table and we go through what we're going to do this week and how we can be better leaders."
After an abysmal performance at Kansas State on Dec. 7, where the Shockers shot 19 percent in a 60-34 loss, Wichita State has renewed itself.
It started with polishing off the rest of the non-conference schedule, all wins that were expected, but Wichita State has everyone's attention in the Missouri Valley after knocking off defending champion Northern Iowa and Bradley on its road swing last week.
Wichita State moved up to No. 86 in the latest RPI report released by the NCAA, which marks the first time the Shockers have been in the top-100 since 1999.
"They've won five games in a row and they're playing really, really good basketball right now," Drake coach Amy Stephens said. "Going to Wichita is going to be as tough of a place as any to go in and play. We are going to have our hands full."
Wichita State has a chance with this three-game home stretch to match the program's best start in the Valley. WSU has only started 3-0 once, in 1999, and has never won its first four games in the Valley.
"I can't say it's a total package and it's a done deal yet," Adams said. "It's something that now your leaders have to continue to enforce with the younger ones and it becomes a tradition. The leadership becomes a tradition. The expectations become a tradition. That's something we haven't had here at Wichita State, is tradition."