The Wichita State women's basketball team has an opportunity to break new ground today when it plays host to Creighton for its fourth Missouri Valley Conference game.
Only once before have the Shockers won their first three conference games, and no team in the program's 34-year history has started league play 4-0.
Those are the stakes in the history books for WSU, yet it exists only as a side note for the team.
"It's an expectation," senior Alicia Sanchez said. "We plan on going undefeated in the Valley, so going 4-0 is just another step in that goal. We value it, but to us it's just another game that we have to win."
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At points this season, that statement would have seemed preposterous. WSU started the season 3-5, but since winning 69-56 at Texas-San Antonio on Dec. 9 it has won its last six games.
"We started playing together," senior Haleigh Lankster said. "You could see more chemistry in us. Our defense is coming together, and so is our offense. We're beginning to play inside-out."
That's been the biggest emphasis from coach Jody Adams. After a poor shooting performance in a loss to Kansas State on Dec. 7, Adams said she put a restriction on who can take three-pointers.
"You're not allowed to take the three unless you're at a certain percentage," Adams said. "Ever since we cut the three out and we started getting post touches and ball reversals, we've been winning ball games."
Through the first three Valley games, the Shockers are 7 of 16 from three-point land.
"We don't want to take a shot until there's been two touches — one at the block and one in the high post," Adams said. "That means the ball has to reverse at least twice. We're going to make people play defense on us."
Defense will be on display today against Creighton, which comes to Koch Arena on a two-game skid. Both teams emphasize defense.
"It will be 94 feet, both teams," Adams said. "They're probably the best defensive team, right there with us in the Valley. They will pressure us 94 feet, and that's what we'll do, too.
"It will be interesting, but my money is here on these guys... if I was allowed to bet."