Numbers never lie.
What the Wichita State women’s basketball team accomplished Sunday afternoon in their second-and-final exhibition at Koch Arena was impressive. It was another dismantling of an Division II squad, this time Central Oklahoma by the score of 69-33.
The Shockers pestered their opposition into more turnovers (36) than they allowed in points. The Bronchos, who averaged 75 points last season, mustered nine by halftime.
But it’s the story the numbers don’t tell that has coach Jody Adams worried.
“I’m not very happy with our offensive execution in the halfcourt,” Adams said. “I thought there were some things Central Oklahoma did to expose us and what we don’t want to do.”
Adams still hasn’t found a ballhandler to turn the offense over to completely. Jessica Diamond, Jasmine Jones and Alex Harden is the cast to choose from and while they all provide their own advantages, none are natural point guards.
Diamond is the best option, but the All-Valley pick started the game on the bench.
Jones and Harden finished with a combined 11 turnovers and were “below-average” to Adams. Wichita State turned the ball over 24 times.
Another concern was the Shockers’ execution of their new defensive philosophy. Adams wants perimeter defenders to pressure outside the arc and use the team’s athleticism to try to pick off passes and rushed shots.
But the strategy leaves the team vulnerable to backdoor cuts. It wasn’t noticeable Sunday because Central Oklahoma missed 22 shots from within eight feet of the basket, but it will be if the same transpires in Baton Rouge next Sunday in the season-opener at LSU.
“We should absorb it with our help-side (defense),” Adams said. “We should be taking charges there. Those are areas we have to get better at.”
The one area that should have appeased Adams, rebounding, didn’t. She wasn’t much impressed with the Shockers owning a 46-27 advantage on the glass.
“We’re 6-foot-2 and they’re 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10,” she said. “And we jump high.”
It seemed strange so little positives were drawn from a 36-point victory.
But in a season with title aspirations, the Shockers are not settling for their old standards. Adams has raised everything this season — expectations, intensity and accountability.
Players were unavailable for comment after the game.
“I like what I saw in the locker room,” Adams said. “I liked the words I heard from our upperclassmen. I liked the words from our coaching staff.”
And maybe that was the best thing that can be taken away from the game. It wasn’t how WSU played, but how it responded afterward.
“Not we just have to have a coachable team,” Adams said. “I think they understand what it takes. Now it’s whether they want to go through what it takes and pay the price. It’s a huge price
tag for being a successful program.”
Halftime—WSU 35, UCO 9. 3-point shooting—UCO 0-6 (Bryan 0-2, Morgan 0-2, Dennis 0-2, WSU 1-9 (Decker 1-3, Harden 0-1, Diamond 0-1, Fountaine 0-1, Jones 0-3). Rebounds—UCO 27 (Harper 7), WSU 46 (Gordon 13). Assists—UCO 7 (Ward 2), WSU 14 (Harden 5). Fouls—UCO 19, WSU 16. A—1,504.