There must be a curse on 10-game winning streaks for the Wichita State women’s basketball team.
The Shockers, undefeated in the Missouri Valley Conference, were poised to become the first team in school history to win 11 in a row until Bradley, a high-scoring but below-average team, beat WSU 75-55 Sunday at Koch Arena.
It’s the first loss in conference for WSU. The Shockers maintained a two-game cushion on Creighton in the standings after the Bluejays lost at Illinois State on Sunday.
After stringing together 10 games of consistency, the Shockers relapsed in perhaps their worst defensive performance this season. Bradley’s 75 points was the most allowed by WSU this season and it was the first time since Jan. 3 WSU allowed more than 59 points.
“Mentally tough teams are the teams you see in March,” coach Jody Adams said. “It’s all about this team getting together and saying we are going to be mentally tough. You either step up the next game or you don’t, it’s a choice you make.”
Wichita State ascended to the top of the Valley because of its ability to prevent opponents from driving to the basket. Bradley set up its own freeway straight to the basket, especially in the second half when it drove and kicked out for five three-pointers and shot 54 percent.
Chynna Turner returned to the WSU lineup Sunday after missing two games; Kelsey Jacobs and Jazimen Gordon have also missed time recently.
“There are some individuals that have to get their mentality right,” Adams said. “The film is out there. It’s in black and white. It’s up to you to make the choice to change it and make somebody else respect you in a different way. I think there’s some individuals that need to flip that switch and get back to some old habits instead of having one foot in and one foot out.”
Bradley’s Katie Yohn, who was at the root of most of WSU’s problems, scored on an easy lay-up to begin the game. Yohn finished with 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting and added 10 boards.
“We definitely did not come with the same intensity we usually have,” said senior Jessica Diamond, who shot 4 of 15 and scored 10 points. “The game is in the past now. What this team has to do is get back to practice, refocus and get back to what we’re good at and that’s playing defense.”
The Shockers were within three, trailing 50-47, with 8:36 remaining in the game.
But the Braves’ trapping defense had Wichita State’s offense in a frenzy the entire game. The Shockers never strung together much of a run and committed 17 turnovers. Bradley ended the game on a 25-8 run.
“We were just rushing,” said WSU’s Alex Harden, who had 11 points, 12 rebounds and six assists but also six turnovers. “We saw people and just panicked instead of taking our time and attacking or making the open pass.”
Typically after weekend series, Adams gives her team Monday off from practice. Players use that time to hold a weekly meeting.
What will the seniors say after their winning streak came to such an abrupt halt?
“We’ll call out people who have not been showing up or been slacking,” Diamond said. “But as a whole, I don’t think pointing fingers is going to solve it. We need to talk about getting back together and trusting each other and doing the things that got us here in the first place.”
Adams is confident when the meeting is adjourned, WSU is will be back on the right path.
“I’ll have a different team on Tuesday, I’ll guarantee you that,” Adams said.
Halftime—Bradley 35, Wichita State 32. 3 pt. 3 pt. shooting—BU 6-15 (Butts 3-5, O’Leary 2-4, Budd 1-2, Shull 0-1, Yohn 0-3), WSU 3-11 (Fountaine 2-4, Dapprich 1-2, Harden 0-1, Turner 0-1, Diamond 0-3). Assists—BU 12 (Budd, Yohn 5), WSU 13 (Harden 6). Fouls—BU 16, WSU 13. A—1,944.