Wearing down a team with defense, that’s routine for Wichita State women’s basketball. Blowing them out with outside shooting — that’s something fans aren’t used to watching.
The Shockers (1-0) showed an impressive outside touch in Friday’s 69-46 win over Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne in the first round of the Preseason WNIT at Koch Arena. They made 6 of 13 three-pointers (46.2 percent), quite a bump for a team that made 29.4 percent last season on the way to the NCAA Tournament.
WSU plays at No. 11 Oklahoma on Sunday in the second round of the WNIT. The Sooners defeated Stetson 78-60 on Friday.
WSU led IPFW by 14 points when Alie Decker made two in a row near the end of the first half, sparking the Shockers to a 37-13 halftime lead. Jamillah Bonner and Michaela Dapprich made threes early in the second half to push the edge to 33 points.
Decker, a redshirt freshman from Edmond, Okla., missed most of last season with knee injuries. Her return gives the Shockers another shooting threat and gives coach Jody Adams optimism the Shockers can give defenses more problems from behind the arc.
“I wouldn’t identify us a three-point team, but it is something that I believe (by the conference season), it will be another weapon that we haven’t had here as long as I’ve been here,” Adams said.
Decker 2 of 5 threes on Friday to finish with six points and four rebounds in 25 minutes.
“I want to be able to be a person that pulls the defense out so it will give our posts more touches and allow for more ball movement,” she said. “Spread the floor and knock down the threes.”
The Shockers possess players who can push the ball on fast breaks. They’ve got post scorers. To be most effective, Decker has to keep up with them and be ready at the three-point arc to make the defense cover lots of ground. Adams said her team is still learning how to best use its shooters and how to get them the ball on time and in the right place.
“I believe in Alie and what she does for us offensively,” Adams said. “Her teammates understand when to get her the ball. With Alie, it’s more tempo and, being with that starting group, they run a high-motor game. It’s Alie being at the same tempo with them so she can get set or get ahead of the ball.”
Decker played in five games last season. She tore the medial collateral ligament in her left knee in November. She came back in January before tearing the MCL vs. Missouri State to end her season. While sitting out last season wasn’t easy, she tried to learn from the bench.
“It’s felt good to get back into the game,” she said. “I learned a lot watching. I got to see what players see on the court, but what they’re also missing and what they should be looking for.”
Worth noting — OU senior Aaryn Ellenberg, an All-Big 12 pick, scored 24 points and made 6 of 11 threes in the win over Stetson. The winner plays in the WNIT semifinals on Thursday against either Tennessee-Martin or Gonzaga. The loser plays in loser bracket games beginning Friday. Coaches voted OU the preseason favorite in the Big 12. Four starters are back from a team that advanced to the Sweet 16.