A 16-game winning streak earns respect.
But a 16-game winning streak paired with the devastating fashion the Wichita State women’s basketball is delivering victories lately — its latest a 74-51 feasting at the expense of Southern Illinois at Koch Arena on Friday night now that will earn national attention.
Wichita State is now 17-2 overall, 8-0 in the Missouri Valley and is winning by an average margin of over 20 points during its program-best winning streak. The majority of those games, including Friday’s, are over by halftime, indicated by WSU averaging a 14-point lead after 20 minutes during the streak.
So, as the Shockers have demonstrated they are the class of the Missouri Valley, does that mean they deserve to be considered a Top 25 team in the country?
“I think so,” WSU coach Jody Adams said. “But right now, it’s really about us. It’s about us getting better every game, every practice. We can’t lose our intensity, our drive, our sense of urgency. This is where people sneak up on you.”
Oftentimes, the opportunity to spring a surprise on these Shockers is lost in the first 10 minutes. WSU’s starting five, along with reserve Alie Decker, form a unit of six that Adams said was among the “top in the country” after scoring 69 of 74 points against SIU.
Michaela Dapprich led all scorers with 17 points, while Michelle Price posted a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds, Jamillah Bonner scored 14 points. Alex Harden filled the state sheet with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
“That top six,” Adams paused to smile. “Man, they’re good.”
Even without making its usual percentage of shots around the rim and on jumpers, WSU overcame 39.1 percent for the game by generating 47 extra opportunities through offensive rebounds (25) and forced turnovers (22).
Another second half was turned into a formality after WSU and its manic defense staked a 39-11 lead at halftime.
“When you go, you can just see it in their eyes that they’re scared and it makes you even more aggressive,” WSU junior Kelsey Jacobs said.
After defeating seven of its eight Valley opponents by double-digits, WSU has looked nearly unbeatable against its conference competition.
Then again, according to Jeff Sagarin’s RPI ratings, the MVC ranks 20th of 32 conferences in RPI rating. Outside of WSU, ranked 39th, no other team is in the Top 130.
So do the Shockers have what it takes to translate to a national stage? Adams believes so.
“I think with the right match-up, you look at anybody across the Top 15 or Top 20, and there’s no doubt we can compete,” Adams said. “With the right matchup.”
Halftime—Wichita State 39, Southern Illinois 11. Three-point shooting—SIU 3-12 (Courier 1-2, Corrigan 1-2, Goins 1-4, Shores 0-1, Haynes 0-1, Washington 0-2), WSU 4-14 (Mi. Dapprich 2-2, Harden 1-1, Bonner 1-6, Preston 0-1, Decker 0-4). Rebounds—SIU 33 (Haynes 8), WSU 49 (Price 11). Assists—SIU 7 (Griffin, Courier 2), WSU 10 (Harden 4). Fouls—SIU 26, WSU 19. A—1,707.