Sports

Backcourt duo gives WSU women hope for future

BreAnna Dawkins and Krystle Henderson never talked about being future backcourt mates.

"It just kind of happened," Dawkins said.

That's the way they explain how their seemingly separate paths became intertwined at Wichita State.

Now, the two guards from Dallas shoulder the hope of a brighter future together as freshmen for the Wichita State women's basketball team. But remember, this was unplanned.

"Everything was by chance," Henderson said. "It all just sort of happened."

The two met in fifth grade when they were placed on the same summer basketball team in Dallas. Henderson always played point guard, Dawkins the wing.

"Because of my height level I was stuck at the point," said Henderson, now 5-foot-4.

Each went on to have successful careers at different high schools. They both garnered the same type of Division I offers, as well.

Dawkins was the first to orally commit to Wichita State after an unofficial visit. Henderson was next a few months later after she made her visit to WSU's campus.

"But we never sat down and said 'let's both go to Wichita State,' " Henderson clarified.

The two were being reunited, but sooner than they even knew.

They were playing on separate squads of an AAU club called US-Elite, but last summer the club decided to merge and form a "super team" that included Henderson and Dawkins.

"That brought us back together after high school," Henderson said. "Being reunited brought the connection back."

There would seem to be some natural tension between the two since they both can play point guard. But Dawkins says she doesn't mind the shift to shooting guard.

"It was never an issue," Dawkins said. "I never really cared about taking the point. I knew (Krystle) had it. It's not about jealousy or who has the most shots."

When coach Jody Adams announced the class, she called Henderson the point guard of the future and the team's next "general."

Those plans have been put on hold due to a stress fracture that has kept Henderson off the court the entire season. She is currently considering taking a redshirt.

That has forced Adams to thrust Dawkins into the role of starting point guard — originally reserved for Henderson.

Dawkins has had an up-and-down year, averaging 6.4 points and 3.2 assists in 18 games.

"I've never had a lot of pressure on me like that," Dawkins said. "I really love that Jody puts that pressure on me and that will make me a better person and a better player."

The pressure has been lessened by having Henderson constantly in her ear. The two are roommates and Henderson is providing vocal support to help Dawkins through her growing pains.

"I try to play vicariously through Bre," Henderson said. "When she makes mistakes, I pull her aside and tell her what she needs to work on. I just try to stay on her with the little things because that is a big role for a freshman."

But Henderson's return is inevitable and Dawkins knows she'll likely be shifted off the ball next year. That might not be a bad thing, as Dawkins has shown the capabilities of being an explosive scorer.

And she won't mind moving for Henderson, who she says reminds her of former WSU guard Marisah Henderson.

"I think they can expect another Marisah Henderson," Dawkins said. "She can shoot the three. She can be more like Marisah, as far as being vocal and being a leader and helping people get where they need to be."

It could make for an exciting future for the Shockers when the two are reunited on the court.

"I'm excited for that day," Henderson said. "When it does come, fans can look forward to two kids from Dallas, Texas, pushing the tempo, working hard and busting it for their team."

Wichita State 66, Drake 57 — Jessica Diamond scored a season-high 21 points Thursday night and the Shockers won in Des Moines for the first time since 2002.

WSU (10-9, 4-4 MVC) held Drake (9-10, 3-5) to 17 points in the first and built a 20-point lead.

WICHITA STATE: Turner 3-6 3-6 9, Price 2-2 1-4 5, Diamond 8-12 2-2 21, Lankster 5-15 0-0 12, Dawkins 3-7 0-0 6, Boyd 2-4 0-0 5, Sanchez 1-4 1-1 3, Robben 0-0 0-0 0, Gordon 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 26-53 8-15 66.

DRAKE: Reid 0-2 0-0 0, Hackbarth 4-10 2-2 10, Person 0-2 0-0 0, Turk 71-8 6-6 20, Wollschlager 2-6 0-0 4, Ritscher 0-1 0-0 0, Marschner 3-6 1-4 8, Montgomery 5-6 1-1 11, Christianson 0-3 4-4 4, Running 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 21-57 14-17 57.

Halftime — Wichita State 37, Drake 17. 3 pt. shooting — Wichita State 6-19 (Diamond 3-3, Lankster 2-9, Boyd 1-2, Turner 0-1, Dawkins 0-1); Drake 1-9 (Marschner 1-2, Ritscher 0-1, Turk 0-3, Wollschlager 0-3). Rebounds — Wichita State 31 (Price 9); Drake 38 (Turk 8). Total fouls — Wichita State 18, Drake 13. Assists — Wichita State: 10 (Dawkins 4), Drake: 10 (Turk 5). A—2,051.

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