Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State women pick up pace

A struggle to break 60 points.

In recent years, that's what it's been for the Wichita State women's basketball program.

Fans have grown accustomed to games played in the halfcourt that usually amount to turnover-fests.

Last season 226 Division I women's teams averaged at least 60 points. The Shockers were a near miss — at 59.9 — but not many are worried if that will be a problem this season.

Wichita State opens a five-game homestand tonight with Western Illinois and plans on unveiling a new type of game.

"Fans like points. Fans like hustle. Fans like good plays," senior Ashley Gladden said, "I would expect we can do that."

Gladden is back from last season, along with Marisah Henderson and Haleigh Lankster. Toss in eight athletic newcomers and coach Jody Adams' vision is clear.

"I think fans can expect a lot more excitement," Lankster said. "A lot of aggressive play. We have a lot of talent coming in here, so you can expect to see us get after it defensively."

Defining that line of aggressive play is a work-in-progress for the team. In the season-opening loss to Colorado State last week, Wichita State picked up 26 fouls. Now, Adams is stressing discipline.

But it's that pressure defense that the Shockers are expecting to create an up-and-down game, giving an advantage to their athletic posts. Adams expects to "become more detailed" in the offense against Western Illinois, pegged eighth in the Summit League preseason poll.

And for Adams, it's a start to her second season rebuilding the Shockers.

"You get to see a team and a program improve year in and year out," Adams said. "These guys are learning a lot. That should be the fun thing for the fan, to get to see this program grow and watch these young, talented individuals grow and their games expand."