For six whole days, Wichita State women's basketball coach Jody Adams was able to interject herself into the psyche of her team.
She nitpicked the tiny mistakes. She was relentless in her pursuit of perfection. And she made sure the team knew who Casey Garrison, Jaleshia Roberson and Christiana Shorter were before Saturday afternoon's matchup with Missouri State.
"I'm sure they were so happy to be out of practice and in a game, they couldn't see straight," Adams said. "They probably sang all the way to the game today. They were tired of me and tired of hearing about (Missouri State)."
A new mentality was established in Adams' boot camp the past week and it transferred over to a 73-65 victory at Koch Arena.
Adams wasn't joking, either. The players had heard enough.
"I was tired of hearing about posts," freshman Jazimen Gordon said. "I was tired of hearing about little mistakes. I was just ready to get out and prove the coaches wrong."
Adams clearly knew which buttons to push to bring out the best in her team. While WSU was flat at times, it came up with plays in the clutch.
After Missouri State had whittled WSU's 55-44 lead in the second half down to three points, freshman Michelle Price responded with an offensive rebound and putback.
When the Bears cut it to five points a minute later, Chynna Turner scored on a jumper and Price deflected a pass around the perimeter and finished at the other end for a 65-56 lead with 5:34 left.
"It's all about outworking and outcompeting," Price said.
It's a mantra quickly catching on with these Shockers, who improved to 6-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference. WSU also completed a season sweep of the Bears, a top-three team in conference.
A big reason was containing Garrison (5-of-14 shooting) and winning the rebounding battle (37-33).
"To play great defense and to board the ball, whether it's offensively or defensively, it's a mentality," Adams said. "If you have that mentality, it doesn't matter who you play that's so talented, you'll be the winner in the end because you will outwork them."
Wichita State didn't lead until an 8-2 run to end the first half put WSU ahead 37-33. From there, WSU guarded its lead with key baskets down the stretch. The lead never dipped below seven the final five minutes.
"I (saw) a hunger in all of us," Haleigh Lankster said. "I think that we've been practicing hard and I think that it was just a change of mentality. We wanted to play this game."
Lankster paced a balanced attack with 15 points and Sheena Johnson added 14. But it was the pair of freshmen posts, Gordon and Price, that combined for seven offensive rebounds and 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
After a three-game losing skid, the Shockers recovered. The reason, to Adams at least, is simple.
"I knew we had to get tougher," she said.
MISSOURI STATE (17-8, 9-5): Shorter 7-12 3-3 17, Boshe 3-6 2-2 8, Busby 5-10 0-0 12, Garrison 5-14 0-0 10, Roberson 2-5 0-0 6, Malone 1-2 4-4 6, Roberts 0-0 0-0 0, Griggs 0-0 2-2 2, Soldner 1-6 2-2 4, Stock 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-55 13-13 65.
WICHITA STATE (14-11, 6-8): Turner 3-6 0-0 6, Price 5-5 1-1 11, Henderson 1-5 0-0 2, Johnson 5-14 4-5 14, Diamond 4-15 1-2 9, Boyd 3-4 0-0 8, Lankster 6-14 1-2 15, Gordon 2-3 4-4 8. Totals 29-66 11-14 73.
Halftime—Wichita St. 37, Missouri St. 33. 3 pt. shooting—MSU 4-15 (Roberson 2-5, Busby 2-6 Malone 0-1, Garrison 0-3); WSU 4-12 (Boyd 2-2, Lankster 2-5, Henderson 0-1, Diamond 0-4). Rebounds—MSU 33 (Garrison 9); WSU 37 (Price 6). Assists—MSU 15 (Garrison 4); WSU 16 (Henderson, Diamond 6). Fouls—MSU 15, WSU 11. A—2,109.