Wichita State Shockers

WSU follows Henderson to victory

Being a former college point guard, Wichita State women's basketball coach Jody Adams might be partial to the position.

But in games like the Shockers' 59-57 win over Southern Illinois on Sunday at Koch Arena — what Adams summarized as "a battle" — having a great point guard is invaluable.

And that's where Marisah Henderson comes in.

The senior willed the Shockers to their 13th home win against the Salukis — a school record — in her final home game.

"I couldn't find anybody better," Adams said. "Marisah is what this program needed. It was her competitive spirit... her hate for losing. It's a bad hate. It's a sickening hate. Then, just the ability to give for 40 minutes of her entire body."

On offense, Henderson tested the Salukis' defense by pushing the pace. She knocked down an occasional shot and set her teammates up for open shots.

Defensively, Henderson spent many of her 39 minutes on the floor plowing her 5-foot-2 frame through a myriad of screens to stop SIU sharpshooter Christine Presswood. And while Presswood burned WSU for 24 points, she missed a pair of game-tying threes in the final seconds.

"I just chased her," Henderson said. "Like a mother leopard."

Wichita State finally exhaled after Stephany Neptune missed a game-tying shot in the lane. Henderson turned in her typical line: 7 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 5 steals.

"I think Marisah's leadership kept us floating," WSU's Haleigh Lankster said. "She never got down and she always had us playing together."

The only active senior on the roster, Henderson has shouldered the load of guiding eight newcomers to an 8-8 record in the Missouri Valley Conference. Once reserved and quiet, Henderson has been fiery this season.

So when WSU trailed 51-44 with 10 minutes left, there was Henderson, working her team back. She was there to orchestrate the clear-out for Sheena Johnson on the game's decisive play.

Tied 56-56, Johnson was fouled while making a shot and hit the ensuing free throw for a 59-56 lead with 24 seconds left.

"Sheena hasn't been stopped for the last seven games," Adams said. "She's found what she's great at... it's a direct line to the rim."

Still, Adams isn't satisfied with where the sixth-place Shockers are at compared to when she arrived in 2008.

"I'm happy with what we've done," Adams said, "but we can do better."

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (4-23, 3-14): Nwani 1-3 0-0 2, Neptune 2-6 4-8 8, Swingler 5-5 0-0 10, Presswood 8-25 24, Oliver 3-9 1-2 9, Garcia 0-1 2-2 2, Crayton 0-1 0-0 0, Hambrick 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 20-53 9-14 57.

WICHITA STATE (16-11, 8-8): Turner 3-10 2-3 8, Price 3-5 1-3 7, Henderson 3-4 0-0 7, Johnson 3-7 4-5 10, Diamond 4-11 1-2 9, Boyd 1-4 0-0 3, Lankster 4-7 1-2 9, Kemp 0-1 0-0 0, Gordon 2-5 2-2 6. Totals 23-54 11-17 59.

Halftime—SIU 29, WSU 26. 3 pt. shooting—SIU 8-23 (Presswood 6-16, Oliver 2-7); WSU 2-10 (Henderson 1-2, Boyd 1-2, Lankster 0-1, Kemp 0-1, Diamond 0-2, Turner 0-2). Rebounds—SIU 35 (Neptune 7); WSU 38 (Gordon 11). Assists—SIU 12 (Neptune 8); WSU 16 (Henderson 9). A—1,678.