Strip both teams of any labels or conference affiliations, and what’s left is two teams that should produce a competitive women’s basketball game.
Or at least that’s what Wichita State coach Jody Adams saw on tape when scouting Oklahoma State, the Shockers’ opponent this afternoon at Stillwater’s Gallagher-Iba Arena in the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
“Obviously being in the Big 12, they have size and depth that I think is to their advantage,” Adams said. “But if you take a look at their starting five and our starting five, it’s a great matchup. The majority of their offense is transition. I think if we can contain and play solid defense, I think that puts the ball in our court.”
The availability of Wichita State’s best five looked doubtful after its 79-57 romp over Oral Roberts on Friday when senior Haleigh Lankster left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. But Adams was optimistic Saturday afternoon.
“Right now you would expect her to play,” Adams said. “But we’ll still take it day-by-day.”
Lankster’s availability is crucial to Adams’ insistence on limiting the Cowgirls in transition. During Big 12 play, Oklahoma State’s offense suffered through 35.2 percent shooting and 28 percent shooting from the three-point line.
Two of Oklahoma State’s starters are from the Wichita area. Andover Central graduate Tiffany Bias is the team’s leading scorer at 12.6 a game, and Goddard’s Lindsey Keller is averaging 7.4 points and 7.0 rebounds.
Adams believes playing teams such as Louisiana State and Kansas State, both NCAA Tournament teams, will be helpful experiences to rely upon today.
Wichita State’s last win over a Big 12 opponent came over Oklahoma State in a 63-57 victory at Koch Arena on Dec. 22, 2005.
“We want to control the tempo as much as we can,” Adams said. “It’s really all about controlling their transition game. If we can control that and manage the clock and get good stops and score, then I think that’s where the game will become our advantage.”
Playing Oklahoma State will also be sentimental for Adams, who like all coaches, was shocked when news came out in November that OSU coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna were killed in a plane crash in Arkansas while on a recruiting trip.
“It’s just such an unfortunate situation,” Adams said. “Two great coaches, two great people, left this Earth way too soon. There’s no doubt there’s a dent left in our coaching network and coaching family.”