Jody Adams isn’t going to build Saturday’s showdown against Creighton in Koch Arena into anything more than another Missouri Valley game.
It’s nice that both teams enter the game with unbeaten league records and the winner will have sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley. But Adams doesn’t think it’s any bigger than, say, a road game at Evansville.
“Every game in the Missouri Valley is a test,” Adams said. “It’s going to be a fun atmosphere and an exciting atmosphere, but it’s still a test, a challenge. We’ve got to make A’s in all areas to beat a team like Creighton.”
After sweeping the Bradley-Northern Iowa road swing, Wichita State returns home for the first time since Jan. 3 when it opened Valley play with a 76-64 win over Missouri State.
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It wasn’t long ago when the Shockers were in the midst of a prolonged offensive slump. They seem to have those struggles figured out, and it hasn’t been because of any changes. Adams cites more consistency from the upperclassmen as the reason.
She doesn’t think WSU necessarily has to score more to beat Creighton. The Shockers want to slow the game down, make it a half-court struggle and score points from their defense.
But to do that, they will have to slow down Creighton from behind the three-point line. The Bluejays average over nine three-pointers made per game and that will be the focus of the Shockers’ defense.
“We always talk about doing uncommon things,” Adams said. “If you’re going to do uncommon thing, like winning big games, then you have to do the hard things.”
Last season, the Shockers won nearly every big game they played in the first round of Missouri Valley play. They remember holding a two-game lead at the midway point, but they remember even more vividly losing that lead.
Winning or losing on Saturday will not decide a Valley championship, but it goes unspoken amongst the team that it desperately wants to finish off this season with the school’s first league title.
“We haven’t talked a lot about March and I don’t think I have to,” Adams said. “That’s because of the upperclassmen. We know we have to have less and less of the same mistakes in our areas where we struggle. We do that by using each game as a test, and this is another test - a big one.”