Wichita State Shockers

Freshman gets chance to lead WSU women

It took five games, but Jody Adams thinks she has found her floor leader for the Wichita State women's basketball team.

While the early-season experiment with sophomore Jessica Diamond began to fizzle out, freshman BreAnna Dawkins emerged in last week's Woodland Hills Thanksgiving Classic as a new candidate to replace the graduated Marisah Henderson.

Dawkins earned her first start in the championship game against Wyoming, and Adams confirmed she is the team's point guard. Wichita State (3-2) plays host to winless Santa Clara (0-5) tonight at Koch Arena.

"All eyes are on her," Adams said. "Every member is confident in her running the one (point). They want her to run the one. She speaks up. She puts people in place. They like her swag and they follow that, and that was where we needed to make a change."

That is an area Diamond is still working on. Last season, Diamond was the team's go-to scorer, but early in this season she has struggled to adapt to playing point guard full-time. In her four starts, Diamond averaged 10 points on 29 percent shooting and had nine assists to 17 turnovers.

Dawkins has gone through her own bouts of erratic play, but Adams likes the freshman's ability to get the team in and out of its set plays faster.

"She controlled the tempo for us," Adams said. "As a freshman, that was a great sign. I like the confidence. I like the demeanor. I like the fight that she brings to running that point guard position."

In her first start, Dawkins played a team-high 37 minutes and scored 15 points and finished with four assists, four steals and two turnovers.

"She's a play-maker," teammate Michelle Price said. "She sees things that we probably don't even see. We might be open and not even know it and she'll get us the ball."

In early-season practices, Dawkins admitted to being a bit timid. But once she got a few games of experience, her play has flourished.

"I'm just looking for my shooters and posts," Dawkins said. "I really don't have to score. I just want to get my teammates involved. Scoring is not what I'm looking for right now."

Dawkins carries herself like a veteran. That's what the Shockers are in need of, even if it is coming from an 18-year-old freshman.

"I don't really think about it that much," Dawkins said. "You just have to go in there and be aggressive all the time."