Wichita State Shockers

WSU women drop Valley opener

The Wichita State women's basketball team did some things right on Friday night in its Missouri Valley Conference opener.

Still, it was not enough in a 74-66 loss to Evansville on Friday night at Koch Arena.

"The first half sunk us," WSU coach Jody Adams summed up.

The 17 first-half turnovers and 13 fouls that gave Evansville 12 points from the free-throw line certainly did the Shockers no favors. WSU trailed 43-32 at the break.

"Obviously, our defensive philosophy was non-existent," Adams said. "So was our ability to make good decisions with the ball in our hands. The lack of discipline in our stance allowed them to go to the free-throw line and score points with the clock stopped."

Meanwhile, WSU (6-6, 0-1 MVC) was lucky just to get a shot up in the first half. When they did, the Shockers made 14 of 24 shots to stay in the game.

That seemed key when the Shockers outscored Evansville 19-9 in the second half to tie the score 55-55 with 9 minutes remaining in the game.

Some of the spark came from sophomore Jessica Diamond, who finished with 12 points in 27 minutes.

"I was not going to play Jessy Diamond, "Adams said. "Her practices have been soft. Her teammates don't trust her. She hasn't earned that start. She asked me to put her in and (her teammates) asked me to put her in and she showed up."

More positive signs came by way of Chynna Turner and Jazimen Gordon, who have both been inconsistent in their sophomore seasons. Turner scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench, while Gordon filled the stat sheet with nine points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.

"I think it all starts with how we practice," Gordon said. "I think the drills we worked on in practice just carried over into this game."

But when crunch time rolled around Friday, it was once again the team's youth that took over. Down 66-64 with under two minutes remaining, WSU missed three consecutive shots, then turned the ball over. After Evansville scored to extend the lead to four, Diamond gave the ball up on an errant dribble.

"If you don't have a tough, aggressive mentality and if you don't know the game plan and you haven't been disciplined in practice, then things are going to begin to show up in games," Adams said.

Evansville made six straight free throws to clinch the victory.

Wichita State finished with 24 turnovers.

"It's youth," Adams said. "Not understanding what a scouting report is there for. That talent doesn't win games, that being a disciplined team does."

EVANSVILLE (6-6, 1-0): Falkenstein 3-6 3-4 9, Collins 0-7 6-6 6, Heck 6-12 1-2 13, Gillum 3-6 0-1 7, Bamberger 4-5 6-6 17, Hart 1-7 2-2 4, Blair 4-11 4-9 13, Ellerson 2-4 0-0 5, Ware 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-58 22-30 74.

WICHITA STATE (6-6, 0-1): Gordon 3-6 3-5 9, Boyd 6-14 2-2 17, Robben 0-0 0-0 0, Lankster 4-8 2-3 10, Dawkins 3-6 1-3 7, Sanchez 0-1 0-0 0, Diamond 6-12 0-0 12, Turner 5-8 0-0 11, Price 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-55 8-13 66.

Halftime—Evansville 43, Wichita State 32. Three-point shooting—UE 6-13 (Bamberger 3-3, Ellerson 1-1, Blair 1-2, Gillum 1-3, Falkenstein 0-1, Collins 0-1, Hart 0-2); WSU 4-13 (Boyd 3-9, Turner 1-1, Lankster 0-1, Diamond 0-2). Rebounds—UE 32 (Gillum 6); WSU 40 (Gordon 14). Assists—UE 18 (Blair 5); WSU 14 (Diamond 5). Fouls—UE 12; WSU 24. A—1,547.