Wichita State Shockers

Shockers win while coach Jody Adams-Birch is held out for weekend

Wichita State’s women’s basketball coach Jody Adams-Birch missed Friday’s 65-54 win over Bradley while WSU athletic director Darron Boatright investigates “information recently received about the women’s basketball program.”

Adams-Birch will also miss Sunday’s game, but her future beyond this weekend is unclear. The Shockers insisted after Friday’s game that it was as if Adams-Birch never left.

“We did nothing different than what Coach Adams would have done tonight,” acting coach Kirk Crawford said. “The biggest thing with this was the consistency of what Coach Adams brings to this program to tonight. We did nothing different, and I think that was really important for our players to feel comfortable.”

Adams-Birch’s uncertain future is rooted, sources said Thursday, in this week’s planned transfer of sophomore Ellie Lehne. Sources said Lehne and other WSU players met with Boatright on Tuesday to discuss Lehne’s transfer and the atmosphere around the team.

The Shockers boycotted Tuesday’s practice, according to sources, leading to Boatright’s decision to sit Adams-Birch for two games.

Boatright hasn’t termed the discipline of Adams a suspension, and on Friday said, “I didn’t want to use terminology that would make it seem like I meant something I didn’t necessarily mean.”

Boatright declined to comment on the timetable for determining Adams-Birch’s future, and Crawford and WSU’s players were instructed to decline questions regarding the state of the program.

WSU presented a united front after Friday’s win with support for their coach.

“Coach Jody’s spirit was definitely here tonight,” said Rangie Bessard, who led the Shockers (7-10, 2-4 Missouri Valley Conference) with 21 points and 10 rebounds. “You could feel it through the coaching staff. Kirk did a phenomenal job tonight.

“… (The coaches) prepared us really well. The transition was not hard at all because we trusted in them. They gave us all that we had so we knew that we had to give them all that we have.”

WSU’s maximum effort was most present in the fourth quarter. The Shockers struggled to put away Bradley (5-12, 1-5), another team trying to avoid the bottom of the conference standings.

Four consecutive free throws following a personal foul and a technical foul by WSU’s Brittany Martin tied the score 40-40 with 3:51 to go in the third quarter, about three minutes after used a 12-0 run to erase Bradley’s final lead.

The Shockers’ lead fell to two points in the final three minutes, but they scored the final nine points to pull away. Bessard’s three-point play with 1:31 to go turned a two-point game into a 59-54 advantage.

“As one of the leaders of this team, it was mandatory that I go out and give it my all tonight and help lead my team to this win,” Bessard said. “But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and the coaching staff tonight. Everybody was on point. Even though we made mistakes, we picked it up and stayed together.”

BRADLEY: Brewer 0-6 0-0 0, Johnson 0-3 0-0 0, Breckmann 2-6 5-6 9, Lerman 3-9 0-0 6, Schlueter 6-10 7-9 22, Wilkins 1-1 1-2 4, Eshoo 0-0 0-0 0, Burrell 0-2 0-0 0, Markert 5-6 3-5 13. Totals 17-44 16-22 54.

WICHITA ST.: Stovall 1-4 0-0 2, Lockhart 3-7 3-4 11, Lozada-Cabbage 3-4 2-3 9, Williams 2-2 0-0 5, Bessard 6-14 9-12 21, Thompson 1-4 2-2 4, Mortimer 0-0 0-0 0, Preston 0-1 0-0 0, Lee 2-4 0-0 5, Pacar 0-1 0-0 0, Martin 0-1 0-0 0, Mike 3-8 0-0 6, Tompkins 0-4 2-2 2. Totals 21-54 18-23 65.

Bradley

16

12

17

9

54

Wichita St.

10

15

25

15

65

Three-point shooting—Bradley 4-13 (Schlueter 3-7, Wilkins 1-1, Johnson 0-2, Brewer 0-3), WSU 5-12 (Lockhart 2-3, Lozada-Cabbage 1-1, Williams 1-1, Lee 1-1, Preston 0-1, Pacar 0-1, Mike 0-1, Tompkins 0-1, Bessard 0-2). Rebounds—Bradley 32 (Lerma 8), WSU 35 (Bessard 10). Total fouls—Bradley 21, WSU 20. Technicals—Martin, WSU. Steals—Bradley 6 (Lerma 3), WSU 11 (Stovall, Bessard 3). Assists—Bradley 14 (Johnson 5), WSU 7 (Lockhart 3). A—1,198.

  Comments