Three-pointers were not a common sighting in coach Keitha Adams’ first season with the Wichita State women’s basketball team.
The Shockers barely took them (their three-point rate of 20.4 percent ranked 340th in the country) and barely made them (their 27.4 shooting percentage ranked 308th in the country).
Those numbers should drastically change this season, as Adams has shifted WSU’s identity by bringing in 10 new players to the roster. And judging by Saturday’s scrimmage, WSU has several that can stroke it from outside.
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“We can bring it out on the arc,” said WSU junior Maya Brewer, who hit three jump shots on Saturday.
WSU’s reluctance last season to take threes wasn’t because of imposed restrictions by Adams. She wants her offense to be up-tempo and free-flowing and ideally produce more looks from beyond the arc.
But last season WSU’s advantage was inside, where Rangie Bessard (6-foot-1) and Angiee Tompkins (6-2) were best. WSU shot the ninth-most two-point shots in the country and made nearly 48 percent of them, which helped the Shockers pump out middle-of-the-pack offensive efficiency despite little production from three-pointers.
With Bessard and Tompkins graduated, WSU’s focus should shift toward the perimeter this season.
“Our guards will have to be more of a presence in our offense,” Adams said. “Graduating Rangie and Angiee, they were both very talented seniors and you’re not going to have a young freshman post replace a senior, veteran Rangie. Our guards are going to have to play a bigger role in our offense than they did last year.”
After playing her high school senior season in Wichita, where she averaged 23.1 points at Life Prep, Carla Bremaud should make an instant impact for the Shockers. The 5-11 guard from France has already become the team’s top sharpshooter and plays with poise beyond a freshman.
“Carla is just a really good competitor and we’re going to need for her to look to score for us,” Adams said. “She’s a good shooter and she’s got good basketball IQ. She sets a high bar for herself and if she doesn’t do something perfectly, she’s going to be upset with herself. We’re really excited about having her great work ethic in our program.”
Along with Brewer, freshman Natalia Ryng had a strong showing at Saturday’s scrimmage by drilling a three-pointer from straight on.
Three more freshmen could play minutes immediately for the Shockers at guard. Jada Peacock and Jaida Hampton have both drawn praise from Adams so far in practices and Dawnyel Lair was a highly-recruited player from Las Angeles.
Adams was pleased with the outside shooting shown in Saturday’s scrimmage, but that wasn’t her biggest takeaway.
“We hit some shots, but we took some bad shots too,” Adams said. “We’ve got to get in game shape. We’ve been breaking down and teaching so much. (Saturday) tells me we’ve got to get up and down and playing more and get in game shape. We’ll get that taken care of.”
The good news is that WSU has more than three weeks until November 1 for its exhibition game against Missouri Southern State.
“We haven’t been doing as much shooting in practice like we normally would because we’re having to implement our system,” Adams said. “If you have your system in, you can be spending more time with your shooting. We’re not getting the shooting that we normally would be or will be down the road. We’ve got to put our system in and that takes time.”