Seraphine Bastin and Carla Bremaud have a secret weapon when they take the court together as the starting backcourt for the Wichita State women’s basketball team.
When in a pinch and they need to communicate quickly and discretely, Bastin, a 5-foot-8 point guard from Belgium, will switch to French to communicate with Bremaud, a 5-foot-11 sharpshooter from France.
“It confuses the opponent because they don’t know what we’re saying,” Bastin said with a grin. “It gives us an advantage.”
The third year of coach Keitha Adam’s reign will be all about creating advantages for a Wichita State program pushing for its first winning record since 2015.
And finding ways to emphasize Bastin, who averaged 7.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, and Bremaud, who averaged a team-high 9.9 points, will be a priority. The sophomore duo figures to be the cornerstone of the rebuilding job for WSU going forward.
That’s why Adams is letting Bastin, Bremaud and the rest of the Shockers loose this season, as the team tries to push the pace, create offense from defense and score more points. WSU plays an exhibition 6:30 p.m. Monday against Missouri Southern State, then opens the regular season on Nov. 9 at Koch Arena following the men’s game at 5 p.m. against Northern Iowa.
“I think they definitely like the freedom and the pace of playing up tempo and getting out fast more,” Adams said. “In order to do that, you’ve got to be really good defensively and you’ve got to rebound the basketball. We want to create turnovers and create some havoc and hopefully that will lead to more points.”
More offense is exactly what Bremaud wants to hear.
The 19-year-old is regarded as WSU’s best shooter from the outside, and she hit 47 three-pointers last season — more than a third of WSU’s total. But Bremaud connected on just 30.5%, many times having to hoist desperation shots at the end of the shot clock to bail out WSU’s offense.
Bremaud said her shot has even gone up a notch after spending this past summer playing for the France under-20 national team at the FIBA U20 European Championships. She had games of 11 and 10 points in two group-play games for France, whose senior team is ranked No. 3 in the world.
She hopes the experience of playing against top international athletes in a faster-paced environment (the shot clock in FIBA is 24 seconds) has prepared Bremaud to take a leap scoring-wise her sophomore season. She’s always been a shooter and loves the feeling of drilling threes.
“It’s just a different kind of feeling,” Bremaud said. “I like making layups too, but the feeling when you make a three is so much better. Everybody stands up, and it’s such a strong feeling. (The France U20 team) really wanted me to be their sniper. I think that’s prepared me to do the same for (Wichita State).”
The one feeding Bremaud the ball this season will more than likely be Bastin, who says she also prefers playing at a faster pace because she feels like she can create more in transition.
Since arriving at WSU at the same time, Bastin and Bremaud have become closer friends. They say their chemistry on and off the floor is at an all-time high right now.
“This season is going to be even better because we know what each other are thinking on the court,” Bastin said. “When you have that, then something good is always going to happen.”
Whether they’re sharing their favorite French meal in Wichita at Georges Bistro or bragging about the France or Belgium national soccer teams, Bastin and Bremaud are building a bond that they hope will translate to winning at Wichita State over the next three seasons.
“We just understand each other a lot better, and that’s important between your point guard and shooting guard,” Bremaud said. “We work together and we’re very close off the court. We have a really good friendship, and we’re really looking forward to what’s to come.”