For the first 15 minutes of Sunday’s game against Sam Houston State, Wichita State coach Jody Adams said the Shockers executed about as well as she expected.
“We did exactly what we wanted to, turn them over, score in disadvantage situations, I thought it was a solid 15 minutes,” Adams said after the Shockers’ 70-46 victory that ended the nonconference portion of the schedule. Missouri Valley Conference play begins Friday at home against Indiana State.
WSU (9-3) took a 27-8 lead during those 15 minutes, many of the points coming off 13 Bearkat turnovers.
Coming off Christmas break and playing without leading scorer Alex Harden (illness), Adams said others assumed the scoring load.
“I thought a couple of players stepped up and filled (Harden’s) shoes,” Adams said, “I was proud to see some of those guys step up with a sense of urgency.”
Senior Jamillah Bonner led the Shocker attack, recording a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.
“I thought that the shots that she had were because of her motor and her transition to get that disadvantage shot against their defense,” Adams said.
Bonner also finished with seven steals — matching her season output. It came pretty naturally, she said.
“Just reading their offense and going along with the defense of my teammates,” Bonner said. “Our goal for this game was to turn this team over, and that’s what we did.”
Sophomore Alie Decker hit four of WSU’s seven three-pointers for 14 points. Junior Michaela Dapprich matched Decker’s point total, and sophomore Jaleesa Chapel fought inside for 10 points and seven rebounds.
The torrid start helped the Shockers take a 36-13 halftime lead. From there, WSU was able to keep the Bearkats (1-9) at arm’s length.
A key to the Wichita State victory was a defense that suffocated Sam Houston State’s shooting. The Bearkats hit just 19 percent (4 of 21) in the first half and just 26.7 percent (12 of 45) for the game. Wichita State took 16 more shots from the field, as the Bearkats were constantly stymied by 27 turnovers.
Foul trouble hindered the Shockers somewhat after halftime, Adams said.
“I just thought we were in poor position in our rotating, we were in a defensive package trapping the on-ball screen (in the second half),” she said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t continue to do the details in that package.”
Heading into league play, Adams said she was pleased by the strides the program has made, both at the end of last season and the beginning of this one.
“We’ve been on a way different stage,” she said. “We’ve never been there before. The schedule that we’ve had was a very tough schedule. We’ve played the best in the country as far as mid-major; we’ve played the best in the country as far as BCS.
“This program’s on a way different stage that we’ve ever been placed in before, and I’m really proud of how our upperclassmen have responded.”
Forcing turnovers was a bright spot, Adams added.
“Our goal is to force plus-27 turnovers. We didn’t quite hit our goal, but in some other areas, offensive boards (23), we hit a huge goal there. I thought getting to the free-throw line, we hit a huge goal there. Those three areas were nice to see.”
Still, even at 9-3, there is room for improvement, Adams said.
“With what we’ve had to deal with this week (Christmas break and illness), we need to better our bench (entering Missouri Valley play), so we’re playing 8-10 players every game,” Adams said.
SAM HOUSTON ST.: Guillory 4-6 3-4 11, Moore 0-0 1-2 1, Robertson 4-18 10-10 20, Day 2-7 0-1 5, Dorsey 0-3 3-4 3, Delaney 0-3 0-0 0, Wiley 2-7 2-2 8, Curtis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12-45 19-23 46.
WICHITA ST.: Jacobs 2-7 0-0 4, Decker 4-8 2-2 7, Mi. Dapprich 5-11 4-6 14, Boinner 3-13 9-10 17, Chapel 5-10 0-2 10, Stovall 1-3 0-2 3, White 0-0 0-0 0, Martin 2-4 0-0 4, Mo. Dapprich 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 24-61 15-22 70.
Halftime – Wichita State 36, Sam Houston State 13. Three-point shooting – Sam Houston State 3-16 (Robertson 2-11, Day 1-2, Dorsey 0-1, Delaney 0-1, Curtis 0-1); Wichita State 7-17 (Decker 4-6, Bonner 2-6, Stovall 1-3, Mi. Dapprich 0-2). Rebounds – Sam Houston State 33 (Wiley 8), Wichita State 43 (Bonner 10). Assists – Sam Houston State 6 (Robertson 3), Wichita State 14 (Jacobs 6). Total fouls – Wichita State 21, Sam Houston State 20. Fouled out – Mi. Dapprich, Martin.