WSU Women Meeting Illinois State in MVC Finals

By: WSU Athletics Email
By: WSU Athletics Email

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The Wichita State women's basketball team (23-9, 15-3 MVC) faces No. 3 Illinois State in the MVC Tournament Finals at 2:07 p.m. Sunday afternoon inside The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo. The Shockers have never won the MVC Tournament nor have they been to the NCAA Tournament.

- Wichita State is in the finals of the MVC Tournament for just the second time in school history. The last time was 1997 when they made it as a No. 7 seed and lost to No. 2 seed Drake. That was also the last year WSU and Illinois State met in the Valley Tournament. The Shockers faced the Redbirds in the opening round and came out on top, 81-53 on Mar. 6 in Springfield, Mo.

- The Shockers split the regular season series with Illinois State. Each team won on its home court, including WSU dropping a heartbreaker in Normal, Ill. when Alexis Jenkins hit a jumper in the waning seconds to lift the Redbirds to a 57-56 victory on Feb. 28.

- WSU enters the tournament with its first-ever conference title and No. 1 seed. Last year's team matched the1993-94 squad as a 3-seed for the previous high. The Shockers have improved their seeding in all five Jody Adams' seasons (10, 6, 5, 3,1).

- The Shockers set the school record for overall (23), MVC (15), and MVC road (7) victories with a win in the regular season finale at Missouri State. Wichita State also carries an RPI of 63, its highest since a No. 39 ranking in December of 2001.

- Jody Adams was named the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year. She is the first WSU women's basketball coach to win the award since Daryl Smith in 2000.

- Alex Harden was named the MVC Defensive Player of the Year. Haleigh Lankster took home the honor last year as a senior and was the first Shocker to win the award.

- Jessica Diamond and Alex Harden gave WSU two players on the All-MVC First Team for the first time since Angela Buckner and Jennifer Kaczka represented the Shockers in 2001-02. Diamond is WSU's first repeat first-teamer since Buckner in 2002-03 and 2003-04.

- Entering the MVC Tournament, the Shockers rank 30th in the NCAA in scoring defense (53.9 ppg), 35th in blocked shots per game (4.7), 147th in field goal percentage defense (.380) and 41st in turnover margin (+3.67). The school record for scoring defense is 58.1 ppg, set last season, and the record for field goal percentage defense is .388, set in 2010-11. This year's team already has the 3rd-best single season shot-blocking total (144).

- Versatility and depth have been keys for Wichita State. WSU's bench is out-scoring the opponent, 706-416 (22.1 - 13.0). The Shockers have also used 12 different starting lineups, with the Jones-Diamond-Harden-Turner-Jacobs tandem posting the best record at 5-0. Nine different Shockers have led the team in scoring and all 11 players have topped the team in rebounding.

- Alex Harden blossomed in conference play. The sophomore topped the team in most major categories during league games: points (13.6), rebounds (5.1), assists (80), blocked shots (21), and steals (32). She shot .505 from the field and .764 from the line.

- Jessica Diamond became the fourth Shocker in history to reach 1,000 career points with 300 rebounds and 300 assists after dishing out three dimes on Nov. 24 vs. James Madison. Tonya Lane (1987-91), Kim Evans (1992-96), and Lateesha Hill (1996-00) are the others. Diamond is currently 7th on WSU's all-time scoring list with 1,421 points. She needs 5 points to crack the Top 5.

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