Three 2014 NCAA Tournament teams, including Tennessee, Florida Gulf Coast and Winthrop, and a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam, highlight the 2014-15 Wichita State women’s basketball non-conference schedule, Head Coach Jody Adams announced today.
“I'm really pleased with our non-conference schedule and the excitement and challenges it brings to our program,” Adams said. “I believe if you want to be the best, you need to play the best, and you see the greatness of programs throughout our non-conference schedule with rich tradition in women basketball.”
Wichita State opens the 2014-15 season against former Missouri Valley Conference member Creighton Nov. 15 in Wichita. The Shockers and the Bluejays last met during the 2012-13 season with each team winning the home game of the series. The Bluejays went 20-14 overall and 12-6 in the Big East Conference and lost at South Dakota State in the first round of the WNIT.
The Shockers then travel to Eastern Washington for a Nov. 18 tilt in Cheney, Washington. The Eagles went 16-14 overall and 12-8 in the Big Sky Conference to finish fourth.
WSU returns home for a game against Texas-Arlington Nov. 22. The Mavericks will bring a roster of 10 juniors and five freshmen to Wichita.
Wichita State travels to the 15th Annual U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam for the second time in history Nov. 27-29, facing Florida Gulf Coast on the opening day at the 4,000-seat UVI Sports and Fitness Center. FGCU returns two of its top three scorers from a year ago when the Eagles went 26-8 overall and 17-1 in the Atlantic Sun. FGCU lost to Oklahoma State, 61-60 in OT, in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
Ohio State, a team that went 17-18 in 2013-14 is the Shockers’ second day opponent Nov. 28, while Clemson and the Shockers hook up Nov. 29 in the tournament’s final day.
The Shockers also played in the Paradise Jam during the 2008-09 season.
“The Paradise Jam schedule gives us a preview of an MVC tournament format in preparing to play three games back-to-back-to-back,” Adams said. “Not knowing in great depth about these programs, you can look at their conference and know they play the best of the best, so we had better be prepared to play and win huge games one at a time away from the comfort of our Shocker fans and Koch Arena.”
The traditional School House Rocks with the Shocks game returns again as WSU takes on Arkansas Pine Bluff in a noon game, Fri., Dec. 5. Local elementary schools are invited to attend the game which provides for a rowdy atmosphere.
“The School House Rocks with the Shocks lets me honestly tell my recruits that they will play in front of 10,000 people in your career here at Wichita State,” Adams said. “You see some very big smiles in the arena that day and it is an awesome event for our elementary schools and community kids! I believe in starting young and sharing with our youth of Wichita that you have an amazing university in your own back yard. If they love the experience, they will share it with others and their family and hopefully the end dream for them is they all will be a Shocker and supporter.”
After an eight-day break, Wichita State plays host to Kansas State, which went 11-19, 5-13 in the Big 12 a year ago. The Wildcats will be playing under first-year head coach Jeff Mittie.
The Shockers then travel to Tennessee Dec. 16, which returns four starters and nine of 10 letterwinners from last season's 29-6 SEC Tournament Championship team, and was ranked No. 3 in Charle Crème's April 21 espnW Pre-Preseason Top 25. Tennessee lost to Maryland at the Louisville Regional, 73-62, to finish the 2013-14 season.
WSU Head Coach Jody Adams and assistant coach Bridgette Gordon, both won NCAA titles as Lady Vol players. Adams’ home town is Cleveland, Tenn., where she attended Bradley County High School before playing at UT, where she was the starting point-guard on the Lady Vols' 1991 NCAA national championship team, and won four Southeastern Conference titles as a player from 1990-93. Gordon led the Lady Volunteers to the Final Four in each of her four seasons and brought back national championships in 1987 and 1989 and has her number retired and hanging in the rafters in Thompson-Boling Arena.
“Of course there is a lot of emotion in the Tennessee game for Bridgette and I,” Adams said. “Our experience at UT helped align us with the opportunity we are in today here at Wichita State.
“Pat Summitt and Holly Warlick taught us a great deal about mentoring, and implementing greatness and winning ways into young women. So, to be back at home and share our players and our style of play with long-time Lady Vols’ fans is a dream come true.
“The fans we grew up in front of will now see Pat and Holly's teachings in our own players. There is a unique sisterhood at Tennessee and I want nothing but more for my players at Wichita State!
“We now know at Wichita State that winning Championships is in our program’s DNA like it was in Bridgette's and I at UT! We look forward to competing against the most historic program in the nation, and against the finest coach's legacy I know, in Coach Pat Summitt.”
Wichita State will host the Shocker Winter Classic for the second time in as many years, highlighted by Big South champion Winthrop, which lost to Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. On Dec. 20 WSU plays the Eagles, which are coming off their first conference title and first NCAA tournament appearance.
The Shockers face Louisiana-Monroe in the nightcap Dec. 19, while Winthrop and ULM also play George Mason in each day’s opening game.
The Shockers then round-out the non-conference schedule with a home game Dec. 28 against Sam Houston State, which returns leading scorer and All-Southland Conference senior Angela Beadle.
Wichita State will have one exhibition game Nov. 2 against Newman University in Charles Koch Arena as the Shockers open the seventh season under Coach Adams.
“It has taken time to get this program ready for the challenge of this schedule, and no matter what, lessons will be learned and experience will be gained as we look forward to preparing for some of the best teams in the country,” Adams said. “This will be a beneficial guide for myself and staff for the near future and future of this program as a whole.”
Adams coached the 2013-14 Shockers to their second-straight Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and post-season titles, while collecting a school-record 26 wins and earning a berth into the NCAA Tournament for the second-consecutive season.
The Shockers also earned the program’s first-ever national ranking, entering the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll on Feb. 11, 2014 at No. 24. WSU had the best start to the conference season in program history (12-0) and did not lose a game in December (6-0) or January (8-0).
The Missouri Valley Conference schedule will be released by the conference office in the coming weeks.
Times and dates are subject to change.