Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MVC Women: Illinois State Upsets No. 2 Seed Creighton

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MVC Women: Illinois State Upsets No. 2 Seed Creighton

Article excerpt

ST. CHARLES The program Jody Adams inherited at Wichita State was buried at the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference five years ago lacking any tradition to indicate a turnaround was possible.

She embarked on a slow, steady climb and Saturday moved within one victory of completing the task with a 75-71 overtime win over Northern Iowa in the semifinals of the MVC tournament at the Family Arena.

Loaded with seniors, the Shockers will attempt to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth Sunday when they take on Illinois State at 2 p.m.

Wichita State trailed by 11 at halftime and was forced into overtime by an NIU 3-pointer with six seconds left in regulation but never buckled under the pressure.

We knew we werent going to take a loss, senior guard Jessica Diamond said. It was the look in everyones eyes. We were locked in and ready to go. Maybe in the past it would have been a blank stare, but we had everyone focused.

Sophomore guard Alex Harden scored a career-high 28 points, including 19 after halftime, to lead the Shockers comeback.

Wichita State (23-9) continued to build on its school record victory total in its first season as the tournaments No. 1 seed.

The year before Adams arrived, the Shockers finished 3-15 in the MVC. They have improved every season since, posting records of 4- 14, 8-10, 10-8, 12-6 and 15-3.

Its taken a long time to get where we are, Adams said. It hasnt been just this season. Its been about these players growing up in our environment, in our program. This is what you prepare for, sometimes for years, a chance to play for a championship.

Harden had nine points before she completed a three-point play with 11 minutes left. She scored 14 points in the second half to fuel the comeback. Diamond had only two points in the first half and finished with 15.

The Shockers shot 31 percent from the field in the first half and made half of their free throws. They turned to rebounding and defense in the second half and quickly made a move. …

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