Women’s basketball weekend recaps

Nick Beach

Friday: Shockers lose close one to Bradley

Taquandra Mike is stepping into a veteran role on a young Wichita State team. 

The junior guard has been a vocal leader for the Shockers this season. On Friday she let actions do the talking. 

Mike scored 13 points, including two pivotal three-pointers that kept the effort of her squad spirited through the final minutes. Wichita State lost Friday to Bradley, 55-50.

“[Mike] is a rhythm player,” WSU head coach Jody Adams said. “When you find her in rhythm, whether one second on the clock or 29 seconds on the clock, she can score in bunches. She’s a very gifted offensive player.”

Mike played with a different kind of tenacity that has been steadily growing as the season has progressed. 

She posted 13 first-half points, three rebounds, a block and two steals to send her team into halftime tied at 24 points with the Braves. 

The Shockers, feeding off Mike’s first-half performance, looked steadily for opportunities to pull ahead and take the lead. To no avail the team couldn’t seize the opportunities. 

“We were lacking tempo,” Adams said. 

WSU made one of nine shot attempts to start the third quarter. 

A layup by freshman Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage ended a nearly six minute WSU scoring drought and the Shockers pulled to within three points of Bradley. 

Out of a WSU timeout, Adams reiterated to her group they were still in the game and if their efforts on defense could continue to hang around long enough, the offense would do their part. 

Two free throws from Rangie Bessard gave the Shockers their first lead of the second half — a narrow one-point lead. 

Mike decided it wasn’t enough, she threw up a three-point basket to beat the buzzer and the Shockers entered the fourth-quarter with a four-point lead over the Braves. 

“When we play as a team, and move around and keep the ball moving on offense and defense, we are great together,” Mike said.  

The Shockers’ fourth-quarter efforts weren’t enough. WSU fell to the Braves for their 10th conference loss of the season. 

Sunday: WSU rallies past Loyola in overtime victory

Sophomore forward Rangie Bessard is learning a lot about trust. 

It’s a part of her game she has been challenged with by head coach Jody Adams — to trust her teammates, trust her coaches and more importantly, to trust herself.

On Sunday, Bessard trusted herself and her shot — she scored 26 points on 11 baskets as Wichita State defeated Loyola 65-62 in overtime.

“For [Bessard] to be able to mentally do that says a lot about her,” Adams said. 

The crowd was behind Bessard from the early-going as she connected from three-point range in the first quarter, forcing Loyola to a timeout. Bessard’s five points on back-to-back baskets gave the Shockers their first lead of the game after trailing by seven.

Koch Arena joined in with the excitement of Adams’s group.Bessard led with 15 first-half points. 

The Shockers held on to a two-point lead at the end of the third quarter. Adams instilled confidence in her players as they contested through a challenging fourth quarter. 

The Shocker defense swooped in on the Ramblers. Loyola shot 46 percent on 26 shots in the second half as the Shockers boasted a 59 percent shooting percentage on 22 shots. 

The Ramblers battled back and reclaimed a fourth-quarter lead. A three-point basket by Taquandra Mike would tie the game with one minute and 38 seconds remaining. 

Mike collected back-to-back rebounds to hold off Loyola and send things to overtime. 

Bessard would swish two free throws as overtime expired — the Shockers won in Koch Arena in thrilling fashion. 

“I was kind of feeling it tonight,” Bessard said. “I really played hard tonight and I trusted my shot.” 

Bessard’s 26 points finished a point below her season high. It’s a standout performance for the sophomore, but it’s a growing case for her and her teammates to perform up to the level of their opponents. 

“As we continue to grow and come together we can be a powerful team,” Bessard said. “We all have the IQ. We all have the capability. We’re ready to take care of these next two games and progress to the (MVC) tournament.” 

For Adams, this one means a lot.

“This one we’ll remember for a long time,” Adams said. “I’m very happy for this team to put a whole game together.”

The Shockers compete next on the road against Evansville. Tip is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.