Young team lands women in fifth

Young+team+lands+women+in+fifth

Evan Pflugradt

Wichita State returns to the Missouri Valley Conference with a brand new look. The Shockers were voted fifth in the MVC preseason poll.

With a mix of off-season transfers and new freshmen, the Shockers are hard to poll; only three Shockers have experience in the Valley from a season ago — Brittany Martin, Jaleesa Chapel and Aundra Stovall.

Head coach Jody Adams is coming off the best record in school history, 29 wins. The Shockers controlled the conference with a program-best 17 MVC wins. Wichita State earned bids to the NCAA tournament in each of the last three seasons.  

Adams faces her toughest challenge this season: her team returns without seven from last year’s roster, including 2015 MVC Player of the Year, three-time MVC Tournament MVP and the program’s all-time leading scorer, Alex Harden.

The Shockers will be challenged in their inexperience in the conference early and often.

“We have a lot of freshmen and a lot of newcomers. They’re going to be pressured by their opponents,” Adams said. “That’s what we did as a veteran group in previous years, we picked on newcomers. Now we’re the newcomers.”

The Shockers’ ranking in the preseason poll is their lowest since the 2010-11 season when they were also ranked fifth. The team ranked first in the preseason polls last season, a first for Wichita State in the 32-year history of the poll.

The Shockers will be challenged as they fight for their fourth-consecutive regular season conference title.

MVC PRESEASON POLL

1. Missouri State

2. Drake

3. Northern Iowa

4. Southern Illinois

5. Wichita State

6. Evansville

7. Indiana State

8. Loyola

9. Bradley

10. Illinois State