the republic logo

Wichita State still winless in NCAA Tournament after 78-66 loss to California

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

BERKELEY, California — More than the sting of another NCAA Tournament loss, Jody Adams hurt for her players, the seniors who believed they could turn around Wichita State's program and stuck by her through the tough moments.

The Shockers are still winless on women's basketball's biggest stage, yet Adams knows they're closing the gap.

Reshanda Gray had 22 points and nine rebounds as Wichita State tried every which way to defend her, and fourth-seeded California beat the 13th-seeded Shockers 78-66 on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Haas Pavilion.

"I'm probably not thinking about the loss, I'm thinking about the loss of the three seniors," Adams said. "This loss doesn't define Wichita State's program. They're creating history, which has never been there, which is winning championships."

Alex Harden scored 22 points in her final collegiate game and Michaela Dapprich had 16 for Wichita State (29-5), which had won 12 in a row.

The Shockers used a 9-0 run spanning 2 minutes, 44 seconds, to close to 47-43 on a 3-pointer by Dapprich with 12:54 left. But she picked up her fourth foul 30 seconds later.

Champions of the Missouri Valley Conference, Wichita State has never won an NCAA Tournament game in making appearances for three straight years.

"We've had three chances at it and we haven't won yet. We have to figure out how to do that," Harden said. "You come here to compete, you come here to win."

Pac-12 Player of the Year Gray received a rousing standing ovation as she took a seat in the waning moments, and then pounded her chest in delight as the backups took over. Brittany Boyd followed her to the bench to roars 30 seconds later.

"We showed a ton of resolve," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said, "Trying to be a little better at what we do than what they are at what they do."

The Bears will face fifth-seeded Texas (23-10) on Sunday night for a spot in the Albany Regional after the Longhorns held off No. 12 seed Western Kentucky 66-64 in the first game.

Boyd's two free throws with 11:48 remaining stopped a scoring drought of 4:11 for Cal. After a defensive stop, Gray delivered the next time down and the Bears found their groove again. Jefflo's 3-pointer with 8:58 to go put Cal back up by 10 at 57-47.

As athletic as Wichita State is with that attacking defense that defines this group, the Shockers couldn't stop Gray and Co. in the paint. Mikayla Cowling added 11 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Bears and Gabby Green had 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists, who had the backing of 2,079 in the home crowd while shooting 51.6 percent in the first half on their way to a 10-point lead at the break.

Of Gray, Adams said: "We tried fronting her, we tried sandwiching her, we tried playing behind. She's a pro. She finished in the paint with three people around her."

PHOTO: California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, left, talks with her players during a timeout against Wichita State during the first half of a women's college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Berkeley, Calif., Friday, March 20, 2015.  (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, left, talks with her players during a timeout against Wichita State during the first half of a women's college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Berkeley, Calif., Friday, March 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

With Wichita State allowing opponents only 51 points, good for fourth in the nation, Gottlieb prepared her team by using examples from Arizona State's swarming defense. Taking care of the ball was the No. 1 priority.

Cal committed 15 turnovers but held a 38-27 rebounding advantage as the teams met for the first time.


HARDEN'S HURRAH

Gottlieb made a point to stop Harden and congratulate her on a spectacular career.

"I grabbed her at the end of the handshake line and said, 'You could play anywhere,'" Gottlieb said.

Harden shot 7 for 11 and added four steals in her final collegiate game.

Adams didn't need to say much about what Harden meant to the program: "The best."


TIP-INS

Wichita State: The Shockers allowed their most points all season. ... Adams is 0-4 in the NCAA Tournament after also making one appearance guiding Murray State. ... Wichita State didn't substitute the entire first half, going to the bench for the first time with 16:57 remaining. ... The Shockers were outrebounded for only the 12th time all season.

California: Gottlieb is 7-3 coaching Cal in the NCAA Tournament. ... Boyd, still with a bruise under her right eye from an elbow during the Pac-12 Tournament, was briefly shaken by a hit to the face with 17:35 left. "I'm built to run through a wall," she said. ... This marks the Bears' first time playing an NCAA Tournament home game since the 1991-92 season.

UP NEXT

Wichita State's season is over.

California faces Texas on Sunday night.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2015 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.