ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — Wichita State coach Jody Adams saved her best moves for last on Sunday.
Following the Shockers’ 73-49 win over Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game, the usually-reserved Adams broke out in a victory dance during the on-court celebration.
Her slick disco-like gyrations brought a scream of delight from the players.
“I only do it after championships,” Adams said. “It’s got to be for something special.”
Alex Harden and Jamillah Bonner each scored 21 points to lead Wichita State to a 73-49 win against Drake in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on Sunday.
Alie Decker had 12 points and Michelle Price added 11 points and nine rebounds for the second-seeded Shockers (26-6), who won the tournament for the second year in a row.
Adams started the dance tradition last season after her team won the MVC tournament to gain its first NCAA tournament berth.
“She told us earlier in the season, if we want to see her do it, we’d have to win the tournament,” Decker said. “That was our motivation.”
Harden was selected as tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for the second successive season. Her critique of Adams’ effort was a little harsh.
“It was better the way she did it last year,” Harden said. “But at least we made her do it again this time.”
Lizzy Wendell led fifth-seeded Drake (17-15) with 20 points. Kyndal Clark added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Harden was 9 for 19 from the floor and had eight assists.
Wichita State used a 23-8 run over the final 8:34 of the first half to take a 45-28 lead.
Hardin, the two-time MVC Defensive Player of the Year, scored twice from long range and Bonner added a baseline jumper to start the run. Price chipped in with a three-point play to push the lead to 33-20.
Drake, which upset top-seeded Indiana State in Saturday’s semifinals, never got closer than 17 points in the second half.
“The thing that we’re going to take out of this is we’re not that far off,” Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “We’ve grown a lot over this year.”
The Shockers, who beat Drake twice in the regular season, have won four in a row after dropping three straight from Feb. 23-March 1.
Wichita State lost to Texas A&M 71-45 in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament in its first appearance.