ALBUQUERQUE, N.M (RELEASE) Wichita State dominated third quarter to storm past UC Irvine, 76-53, Sunday afternoon in Dreamstyle Arena to pick up the first win of the Keitha Adams era.
Shockers led from start-to-finish on the final day of the UNM Thanksgiving Tournament and shot nearly 60 percent from the field. They shot a season-best 58 percent (34-59) and held UC Irvine to just 31 percent – a season-low for a Shocker opponent.
Rangie Bessard led all scorers with a season-high 23 points, marking her second straight game with 20 or more points. She was 10-of-15 from the field and also added seven rebounds and season-high four assists.
Angiee Tompkins chipped in 13 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.
The Shocker defense forced the Anteaters to miss 21 of its 26 attempts from beyond the arc. Wichita State outscored UC Irvine in the paint (48-28) and in the fast break department (24-9) and dished out a season-high 20 assists.
UC Irvine (2-5) had just one player in double-digits, Andee Ritter, who finished with 10 points.
The first defensive possession of the game resulted in an Ambrosio steal and score and then Keke Thompson got loose on the next trip to make it 4-0 in the first minute, forcing a UC Irvine timeout.
The Anteaters finally got on the board by hitting 1-of-2 free throws at the 5:32 mark after the Shockers scored the first eight points of the game. UCI missed its first eight shots and made just 3-of-17 in the entire quarter, while the Shockers hit 9-of-14 (64 percent).
After 10 minutes, the Shockers held an 18-11 lead behind eight points from Bessard. Wichita State led by as many as 10 points in the frame, its largest lead of the season through the first six games.
Bessard and Tompkins combined to help the Shockers hold onto a six-point lead with less than four minutes in the half. The Anteaters would strike back with an 8-0 run to pull within a point, 29-28, at the 2:00 mark.
Bessard answered the bell by scoring five straight to extend the lead back to six and then a layup from Thompson at the buzzer sent the Shockers into the locker room with a 36-31 lead. It marked the first time this season Wichita State held a lead at the end of the first half.
The first half belongs to Bessard as she came out on fire. The Rosharon, Texas, native had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lead all players at the break. As a team, WSU shot 59 percent (16-27) and held the Anteaters to 35 percent (11-31).
Twenty-six of the Shockers' 36 first half points came in the paint and they recorded 12 assists on 16 made field goals.
Wichita State pushed its lead back to 10 at the 4:45 mark after a fast break layup from Thompson and five points from Lockhart. Lockhart tallied seven of the team's first 11 points to open the quarter.
A 13-0 run over the span of 3:38 opened up a 62-40 lead to close the quarter. WSU got five straight from Tompkins, a three-pointer from Lozada-Cabbage and a putback from Bessard to blow the game open.
Wichita State bumped its shooting percentage above the 60 percent mark for the game after hitting 11-of-15 in the period. For the quarter, Wichita State outscored UC Irvine, 26-10.
UC Irvine outscored the Shockers in the final 10 minutes, 14-12, but it wouldn't matter. Despite winning the quarter, the Anteaters finished the final 3:25 without a field goal.
Wichita State returns to Charles Koch Arena for the first of two straight home contests beginning with former Missouri Valley Conference foe, Missouri State. The Shockers and Bears will tip at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Nov. 29 on ESPN3.