Shocker women prepare for rebuilding woes

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -- It's a similar situation for both Wichita State basketball teams: freshmen dominated with two senior leaders. However, only Keitha Adams has called her season a "rebuilding year."

That's not a knock to her team or the program, in fact, it could be a way for her to mold her team to her liking.

Last season, Adams inherited a roster from both Jody Adams-Birch and Linda Hargrove. While it was a talented crop, it did not have her recruitment stamp.

"I really embraced the group we had last year. It felt like my team and I approached it in the same way. The thing that is different is that you established a relationship with these young ladies in the recruiting process to where you know them before they even get to campus," she said. "And that makes it a little bit different."

That could make all of the difference when you have a team made up of nine freshmen, four junior college transfers, and a returning trio of a sophomore and two seniors.

Adams said she and the coaching staff are working on communication with the younger players, and ensuring that everyone is familiar with the playbook and each other.

"I'm telling these guys I'm not treating you like you're freshmen, I'm treating you like you're juniors and seniors. Our expectations are going to be that way and the key is that we get better."

The team will rely heavily on the seniority of returning starting forward Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage, as well as Cesaria Ambrosio.

Lozada-Cabbage finished last season averaging 7.1 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, and a team-high 38 total blocks.

"We're going to need her to lead us in her play, but we're also going to need her to lead us in the locker room," Adams said. "She's been doing a great job for us with that. She's a really positive young lady."

While they need the leading blocker on the court, Adams is more interested in her role as a leader in the locker room, mentoring the next generation of shockers.

"She's a great young lady and I think her goal is to really be a leader in developing the culture that we want as a basketball team, such as how hard we work, how competitive we are, and being great teammates and sisters off the court."

Ambrosio started 24 of 31 games last season in the guard position, averaging 4.3 points per game and totaling 92 assists. She is sidelined at the moment with a fracture in her lower back. The injury is expected to last roughly four more weeks. Adams hopes to have her back by the start of the regular season.