The RoundHouse | 11/30/2022 9:07:00 PM
By Paul Suellentrop
During her perfect shooting night, DJ McCarty produced a near-perfect five-minute stretch of well-rounded basketball that turned Wednesday’s game.
Wichita State defeated Denver 61-54 on at Koch Arena by outscoring the Pioneers 20-11 in the final period. The Shockers (6-1) won their fifth straight game with McCarty making all eight of her shots, one a three-pointer, and both free throws attempted. She finished with 19 points, five assists, two steals and two turnovers.
“She had some great takes right down the middle,” Wichita State coach Keitha Adams said. “She really attacked. She got in the paint. She hit some jumpers, some floaters.”
McCarty, a junior guard, packed the highlight video early in the fourth quarter. The Shockers had a chance to build a lead in the third quarter before Denver (2-5) ended the third on a 6-0 run to grab a 43-41 lead.
Wichita State took a 44-43 lead early in the fourth and McCarty took over with her speed and shooting touch.
Her steal and layup made it 46-43. She hit a fast-break jumper and then lofted a well-placed pass to Trajata Colbert for a layup and a 50-43 lead. McCarty followed that by driving into the Denver zone and finding Nhug Bosch Duran for a three-pointer and a 53-44 lead with 5:10 to play.
“I looked up and we didn’t have a lot of transition points, and that’s normal for us,” she said. “So, I was pushing it in transition, knowing that people can’t really stay in front of me.”
With the Shockers up nine, McCarty grabbed another steal. While it didn’t lead to points, the Shockers kept possession for more than a minute, thanks to two offensive rebounds by Colbert.
Denver cut the lead to four points twice in the final minute. McCarty and Bosch Duran both hit free throws to push the lead back to six.
McCarty didn’t do everything at a fast pace. She also patiently manipulated the Pioneers zone, twice waving Bosch Duran into the corner to take a defender away from Colbert and free her close to the basket.
“I was trying to get some pressure off (Trajata) to get her some easy looks,” McCarty said.
McCarty made almost all the right choices on Wednesday, an effort marred only by the two turnovers and a technical foul in the final seconds for responding to some verbal jousting.
“She has become a very good leader,” Colbert said. “She gets us into our plays well.”
No bad shots. No charging fouls. On the break, she got to the right spots for her layups or floaters. In the halfcourt, she set up teammates.
“I think I’ve learned a lot as when to make the right pass, or when to stop and pull up, or when to pull a floater so I don’t get a charge,” she said.
McCarty, in Adams’ view took control because she stayed in control. Wichita State coaches are also structuring their rotations to keep McCarty fresh. She played 27 minutes because Adams sees a connection between fatigue and mistakes.
“DJ’s a lot better player when she has good body control,” Adams said. “When she starts getting on the floor and lunging, her game is different when that happens. I think she’s getting better with that.”
Paul Suellentrop writes about Wichita State athletics for university Strategic Communications. Story suggestion? Contact him at email@example.com.
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