Dec. 15, 2011
By Mark Janssen
K-State Sports Extra
Talk about making adjustments, just ask Ashia Woods what it has been like in her first semester as a Kansas State hoopster.
“It’s been wild,” admitted the 5-foot-11 rookie guard. “The pace is so much faster, and then there’s learning the system, but it’s been going pretty well.”
But the change has been more than that. It was at Wichita Collegiate High School that Woods played inside as a power-forward/center, and now at K-State she’s moved outside to an off-guard/small-forward.
“In high school I played inside, but I could also step out and shoot it, which they weren’t expecting,” said Woods. “Now as a two or a three it’s totally different. I knew the plan was to move me outside, but there was no real way to get ready for it without really experiencing it. If I get inside against someone my size I still know what to do, but normally I find way more size in there than I can deal with.”
Of the adjustment in positions, coach Deb Patterson said, “She’s having to learn so much right now, especially at the offensive end of the floor. Defensively, she’s been great. She has great length, quickness and hands, so it’s been fun to watch her growing as a defender with her help-defense and overall awareness.”
Patterson said that while K-State lost games in Cancun last month, it was a time when “… Ashia came out of the Cancun tournament with a real understanding of what she is capable of bringing. It was like a light bulb went on for her. She got into the Purdue game and played lockdown defense, which gave her an opportunity to be on the floor for a sustained period of time, and she has built on that. She truly had one of the great players in the game befuddled.”
And therein lies another considerable change, not to mention adjustment.
It was at Collegiate that Woods was a 22-point per game scorer as a junior and senior. She will say that many of those points came off defensive steals, but there’s still a semi-culture shock to now be averaging 3.6 points per game through K-State’s 6-2 start to the season.
“Defense is my goal right now. I know that the offense will come in time, and I’m fine with that,” said Woods, who was a McDonald’s All-American candidate in high school. “It’s tough because I’m not used to it, but I recognize my role. I know if I take control of what I can control, which is defense, my shots will come later.”
It’s that attitude that brings a smile to Patterson’s face.
“When you’ve been a scorer and then you’re not, it’s real hard,” said the Wildcat coach. “It’s hard to make that transition mentally almost more so than physically when you have the tools she has. But she’s gone hard and been accountable and focused with every pass of the basketball. That’s something she didn’t have to do in high school.”
It seems hard to believe, but Woods is the first Wichita native to play for the K-State women’s team since Margo Jones and Krist Short did so in 1978.
“That’s wild,” said Woods. “To me we Wichita has produced some awfully good players.”
Oh, if one wants one more adjustment to Woods’ life it’s being that student-athlete at the Big 12 level. That’s on the playing floor and in the classroom where she is majoring in civil engineering.
“Right now it’s going OK, but in the future with those higher-level classes I’m not sure what it’s going to be like,” laughed Woods.
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