EMPORIA, Kan. -- It was appropriate that the biggest women's basketball game in the MIAA was played after all the others had finished on Saturday, Jan. 7. Both No. 13 Pittsburg State and No. 19 Emporia State came into the game unbeaten in league play, but only one would remain that way when leaving White Auditorium. This time, the 66-60 win went to the Gorillas, improving them to 14-0 overall and 8-0 in MIAA play. The Lady Hornets fall to 10-2 overall and 6-1 in the league.
It was a great team win for the Gorillas, as different players stepped up at different points in the game. Brooke Conley led all players with 17 points, 11 in the fist half alone, including eight in the last 4:36 of the first half. Jeronimus added 14 points, 10 in the first half and the remaining four in the last minute of the game. Jeronimus also lead the team with eight rebounds and six assists. Alexa Bordewick added 12 points, 10 in the second half, while Larissa Richards scored all 10 of her points in the second half.
The Gorillas improved from 30 percent shooting in the first half to 40 percent in the second. The Lady Hornets fell from a 37 percent shooting percentage in the first half to just 27 in the second. The Gorillas shot nearly 91 percent from the free throw line, including a perfect 11-for-11 in the second half. Emporia State hit only 67 percent of its charity shots, hitting only two more than the Gorillas overall, despite going to the line 11 more times in the game.
PSU also handled the ball very well, committing only six turnovers on the night, a season low. As a team they had 12 assists, 11 blocked shots (including a team-high six by Lauren Brown) and three steals.
Pitt State did not score its first point of the game until Tate hit the second of two free throws with 16:50 to go in the opening half. Jeronimus hit the team's first shot from the floor, a three, with 15:18 on the clock, breaking a 9-1 Hornet run.
Emporia State was able to maintain a comfortable lead until Conley and Jeronimus took over the game. The Gorilla defense allowed the Lady Hornets only six points in the last five minutes of the half, while Conley and Jeronimus combined for 15 points to tie the game at 29-29 at the half.
Pitt State shot only 30 percent in the first half and 29 percent from three-point range, while the Hornets shot 37 percent over all and 33 percent from beyond the arc.
The second half continued to be a battle, but with the help of Richards' first points of the game, the Gorillas were able to earn a 40-35 lead by the under 15 minute media timeout.
Emporia State was able to reduce the Pitt State lead to one, 44-43 with 9:32 to go, Roberts fueled a Gorilla run with her first points of the game and the Gorilla defense held the Lady Hornets scoreless for nearly four minutes and held the without a shot from the floor from 10:00 to 4:03. After the four minute mark, ESU wouldn't get closer than four points, ensuring the unblemished Gorilla record.
With the win, the Gorillas have now won four straight games over the Lady Hornets, dating back to Feb. 17, 2010 in Pittsburg. It is only the second time in school history the Gorillas have won four consecutive over Emporia State.
Pittsburg State will return to Pittsburg for both games next week. The team will face No. 20 Washburn at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11, and Fort Hays State at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 14.