PITTSBURG, Kan. -- The No. 10 Gorillas (15-1, 9-1) returned to action Saturday (Jan. 14) afternoon playing host to the Fort Hays State Tigers (14-3, 6-3). After a low scoring first half, and a second half where neither team took control of the game, PSU was able to come away with a hard fought overtime victory, 64-55.
The two teams shot a combined .306 (19-62) from the field in the first half, including .000 (0-14) from behind the arc. The Gorillas alone shot .294 (10-34) from the field.
Despite the poor shooting Pitt State held a 23-21 advantage at the break.
Morgan Westhoff ended the Gorillas 3-point shooting struggles with a shot from deep in the corner that found nothing but net with 12:34 left in regulation. PSU used the Westhoff 3-pointer, and a Jeronimus layup on back-to-back possessions to regain a three-point advantage midway through the second half.
With 1:58 left in the contest, Fort Hays' Kaiameka Brown cut through the Pittsburg State defense, giving the Tigers a 50-49 advantage. After two missed free throws by Richards and two made free throws from the Tigers, FHSU led 52-49. On the next Gorilla possession Brooke Conley hit a jumper from the wing that pulled the home team within one point with 58 seconds left. Kimber Weiser hit a layup to put Fort Hays back up three with 34 seconds remaining. Courtney Tate then found an open Drew Roberts who hit her first shot of the game, a 3-point jumper to tie the game at 54 with just 25 ticks on the clock.
Jeronimus committed her fifth foul attempting to block a Fort Hays' layup on the following possession. The foul sent Crista Bechard to the line. After missing her first and a Pitt State time out, her second shot found only found the front of the rim. PSU grabbed the board and Conley got a good look from the top of the key, but the prayer was not answered. The two sides headed to overtime knotted at 54-54.
Roberts hit a clutch three on the first possession of overtime and the Gorillas led the rest of the way. Another Roberts jumper followed by a Conley jumper and free-throw gave the Gorillas a 62-55 advantage with 1:45 left in the extra period. Courtney Tate then found an open Conley in transition for the final score of the game, 64-55.
Four Gorillas finished in double-figures: Jeronimus with 13, Westhoff with 12, Conley with 11, and Richards with 10. Conley finished with her first career double-double, also recording a team high 10 rebounds. After not scoring in the first half, Roberts finished with eight points and five rebounds. Richards added six blocks and three steals. Lauren Brown recorded four rejections. Tate helped the Gorillas defensively with four rebounds, three steals and a block. She also had five assists on the day.
As a team PSU ended up shooting .356 (26- 73) from the field, .211 (4-19) from 3-point territory and .471 (8-17) from the charity stripe. The Gorillas were outrebounded by the Tigers 50-52.
Kate Lehman recorded game highs for the Tigers with 15 points and 15 boards. Bechard finished the game with 12 points. Kimber Weiser and Katelyn Edwards each chipped in with eight points.
Pitt State will return to action Wednesday (Jan. 18) when the Gorillas travel to Tahlequah, Okla. to take on future MIAA Conference foe, No. 12 Northeastern State. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. (CST).