PITTSBURG -- Despite trailing by as 17 points, the Pitt State Women's Basketball team fought back in the second half to lose by two, 68-66, to William Jewell on Wednesday (November 28) evening.
Pitt State committed 19 fouls in the game, including 12 in the first half that helped put the Gorillas in a hole they had a hard time climbing out of.
William Jewell quickly built a double digit lead, going ahead by 11, 13-2, with 14:59 left in the first half. The team's largest lead, 30-13, came at 7:13 on free throws by Rosa Hoff.
Pitt State used that deficit as motivation and went on a 13-0 run, fueled by two threes from Morgan Westhoff and one by Sara Molz, to trail by only four with 4:49 remaining in the opening half. The Gorillas would hold the Cardinals to a lead of eight points or less for the rest of the half and went to the locker room trailing by only six, 39-33.
Lauren Brown sunk two free throws for PSU early in the second half, but neither team was able to hit a shot from the floor until a three by William Jewell's Katlyn Wood with 16:29 in the game.
A Brown jumper and a Drew Roberts three brought Pitt State the closest they had been all game, within two of the Cardinals at 42-40. William Jewell stretched the lead back to five, but back-to-back layups by Kylie Gafford and Hailey Roderique put PSU behind by only one, 47-46 with 13:11 on the clock.
The Cardinals again stretched the lead, but the Gorilas continued to fight back . With under three minutes left, Morgan Westhoff poured in five points on a three and two charity shots. Sharp defensive play and a layup by Lizzy Jeronimus put PSU within one again with 1:29 on the clock.
Jeronimus was called for a foul down low on the other end, but William Jewell's Holly Switzer made only one of the two shots to give Pitt State another chance, down 65-63 with 1:04 left.
The Gorillas missed their shot and Switzer made up for her free throw miss with a three to put the Cardinals up 68-63 and only 16 seconds on the clock.
Pitt State missed its first three-point attempt on the other end, but Westhoff grabbed the offensive rebound and put up another three, sinking it with just three seconds left. The Gorillas forced a turnover on the inbounds pass to have one last shot to win the game, but the last shot fell short, ending in the 68-66 loss.
Pitt State falls to 4-1 on the year, while William Jewell improves to 4-1.
The Gorillas were led by Westhoff who came off the bench to score 16 points. She hit 4-of-8 from three-point range. Lizzy Jeronimus also scored in double figures with 15, nine coming in the second half and seven on perfect 7-for-7 shooting from the charity stripe. Kylie Gafford added nine points off the bench and six rebounds. Lauren Brown and Drew Roberts each scored seven points for the Gorillas. Brown led the Gorillas with nine rebounds.
William Jewell also had two players in double figures. Jessie Wheeler scored 13 and Holly Switzer added 12. Cassy Nicolay was just short of a double-double with nine point and nine rebounds.
The Gorillas will return to action on Saturday at 6 p.m. as the team takes on Quincy in John Lance Arena.