LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Despite trailing by as many as 22 points, the Pitt State Women's Basketball team made a late surge that fell just short as the Gorillas lost to Academy of Art, 82-73 in the opening game of the Las Vegas Challenge at the Orleans Arena.
Lizzy Jeronimus recorded her fifth 20-point game and second double-double of the season as she lead the Gorillas with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Hailey Roderique scored in double figures for the second consecutive game with 18 points. She was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Y'Cedria Devers was just under double figures with nine points.
Academy of Art had two players score 20-plus points and four players in double figures. Regina Camera led all players with 23 points and Jordan Rogers added 20. Zoie Sheng chipped in 11 points, while Alisa Griggs added 10.
The game started at a frantic pace and the Urban Knights were able to build an early lead with a disruptive full court press. That press continued through the game and forced 26 PItt State turnovers, while Academy of Art recorded 16 steals. Twelve of those 16 steals came on four a piece from the trio of Camera, Rogers and Sheng.
Academy of Art built to a nine-point lead, 15-6, with 12:30 in the first half. Pitt State quickly diminished that lead with a 10-0 run to take a 16-15 lead. From there, the lead would volley between the two teams until the Urban Knights worked a 15-3 run in the last 4:37 to take a 42-30 lead at the half.
The second half started w ith a 5-0 Urban Knight run and though Pitt State was able to cut the lead to single digits on a Roderique jumper with 13:42 to go, Academy of Art came back to earn a game-high 22-point lead with 8:06 remaining.
With 7:11 on the clock, Brigit Hesser hit the Gorillas' first three of the game, thus starting Pitt State's late game surge. Pitt State's defense allowed the Urban Knights only one make from the floor for the rest of the game. Any other points the home team scored were off free throws as the Gorillas were forced to foul at the end of the game. In the mean time, Pitt State scored 22 points, including 16 from the floor.
The Gorillas will finish Las Vegas Challenge play against host team Dixie State at 6 p.m. central time on Wednesday, December 19.