JOPLIN -- The Gorilla women's basketball team earned a 66-63 win over rival Missouri Southern on Wednesday (January 16) night in Joplin.
Despite battling illness, sophomore Lizzy Jeronimus led Pitt State with 24 points on 9-for-10 shooting from the floor and a perfect 5-for-5 performance at the line. Drew Roberts also scored in double figures with 13 points. Morgan Westhoff was just under double figures with eight. She and Roberts each hit two threes in the game. Y'Cedria Devers led all players with seven rebounds.
Missouri Southern also had two double figure scorers. Erin Rice led the team with 14 and Tee Singleton contributed 10.
Pitt State scored the first points of the game on a three by Kylie Gafford. The game stayed tight until the Gorillas went on a 9-0 run from 12:24 to 7:50 to take a 21-8 lead. Missouri Southern worked a run of its own in the last two minutes of the game, outscoring the Gorillas 7-0 to trail by only seven, 31-24 at the half.
The Lions opened the second half strong, cutting the Pitt State lead to one, 35-34 in the first four minutes of the half. Jeronimus was fouled and hit both free throws to stretch the lead back to three, but Tee Singleton nailed a three on the opposite end to tie the game at 37-all. Cathy Brugman answered with a three of her own for Pitt State to give the Gorillas back the lead before the first media timeout of the half.
Missouri Southern was able to cut the lead back to two, but not any closer, as the Gorillas found their shot. A three from Drew Roberts gave Pitt State a seven point lead with 7:25 remaining and forced a Missouri Southern time out.
The Lions brought the game back close, as they were able to hold Pitt State without a shot from the floor from 3:09 to. During that time, the Gorillas made three free throws, but Southern scored nine points to cut the Pitt State lead to three, 64-61 with a minute left in the game. Each team added two more points in the last minute to make the final 66-63.
Pitt State was plagued by fouls in the second half. Both posts Gafford and Lauren Brown had four fouls by the nine minute mark. Brown fouled out with 6:14 left. Brown's fifth foul was the 10th of the half for the Gorillas, putting the Lions in double bonus for the remainder of the game.
Pitt State was able to offset its foul troubles with good three-point shooting as five different players hit threes in the second half alone. The Gorillas finished the game hitting 36 percent from three-point range and 53 percent overall.
After three games on the road, Pitt State will return home for a 1:30 p.m. tip against No. 21 Fort Hays State on Saturday, January 19.