Gorillas Wrap up '17 With Home Date vs. ESU - KOAM TV 7

Gorillas Wrap up '17 With Home Date vs. ESU



PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University women's basketball team will travel to Emporia, Kan., Saturday (Dec. 30) for a non-conference match-up against MIAA rival Emporia State University. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. (CST) at William L. White Auditorium in downtown Emporia.

The Records
The Gorillas enter Saturday's action with a 9-3 overall record.

Pitt State opened its 2017-18 season with a pair of emphatic NCAA Division II Central Region wins over Concordia-St. Paul (80-61) and Minnesota State (84-60) at the Central Region Challenge at Municipal Auditorium at Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 10-11.

The Gorillas followed that up with two more wins at the UCM Classic at Warrensburg, Mo., against Arkansas Fort Smith (78-63) and William Jewell (62-42) on Nov. 18-19. Pitt State extended its winning streak with a pair of road wins in Colorado over Regis (73-61) and Colorado Mines (60-50) Nov. 24-25.

Pitt State, the defending MIAA regular-season champion, dropped a hard fought 97-95 overtime decision to Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 30 as well a 75-70 decision to Fort Hays State on Dec. 2.

The Gorillas bounced back with a pair of home victories – 87-75 over Lindenwood on Dec. 7 and 69-47 over Lincoln on Dec. 9. Pitt State dropped a 58-49 road decision to Arkansas Fort Smith on Dec. 18, before bouncing back with an 84-35 home win over Oklahoma Wesleyan Wednesday (Dec. 27).

ESU has a 7-3 overall record. The Lady Hornets dropped a 92-73 road decision to Lindenwood in their most recent action on Dec. 18. The loss snapped a modest five-game winning streak.

Head Coach Lane Lord
Lane Lord is in his 11th year as head women's basketball coach at Pittsburg State University.

Lord has compiled a 217-98 (.689) record in his tenure at Pitt State, including five trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament and the program's first two Elite Eight appearances. He has led the Gorillas to four straight NCAA Tournament berths (2014-17) and his Pitt State program has averaged 24.7 wins during the past six seasons (2012-17), compiling a 148-43 record.

Lord has been honored as the MIAA Coach of the Year five times (2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017) and he has been selected the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year three times (2009, 2012, 2017).

Saturday's action will be Lord's 17th meeting vs. ESU. He has a 10-16 record against the Lady Hornets.

Series History
Saturday's action will be the 88th all-time meeting between the Gorillas and Lady Hornets. ESU holds a 58-29 advantage in the series.

The Lady Hornets claimed three victories over the Gorillas during the 2016-17 season.  ESU defeated Pitt State, 78-70, on Dec. 31, 2016 in Pittsburg in a non-conference game played before 2,208 fans. The Lady Hornets added a 77-67 home win on Jan. 18, 2017, and ESU ended Pitt State's season with a 65-57 victory in the NCAA-II National Tournament at Searcy, Ark., on Mar. 11, 2017.

Scouting the Gorillas
The Gorillas enter Saturday's action averaging 74.2 points per game and shooting 42.2 percent from the field.

Pitt State has four players scoring in double figures on the season: senior guard Mikaela Burgess (15.9 ppg), junior guard Brenlee McPherson (10.6 ppg), senior guard Paige Imhoff (10.3 ppg) and junior guard/forward Shelby Lopez (10.3 ppg).

Burgess is averaging a team-leading 15.9 points per game. She also is contributing 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Burgess, who ranks fourth in the MIAA in scoring, scored a team-high 21 points in Pitt State's season opening win over Concordia-St. Paul on Nov. 10 and she posted 31 points in the Gorillas' OT loss to Nebraska-Kearney Nov. 30.

Burgess averaged 16.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game as a junior in 2016-17, earning first-team All-MIAA and first-team All-America honors. The Webb City, Mo., native hit 86 3-pointers, leading the MIAA in 3-point field goals and ranking fourth in the conference in scoring.

She has compiled 1,579 career points and 275 career 3-point field goals.Burgess has averaged 14.4 points in 110 career games for the Gorillas. She climbed into sixth place on Pitt State's career scoring list with her 13-point effort against Lincoln on Dec. 9. She needs six points to pass Kelly Krumsick (1980-83, 1584 pts.) for fifth place on the list.

McPherson is averaging 10.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field (37-82). She is fourth in the MIAA in free throw percentage to date (.893, 25-28).

McPherson, a Carl Junction, Mo., native, shot 45.7 percent from the field last season, averaging 6.4 points per game. She averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while making her first two starts of the season Dec. 7-9.

She has averaged 5.4 points in 68 career games for the Gorillas.

Imhoff has contributed 10.3 points and an MIAA-leading 6.2 assists per game from the point guard position. She also has averaged 2.6 steals per game, ranking second in the MIAA in that category. Imhoff dished out 11 assists against Minnesota State (Nov. 11) and she scored a career-high 19 points against Regis (Nov. 24).

Imhoff averaged 2.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per game and dished out 38 assists last season. The Smithville, Mo., native has played in 93 career games, averaging 3.0 points per game.

Lopez is averaging 10.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. She has knocked down 22 of 61 3-point field goal attempts early in the season, converting 36.1 percent of her long-range shots.

Lopez contributed 9.2 points per game while earning honorable mention All-MIAA honors in 2016-17. The Wichita native hit 69 3-pointers, shooting a team-leading 38.1 percent from long range (69-181). She ranked third in the MIAA in 3-point field goals.

Additionally, Pitt State has two players averaging between 6.3 and 8.7 points per game: junior forward Madison Northcutt (8.7 ppg) and sophomore forward Athena Alvarado (6.3 ppg).

Northcutt is contributing 8.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game thus far, ranking third in the MIAA in rebounding. She is shooting 50.0 percent from the field and she leads the squad with 32 offensive rebounds (2.7 pg).

Northcutt averaged 11.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game a year ago. The Wichita, Kan., native shot a team-best 54.9 percent from the field, making 129 of 235 shots from the floor.

Northcutt ranked fifth in the MIAA in rebounding while earning honorable mention All-MIAA honors. She has averaged 7.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in 72 career games for the Gorillas.

Alvarado is scoring 6.3 points and grabbing 3.8 rebounds per game on the season. She also has blocked 18 shots, ranking fifth in the MIAA in blocked shots (1.5 bpg).

Alvarado, a Wichita, Kan., native, shot 57.9 percent from the field in her rookie campaign for the Gorillas, converting 81 of 140 shots and scoring 6.2 points per game. She also blocked a team-leading 29 shots on the year.

Redshirt freshman guard Maya Williams (4.5 ppg), sophomore guard Meghan Maher (4.1 ppg) and junior forward Elena Flott (3.6 ppg) all are averaging more than three points a game.

Recent Action: Pitt State 84, Okla. Wesleyan 35
Mikaela Burgess paced three Pitt State players in double figures with 19 points as the Gorillas defeated Oklahoma Wesleyan, 84-35, Wednesday (Dec. 27) at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court.

Pitt State jumped out to a 21-9 first quarter lead and the Gorillas expanded their margin to 30 points, 41-11, at halftime. The Eagles made just four of 25 shots in the opening 20 minutes of action.

Burgess made five 3-pointers as Pitt State made 14 treys as a team in the contest. Madison Northcutt added 13 points and Brenlee McPherson chipped in with 11. Paige Imhoff dished out a team-leading nine assists as the Gorillas made 50 percent of their shots for the game (29 of 58).

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    23    Brenlee McPherson, 5-11, Jr., Carl Junction, Mo.
    F    32    Madison Nortcutt, 5-11, Jr., Wichita, Kan.
    G    11    Shelby Lopez, 6-0, Jr., Wichita, Kan.
    G    14    Paige Imhoff, 5-10, Sr., Smithville, Mo.  
    G    15    Mikaela Burgess, 5-7, Sr., Webb City, Mo.

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