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Gorillas Begin MIAA Grind - KOAM TV 7

Gorillas Begin MIAA Grind

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RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University women's basketball team will return to the friendly confines of John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court for a pair of Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association games this week. The Gorillas will entertain Missouri Western State University Wednesday (Jan. 3) at 5:30 p.m. (CST) and Pitt State will play host to Northwest Missouri State University Saturday (Jan. 6) at 1:30 p.m.

The Records
The Gorillas enter Wednesday's action with a 9-4 overall record and a 2-2 mark in MIAA play.

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 on Dec. 27.

The Gorillas dropped a hard fought 82-75 overtime decision to Emporia State University in a non-conference match-up on Dec. 30.

Missouri Western is 10-3 overall and 3-1 in MIAA play entering Wednesday's action. The Griffons defeated Quincy University, 72-52, in their most recent contest on Dec. 30.

NW Missouri is 1-11 overall and 0-4 in the MIAA entering a Thursday (Jan. 4) road contest against Missouri Southern State University. The Bearcats have dropped nine straight games including a 72-65 road loss to McKendree University in their most recent action on Dec. 18.

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 217-99 (.687) 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).

Wednesday's action will be Lord's 17th meeting vs. Western. He has an 11-6 record against the Griffons. Lord has a 14-6 all-time record against the Bearcats.

Series History
Wednesday's action will be the 78th all-time meeting between the Gorillas and Griffons. Western holds a commanding 51-26 advantage in the series, but Pitt State has won 11 of the last 16 meetings including three straight wins. The Gorillas have won eight of the last nine match-ups in Pittsburg.

The Gorillas and Bearcats will meet for the 55th time Saturday with Pitt State holding a 34-20 advantage in the series. Pitt State has won 10 straight match-ups in the series including six in a row in Pittsburg.

Scouting the Gorillas
The Gorillas enter Wednesday's action averaging 74.3 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), senior guard Paige Imhoff (10.3 ppg), junior guard Brenlee McPherson (10.6 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 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Burgess, who ranks sixth 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 1,595 career points and 278 career 3-point field goals.Burgess has averaged 14.4 points in 111 career games for the Gorillas. She climbed into fifth place on Pitt State's career scoring list with her 16-point effort against ESU on Dec. 30.

Imhoff has contributed 10.3 points and an MIAA-leading 6.1 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 94 career games, averaging 3.1 points per game.

McPherson is averaging 10.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 44.9 percent from the field (40-89). She also leads the team in free throw percentage (.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 69 career games for the Gorillas.

Lopez is averaging 10.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. She has knocked down 23 of 63 3-point field goal attempts early in the season, converting 36.5 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 6.6 and 8.9 points per game: junior forward Madison Northcutt (8.9 ppg) and sophomore forward Athena Alvarado (6.6 ppg).

Northcutt is contributing 8.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game thus far, ranking fourth in the MIAA in rebounding. She is shooting 51.2 percent from the field and she leads the squad with 34 offensive rebounds (2.6 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 7.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in 73 career games for the Gorillas.

Alvarado is scoring 6.6 points and grabbing 3.7 rebounds per game on the season. She also has blocked 19 shots, ranking sixth 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.

Sophomore guard Meghan Maher (4.2 ppg), redshirt freshman guard Maya Williams (4.1 ppg) and junior forward Elena Flott (3.8 ppg) all are averaging more than three points a game.

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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