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Gorillas Aim for 7th Straight @ Northwest - KOAM TV 7

Gorillas Aim for 7th Straight @ Northwest

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RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University women's basketball team will seek to build on a six-game winning streak when the Gorillas hit the road for a pair of MIAA contests this week.

The Gorillas will travel to Maryville, Mo., Thursday (Feb. 15) to take on Northwest Missouri State University at Bearcat Arena at 5:30 p.m. (CST) and then head to St. Joseph, Mo., Saturday (Feb. 17) for a 2 p.m. match-up at the MWSU Fieldhouse against Missouri Western State University.

The Records
The Gorillas enter Thursday's action with a 19-5 overall record and a 12-3 mark in MIAA play.  Pitt State has won six straight games to secure sole possession of second place in the conference standings.

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 opened the season with six straight wins before the defending MIAA regular season champions dropped a hard fought 97-97 overtime decision to Nebraska-Kearney in the MIAA opener on Nov. 30.

Pitt State has won 10 of its last 11 games dating back to a 79-56 home win over Missouri Western on Jan. 3.

NWMSU is 3-20 overall and 2-13 in the MIAA play. The Bearcats, who are 13th in the conference standings, have dropped three straight games, including an 84-54 road loss to Washburn last Saturday (Feb. 10) at Topeka.

MWSU is 11-13 overall and 4-11 in MIAA play, sitting in 12th place in the conference standings. The Griffons have dropped two straight games heading into a Wednesday (Feb. 14) home contest against Missouri Southern.

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 227-100 (.694) 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).

Thursday's action will be Lord's 22nd meeting vs. NWMSU. He has a 15-6 record agaisnt the Bearcats. Saturday's contest will mark Lord's 19th battle with MWSU. He has a 12-6 slate against the Griffons.

Series History
Thursday's action will be the 56th all-time meeting between the Gorillas and Bearcats. Pitt State holds a 35-20 advantage in the series, including a 78-53 decision in the most recent match-up on Jan. 6, 2018, at John Lance Arena.  

The Gorillas and Griffons will meet for the 78th time Saturday. Western holds a 51-26 advantage in the series, but the Gorillas have claimed four straight wins over the course of the past three seasons.  Pitt State downed the Griffons 79-56 in Pittsburg on Jan. 3.

Scouting the Gorillas
The Gorillas enter Thursday's action averaging 74.8 points per game and shooting 43.8 percent from the field.

Pitt State has three players scoring in double figures on the season: senior guard Mikaela Burgess (16.3 ppg), junior guard/forward Shelby Lopez (11.1 ppg) and senior guard Paige Imhoff (10.1 ppg).

Burgess is averaging a team-leading 16.3 points per game. She also is contributing 3.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Burgess, who ranks seventh 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 was named the MIAA Player of the Week Monday after averaging 23.0 points in a pair of victories by the Gorillas last week.  She scored 26 points and hit seven 3-pointers against SBU last Saturday (Feb. 10) to break into NCAA Division II's all-time top 25 list for career 3-point field goals (316).

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 1,780 career points and 316 career 3-point field goals.Burgess, who ranks as the fifth highest leading active scorer in NCAA Division II this season, has averaged 14.6 points in 122 career games for the Gorillas. She climbed into fourth place on Pitt State's career scoring list with her 28-point effort against Washburn on Jan. 20.

Lopez is averaging 11.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. She has knocked down 46 of 121 3-point field goal attempts on the season, converting 38.0 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.

Lopez has scored 695 points (7.7 ppg) and made 149 3-point field goals in 90 career games for the Gorillas.

Imhoff has contributed 10.1 points and an MIAA-leading 6.1 assists per game from the point guard position. She also has averaged 2.3 steals per game, ranking second in the MIAA in that category.

Imhoff posted her first career double double with 15 points and 11 assists against Lindenwood on Jan. 13. She also 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 103 career games, averaging 3.6 points per game.

Additionally, Pitt State has three players averaging between 7.4 and 9.6 points per game:  junior guard Brenlee McPherson (9.6 ppg), junior forward Madison Northcutt (8.7 ppg) and sophomore forward Athena Alvarado (7.4 ppg).

McPherson is averaging 9.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 44.9 percent from the field (79-176). She also leads the team in free throw percentage (.864, 44-52).

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 5.9 points in 82 career games for the Gorillas.

Northcutt is contributing 8.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, ranking third in the MIAA in rebounding. She is shooting 53.4 percent from the field and she leads the squad with 60 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 6.9 rebounds in 89 career games for the Gorillas.

Alvarado is scoring 7.4 points and grabbing 3.4 rebounds per game on the season. She also has blocked 29 shots, ranking seventh in the MIAA in blocked shots (1.2 bpg). She scored a career-high 20 points against Central Oklahoma (Jan. 25).

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 (4.4 ppg), redshirt freshman guard Maya Williams (3.2 ppg) and junior forward Elena Flott (2.9 ppg) all are averaging at least three points a game.

Maher scored 14 points in the second-half of the Gorillas' come-from-behind win over No. 4 UCM last Wednesday (Feb. 7).

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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