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PSU Women Open Season in KC

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RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University women's basketball team will embark upon the start of the 2017-18 season Friday and Saturday (Nov. 10-11) when the Gorillas take part in the eight-team Central Region Challenge at historic Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

The Gorillas will make their season debut Friday (Nov. 10) at Noon (CST) against the University of Concordia-St. Paul. Pitt State will conclude the weekend slate with a 7:30 p.m. match-up Saturday against Minnesota State University.

The Records
The Gorillas, the 2016-17 MIAA regular season champions, posted a 25-6 overall record in 2016-17, including a 16-3 mark in MIAA play. Pitt State claimed its first MIAA regular season title since 1996 and qualified for the NCAA Division II National Tournament for a fourth straight season (2014-17).

Concordia-St. Paul posted a 19-10 overall record during the 2016-17 season. The Golden Bears dropped a 73-53 decision to Pitt State on Nov. 12, 2016, in Pittsburg.

Minnesota State recorded a 16-11 overall record a year ago.

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

Lord has compiled a 208-95 (.686) 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).

Friday's action will be Lord's fourth meeting vs. CSP. He's 2-1 against the Golden Bears. This will be Lord's first meeting vs. the Mavericks.

Series History
Pitt State and Concordia-St.Paul will meet for the 4th time Friday. The Gorillas hold a 2-1 advantage in the series. The Gorillas posted an 73-53 victory over Concordia-St. Paul on Nov. 12, 2016 at John Lance Arena. Pitt State and Minnesota State will meet for the first time Saturday.

Scouting the Gorillas
The Gorillas return three players who started 20 or more games in 2016-17 ­– senior guard Mikaela Burgess, junior guard Shelby Lopez and junior forward Madison Northcutt. All three players garnered All-MIAA honors a year ago, while Burgess was a first-team NCAA Division II All-America honoree.

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 and enters the 2017-18 season with 1,388 career points and 242 career 3-point field goals.

She led the MIAA in 3-point field goals (86) and ranked fourth in the conference in scoring (16.6 ppg) a year ago. Burgess has averaged 14.2 points in 98 career games for the Gorillas.Northcutt averaged 11.3 points and 8.6 points 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 6.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 66 career games for the Gorillas.

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.

Pitt State also returns junior guard/forward Brenlee McPherson – who averaged 6.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game a year ago – and sophomore forward Athena Alvarado – who contributed 6.2 points and 3.0 rebounds a game in her debut season.

McPherson, a Carl Junction, Mo., native shot 45.7 percent from the field last season. She has averaged 4.6 points in 60 career games for the Gorillas.

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

Senior guard Paige Imhoff also returns to the backcourt. 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 81 career games, averaging 2.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.

Sophomore guard Meghan Maher (1.3 ppg, 14 3-pointers) and sophomore forward Marina Bauza Rubert (1.3 ppg, 0.8 rpg) and junior forward Morgan Brodie (0.6 ppg, 0.8 rpg) also are back to the squad.

Maher, from Raymore, Mo., made 14 3-pointers last season, competing in 23 games for the Gorillas. She converted  40.0 percent of her long-range shots on the year (14-35).

Bauza Rubert, an international student from Islas Baleares, Spain, shot 40.7 percent from the field in limited time on the court for the Gorillas.

Brodie, from Neosho, Mo., saw action in 17 games for Pitt State during her sophomore season.

Redshirt freshman guard Maya Williams will see her first court action for the Gorillas in 2017-18. The Carthage, Mo., native averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior for the Tigers.
The Gorillas lineup also was bolstered by the addition of a pair of freshman guards – Josie Fortney and Taylor Holmes.
Fortney signed with Pitt State out of East Buchanan High School. The Gower, Mo., native averaged 19 points and 5.7 rebounds per game during her senior prep season a year ago.
Holmes comes to Pitt State from Maize High School. The Wichita, Kan., native averaged 14 points, four rebounds and three assists a game last year.
 
Exhibition vs. Baker
Pitt State made its exhibition debut by hosting Bethany College on Oct. 27 at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court. The Gorillas rolled to a 91-48 win over the Swedes.

Madison Northcutt, Mikaela Burgess and Athena Alvarado combined for 57 points in the lopsided win.

Pitt State led just 17-14 after the first quarter, but the Gorillas pulled away by outscoring the Swedes, 22-2, in the decisive second quarter in front of a raucous crowd of 2,445 fans at John Lance Arena that included more than 1,800 area elementary school children.

Northcutt scored a game-high 21 points and added a game-high 13 rebounds in the contest to finish with a double-double. She made nine of 13 shots from the field, blocked three shots and grabbed three steals.

Burgess and Alvarado added 18 points apiece. Burgess made three of five 3-pointers and dished out six assists, while Alvarado matched Northcutt with a nine for 13 shooting day.
Elena Flott chipped in with eight points, while Josie Fortney and Brenlee McPherson finished with five points apiece.

Exhibition vs. Kansas
The Kansas women's basketball team held off a strong challenge from Pitt State on Nov. 5 as the Jayhawks defeated the Gorillas, 57-50, in an exhibition game  at Allen Fieldhouse.

KU rushed out to a 10-2 lead against Pitt State and the Jayhawks still led 21-10 before the Gorillas used a 14-3 run to pull within two points, at 24-22, with 3:03 to play in the second quarter.

The Jayhawks took a 31-26 lead at the intermission and KU stretched its margin back to 15 points, 47-32, in the pivotal third quarter. Pitt State could only close within seven points down the
stretch in the contest.

Brenlee McPherson led three Pitt State players in double figures with 14 points, while Madison Northcutt posted a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Mikaela Burgess added 11 points for the Gorillas, who shot just 30.6 percent from the field in the game (19-62).

Kylee Kopatich scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Jayhawks, who shot 41.3 percent from the field (19-46) and outscored the Gorillas 19-7 at the free throw line in the contest.

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    5    Elena Flott, 6-0, Jr., Olpe, Kan.
    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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