Gorillas Prep for Pair of Road Games - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

Gorillas Prep for Pair of Road Games



PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University women's basketball team will hit the road for a pair of Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association road games this week.

The Gorillas will travel to Jefferson City, Mo., Thursday (Jan. 11) to battle Lincoln University at 5:30 p.m. (CST) and Pitt State will meet Lindenwood University Saturday (Jan. 13) at St. Charles, Mo., at 1:30 p.m.

The Records
The Gorillas enter Thursday's action with a 11-4 overall record and a 4-2 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 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 posted four straight conference victories after opening MIAA play with back-to-back losses to UNK and Fort Hays State.

The Gorillas swept a pair of home wins last week, defeating Missouri Western 79-56 on Jan. 3 and Northwest Missouri 78-53 last Saturday (Jan. 6).

Lincoln is 3-11 overall and 0-6 in MIAA play entering Thursday's action. The Blue Tigers have dropped eight straight games including a 69-58 loss to Northeastern State in their most recent action last Saturday (Jan. 6).  

Lindenwood is 10-5 overall and 2-4 in the MIAA entering a Thursday (Jan. 11) home contest against Missouri Southern State University. The Lions dropped an 86-76 road decision to the University of Central Oklahoma in their most recent action on Jan. 6.

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 219-99 (.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).

Thursday's action will be Lord's 13th meeting vs. Lincoln. He has an 11-1 record against the Blue Tigers. Lord has a 7-1 all-time record against the Lions.

Series History
Thursday's action will be the 34th all-time meeting between the Gorillas and Blue Tigers. Pitt State holds a commanding 31-2 advantage in the series, including a seven-game winning streak.

The Gorillas defeated the Blue Tigers, 69-47, in the first meeting of the season on Dec. 9, 2017, in Pittsburg. Brenlee McPherson scored a game-high 18 points in the Pitt State victory.

The Gorillas and Lions will meet for the 10th time Saturday with Pitt State holding an 8-1 advantage in the series. The Gorillas knocked off the previously unbeaten Lions, 87-75, in Pittsburg on Dec. 7, 2017.

Brenlee McPherson and Mikaela Burgess scored 17 points apiece in the win and all five Pitt State starters scored in double figures in the contest.

Scouting the Gorillas
The Gorillas enter Thursday's action averaging 74.9 points per game and shooting 42.4 percent from the field.

Pitt State has two players scoring in double figures on the season: senior guard Mikaela Burgess (16.1 ppg) and junior guard/forward Shelby Lopez (10.2 ppg).

Burgess is averaging a team-leading 16.1 points per game. She also is contributing 3.7 rebounds and 2.2 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 1,629 career points and 285 career 3-point field goals.Burgess has averaged 14.4 points in 113 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.

Lopez is averaging 10.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. She has knocked down 26 of 70 3-point field goal attempts early in the season, converting 37.1 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 four players averaging between 6.6 and 9.5 points per game: junior guard Brenlee McPherson (9.7 ppg), senior guard Paige Imhoff (9.5 ppg),  junior forward Madison Northcutt (8.9 ppg) and sophomore forward Athena Alvarado (6.6 ppg).

McPherson is averaging 9.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 43.7 percent from the field (45-103). She also leads the team in free throw percentage (.906, 29-32).

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.

Imhoff has contributed 9.5 points and an MIAA-leading 5.6  assists per game from the point guard position. She also has averaged 2.4 steals per game, ranking third 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 96 career games, averaging 3.1 points per game.

Northcutt is contributing 8.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game thus far, ranking fourth in the MIAA in rebounding. She is shooting 52.6 percent from the field and she leads the squad with 39 offensive rebounds (2.8 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 6.7 rebounds in 80 career games for the Gorillas.

Alvarado is scoring 6.6 points and grabbing 3.8  rebounds per game on the season. She also has blocked 20 shots, ranking sixth in the MIAA in blocked shots (1.3 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 (4.4 ppg), sophomore guard Meghan Maher (4.3 ppg) and junior forward Elena Flott (3.9 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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