By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
PITTSBURG, Kan. —
This definitely wasn’t the end to the regular season that Lane Lord and the Pittsburg State women had in mind.
Pitt State allowed 19 offensive rebounds, never recovered from a second-half slump and dropped a 63-55 decision to Emporia State on Saturday at John Lance Arena.
The loss snapped Pitt State’s seven-game winning streak over the Hornets and came just three days after the Gorillas saw their six-game winning streak over Missouri Southern end.
The Gorillas went from having an shot at a top-four position and a bye to the MIAA Tournament in Kansas City to settling for the No. 7 seed and a home date with No. 10 Missouri Western for a play-in game at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“Nineteen offensive rebounds tells the story,” Lord said. “Two games in a row where we did a really poor job on the backboards. Just like with Southern, you have to give the other team credit. They were more physical and were tougher. Rebounding is effort and personal want-to.”
Pitt State led 33-27 after scoring the first seven points of the second half before Emporia State answered.
The Hornets scored 20 of the next 27 points, including a key 9-0 run that saw 3-pointers from Rachel Hanf and Laura Patrick and 3-for-3 shooting from the line from Hanf after being fouled on a 3-pointer.
Hanf’s free throws and Patrick’s treys were set up by offensive rebounds.
“They killed us on the offensive glass,” Pitt State’s Lizzy Jeronimus said. “We need to get our hands on the ball before they do.”
The Gorillas were solid defensively, holding the Hornets to just 29 percent shooting from the field and limiting Merissa Quick — who scored 31 in a loss to Pitt State in Feb. 20 — to four points.
“We played good enough defense to win the game and did a great job on Quick and a great job inside,” Lord said. “But it all comes down to rebounding.”
While ESU struggled from inside the 3-point line, the Hornets were stellar from 3. ESU hit 7-of-14 from beyond the arc.
“If you hesitate for half-a-second when you’re trailing on a double-down, they’re going to make the wide-open shot,” Lord said. “College basketball players make the shot most of the time when they’re wide open. We got caught on the screen a couple times and they made us pay for it.”
Jeronimus led Pitt State with 16 points while Drew Roberts added 13.
ESU got 14 from Patrick, 12 from Hanf and 11 and 10 from Sarah Wood and Desiree Wylie, respectively.
The Gorillas now turn their attention to Missouri Western, which handed them a 70-65 loss on Jan. 30.
“We’ve got three days and we’ll find out (how we’ll bounce back),” Lord said. “Losing isn’t much fun. I hate it, (the players) hate it. We’ll see how we respond.”