By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Just a week ago the Pittsburg State Gorilla women were trying to absorb an uncharacteristic third consecutive loss. They were just one game over .500 in MIAA play and had played just one game on their home court in the last month.
On Saturday afternoon at John Lance Arena — after the Gorillas cruised past Southwest Baptist 74-61 — those troubles seemed to be years in the past.
“It’s a crazy league. A lot of highs, a lot of lows,” Pitt State coach Lane Lord said. “It’s just good to be home. We had one game in a month at home. It’s good to be home and it’s fun to see smiles on their faces again. Losing stinks.”
The Gorillas (14-7, 8-5 MIAA) played a complete game against the Bearcats. They landed four players in double figures with an inside-out approach that led to early success from the 3-point line while using a solid defensive effort to hold the Bearcats (9-12, 4-9) to less than 30 percent shooting for much of the game.
Lizzy Jeronimus led Pitt State with a game-high 20 points, hitting six of her 11 field goals and eight of her 12 foul shots. Alexa Bordewick was 4-for-7 from 3-point range and scored 14 while Brigit Hesser and Kylie Gafford added 10 apiece.
“I think Lauren (Brown) and Lizzy are both shooting around 50 percent right now so that’s our main focus, to work the ball inside-out,” Bordewick said. “The 3 will be open once we work it inside.”
Lauren Brown, Pitt State’s 6-foot-6 center who led the Gorillas in scoring in two of the last three games, scored just six points but was key in the inside-out attack.
“They did a great job double-teaming her and they were there on the catch,” Lord said. “And she made some good passes back out. Once we touch the post, we seem to make for 3s and the basketball gods shine down on us.”
SBU rallied late to cut into what was once a 19-point lead and also bump up its shooting percentage to 31.7 percent.
“Our team defensive philosophy today was to do a lot of switching,” Lord said. “They don’t really have a true post player and their fours and fives can shoot the 3 and I thought we did a pretty good job most of the game.”
Jacqui Zelenka led the Bearcats with 19 points while Brook Duncan had 18. Brittney Dukes added 10.
Y’Cedria Devers, who started at forward for the Gorillas, left the game with an injured left knee early in the second half.
She missed the rest of the game but Lord said he was hopeful she would be back next week.