PITTSBURG, Kan. — The Pittsburg State women trailed by five at the half before rallying to outscore Oklahoma Baptist 51-28 in the second half on the way to a season-opening 96-78 win on Friday afternoon in the MIAA/GAC Challenge at John Lance Arena before 2,818 fans on Elementary School Day.

Athena Alvarado and Tristan Gegg combined to score 59 points to lead the Gorillas. Alvarado scored a career-high 31 points on 14-of-22 shooting, and added 20 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Gegg also finished with a career-high scoring output, closing with 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-5 from the perimeter. She pulled down five rebounds and had three assists.

Pittsburg State trailed 57-47 with 6:56 left in the third quarter before outscoring the Bison 23-10 to take a 70-67 lead into the fourth period. The Gorillas outscored the Bison 15-2 down the stretch to pull away for the victory.

Kaylee DaMitz was 4-of-11 and finished with 12 points, while Carthage product Maya Williams was 4-of-8 and finished 10 points and six rebounds to give the Gorillas four players in double-figure scoring. Meghan Maher had a team-high six assists and scored five points.

Cooper McKenzie was 9-of-12 from the field and 4-of-5 from the perimeter to finish with 28 points — 20 in the first 12 minutes — to lead Oklahoma Baptist. Jaylin Stapleton and Kalifa Ford each scored 16 points. Ford had five rebounds, while Stapleton finished with a team-high three assists.

Pittsburg State shot 56 percent from the floor and made 5-of-6 3-pointers in the second half on the way to shooting 47 percent from distance. Oklahoma Baptist shot 42 percent in the game and made 41 percent of shots from the perimeter.

The Gorillas won the turnover battle 15-11 and outscored the Bison 42-20 in the paint.

Pittsburg State is back in action with a matchup against No. 5 Southwestern Oklahoma at 7 tonight at John Lance Arena. Southwestern Oklahoma, last year's national runner-up, beat Washburn 80-62 on Friday.

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