While the 2-5 season record doesn’t reflect it, Missouri Southern’s women’s basketball team has made progress.
“We continue to get better,” coach Ronnie Ressel said. “I think defensively we continue to get a little better as we went through (November). We did a little better job taking care of the basketball and executing on offense. Overall, take the wins and losses out, I thought we progressed nicely for what we want to do.”
The Lions hope to continue to improve, now that the MIAA schedule has arrived. League play starts tonight when the Lions entertain Pittsburg State at 5:30.
The Gorillas are 2-3 while playing a tough nonconference schedule, and the three losses have been by a total of 13 points.
“They probably have played the toughest nonconference schedule in the country,” Ressel said. “Southwestern Oklahoma is a top-25 team. Tarleton State, and Lindenwood are not there yet but are potentially top-25 teams. They have not shied away from anybody. I don’t know if they expected three losses, but they have been in every game. A play here or there, they could be 5-0 real easy.”
The Gorillas have three players averaging in double figures, led by Tristan Gegg (24.2), Athena Alvarado (17.0) and Maya Williams (15.4).
“They are so good offensively and they have a variety of people who can score the basketball,” Ressel said. “Tristan Gegg is playing like I thought she would coming out of (Labette County) high school. She has no fear. She knows how to score whether she’s shooting from 35 feet or she’s shooting left-handed layups. Maya Williams is so good at taking it strong to the basket and finishing. Alvardo is good around the basket, and she’s developed a 15-footer now. You have (Meghan) Maher, who shoots the heck out of it from the 3, and the point guard (Kaylee) DaMitz, who was the MIAA freshman of the year, she can shoot the 3, she can shoot the mid-range, she can get to the basket. But probably her biggest asset is how well she sees the floor and getting everybody else involved.”
The Lions also have three averaging in double figures — Chasidee Owens at 17.0, Destiny Owens at 15.9 and Zoe Campbell at 14.0.
Without question, Campbell has been the biggest surprise so far this season.
“I thought she would be able to contribute,” Ressel said, “but if you’d asked me back in October would she be putting these type of numbers up, I would have said no. But I’m extremely happy with what she has accomplished.”
Tonight is the Lions’ second home game this season, and after spending almost all of November on the road, the Lions won’t have to leave town in December until the players go home for Christmas break.
“Even though we only have three games, it’s going to be nice to be home in December and not have to travel,” Ressel said. “But it doesn’t matter who you play in conference. It’s not going to be an easy game.”
Mo. Southern (2-5, 0-0 MIAA)
F Chasidee Owens, 5-10 sr. 17.0
C Zoe Campbell. 6-3 jr. 14.0
G Destiny Cozart, 5-8 sr. 15.9
G Layne Skiles, 5-10 so. 8.4
G Amber Buch, 5-7 so. 6.6
Pittsburg St. (2-3, 0-0 MIAA)
F Athena Alvarado, 6-0 sr. 17.0
F Meghan Maher, 6-0 sr. 7.8
G Maya Williams, 5-9 jr. 15.4
G Kaylee DaMitz, 5-4 so. 9.4
G Tristan Gegg, 5-7 so. 24.2
Tipoff: 5:30 p.m.
Site: Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
Coaches: Ronnie Ressel, 4th year at MSSU (39-55). Amanda Davied, 2nd year at PSU (23-12).
Series: PSU leads 51-42 after each team won at home last season. The Lions are 24-21 at home against the Gorillas.
MSSU Radio: WMBH (1560 AM, 101.3 FM), KXMS (88.7 FM), 5:10 p.m.
PSU Radio: KSHQ (100.7 FM), KWXD (103.5 FM), 5:05 p.m.