Statement wins kickstart women
Garett McCollough | Sports Editor
What’s the best the way for the women’s basketball team to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke? Schedule Division I, No. 18 Nebraska for an exhibition game at the start of the season, compete in the seco
nd half and sweep the Pitt State Tip-Off Classic.
The Gorillas were completely outplayed in the first half of their exhibition game against the Huskers. The Gorillas caught their wind and were only outscored only by seven in the second half. They followed that performance up with two wins in the Pitt State Classic, beating Southwest Minnesota State University and Mary University of North Dakota. They won both of those games by a combined 57 points and shot 75 percent from the free throw line as a team.
The score in the Gorillas’ home opener made it look as though they were playing a high school team, rather than a collegiate program, as PSU beat SMSU 97-51. After leading by nine points at the half, the Gorillas came out on fire and quickly distanced themselves from SMSU. PSU shot 63.1 percent from the floor for the game and 64.86 percent in the second half.
Morgan Westhoff came off the bench for the Gorillas and led both teams in scoring with 17 points, making a case to be coach Lane Lord’s first option off of the bench. Lizzy Jeronimous, Drew Roberts and Lauren Brown were also in double digits for PSU with 15, 13 and 12 points respectively.
Jeronimous did most of her work inside, but she did sink her one three-pointer. Roberts found her stroke, going 3-3 from downtown and Brown stayed safely in the paint, where she also pulled down five rebounds.
The Gorillas cooled off on the second day of the tournament, managing only 80 points and a 20-point win against Mary University. This game was the one fans had been expecting, even in this short season. It was the game where Jeronimous took over. She led all scorers with 23 points on 8-14 shooting, pulled down five boards, added four assists and had three steals on the night.
After her All-MIAA season as a freshman, Jeronimous is expected by the fan base to be the foundation of this team, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation. Brown and Hailey Roderique were also in double figures with 10 points. Roberts was off, missing all four of her three-point attempts. The PSU bench was busy again, scoring 31 of its 80 points.
The offensive numbers for the Gorillas speak for themselves, but what often goes unnoticed is their solid defense. They held Mary University to 31.9 percent from the floor and had 11 steals to the Marauders’ one.
The Gorillas stay close to home for their next two games when they travel to Joplin to compete in the Missouri Southern Thanksgiving Classic. They play their first game against Evangel University on Nov. 23 and follow that up with a game against Avila on Nov. 24.