Women’s basketball ends season in 83-77 loss

| Michael Bauer sports editor |

They turned an 18-point deficit into a second-half lead but in the end, it wouldn’t be enough to overcome the fourth-seeded Wayne State Wildcats. The Pittsburg State women’s basketball team’s season came to an end with an 83-77 loss in the first round of the NCAA Central Regional on Friday, March 14.
With the loss, the Gorillas finished their second-best season in school history, going 23-8.
“I’m just real proud of our basketball team,” said Lane Lord, head coach. “Awesome year and showed the guts and determination that our team has, because we were really down-and-out in that first half, turning the ball over and just really got ourselves in a hole.”
Playing in Searcy, Ark., the Gorillas were led by junior Antqunita Reed, who finished with a career-high 24 points while junior Lizzy Jeronimus scored 21. She also had eight rebounds and four assists.
Pitt State trailed by 17 in the first half after a 3-pointer by Wayne State’s Ashton Yossi. Yossi led all scorers with 27 points after going 10-15 on field goals and 5-9 on outside shots. She was nearly perfect from the line, shooting 2-3.
Another outside shot by Yossi and a layup by Jordan Spencer helped the Wildcats to a 46-30 halftime lead.
Things didn’t get any easier for the Gorillas at the start of the second half. Cutting the score to 13 off a 3-pointer by sophomore Cathy Brugman with 17:37 left, the Wildcats answered back with a pair of free throws by Ellen Hansen. An inside shot by Spencer gave the Wildcats a lead of 17 with 16:16 to go.
Then, as PSU has done so many times this season, the team answered back with a 17-3 run to pull within three points with 10:36 remaining. Pitt State limited Wayne State to just one field goal for over three minutes during the stretch and four PSU players scored points to spark the run.
“We showed great courage and passion for the game and played outstanding in the second half,” Lord said.
Junior Kylie Gafford hit a layup to make it 62-59 Wayne State, before Jeronimus added layups within two minutes to put the Gorillas in front 65-64 with 7:39 left.
A free throw by senior Alex Muff tied the game at 66, but Yossi shot another 3-pointer and the Wildcats did not trail the rest of the game.
However, PSU did not go away.
Reed’s jumper trimmed the score to 76-74 with 1:24 left. Then Spencer hit two free throws after a foul by Gafford.
A missed 3-pointer by Brugman led to a foul by Millie Niggeling of Wayne State and Muff went 1-2 from the stripe with 57 seconds to make it a 3-point game.
Hansen’s layup stretched the Wildcats’ lead by five with 40 seconds, and after three more free throws, the Gorillas were out of reach.
“It stinks when somebody has to lose because everybody’s good when you get here,” Lord said. “But I couldn’t be more proud of our team and the effort they gave today.”
Muff finished with 10 points in her final game, and Brugman finished with 12, all of which came in the second half.
The Gorillas shot 46.9 percent while going 29.4 percent on outside shots and 60 percent from the line. The Wildcats were 55.1 percent after going 27-49 and were 50 percent on 3-pointers and 77.8 at the stripe.
Turnovers hurt the Gorillas after PSU had 18, with 14 of them occurring in the first half. Wayne State ended with 13.

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