Curtis Meyer reporter
Pitt State’s women basketball was unable to advance in this seasons MIAA tournament, losing to the Missouri Southern Lions on Friday. Despite sweeping the Lions in the regular season, the Gorillas struggled for most of the game, never coming within striking distance.
The Lions were the first to score, with exactly 9:00 left. The Gorillas answered quickly, going up 5 to 2 just a minute later. This would be the last time the Gorillas led.
Missouri Southern took charge of the game, going up 14-7 with 4:27 remaining. Pitt State was not far behind but was still unable to close the gap. Pitt State scored the last points of the first, cutting Missouri Southern’s lead to 18-12.
Missouri Southern continued to pull away in the second quarter, scoring the first four points of the quarter. Pitt State threatened Missouri Southern, coming within two points at 27-25 with 4:42 left, but Pitt State was unable to take control.
The Lions went on a ten-point run to end the half, while the Gorillas went cold. Scoring zero points to end the half, the Gorillas entered halftime down 37-25.
Despite scoring first in the third quarter, the Gorillas could not catch up to the Lions, getting outscored 20-19 in the third. The closest the Gorillas came for the entire second half was on their first points of the third when they cut the lead to 37-27. The Lions biggest lead came at 3:04, when they were up 17 points at 54-37, but the Gorillas started to catch up late, making it 57-44 at the end of the third.
The story was much the same for the fourth, with the Gorillas unable to generate enough offense or defense to bring themselves back into the game. The Gorillas and Lions settled into a pattern of trading points, with the Gorillas consistently down around 13 points for most of the fourth.
Down 68-54 with 5:08 left in the fourth, Missouri Southern continued to keep it out of reach. The last points of the game came from Pitt State at 1:21, making 72-61 the final score as both teams were scoreless for the rest of the game.
For Pitt State, this means that they will have to wait until Sunday at the NCAA Selection Show to see if they earn an at large berth in the NCAA Division II National Tournament. This show will be broadcast on the NCAA website at 10:30 P.M. on March 5th.
Missouri Southern went on to play Nebraska Kearney, winning 63-51, in the quarterfinals. They will play the winner of the game between Central Missouri and Fort Hayes State in the final. The winner of the final gets an automatic bid to the national tournament.
Sophomore Karenna Gerber paced the Gorillas with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman Harper Schreiner added 14 points and nine rebounds. The Gorillas can trace their loss to a poor three-point percentage, connecting on just three of their 23 attempts.