Gorillas to host MIAA/GAC challenge

Gorillas to host MIAA/GAC challenge

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

The Pittsburg State University women’s basketball team will open up the 2019-20 season by hosting the MIAA/GAC Conference Challenge Nov. 8-9 at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court.

Pitt State and Washburn University from the MIAA will battle Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University from the GAC in the two-day classic format tournament.

Pitt State will open tournament play with a Noon match-up against OBU Friday (Nov. 8). The contest will be the Gorillas’ annual Kid’s Day game with more than 2,200 local and area elementary and middle school children attending the contest. WU will take on SWOSU immediately following at 2 p.m.

On Saturday, WU and OBU will take the court at 5 p.m. with Pitt State and SWOSU wrapping up the tournament action with a 7 p.m. game.

Daily ticket prices (doubleheader) are $10 for general admission or $13 for reserved seats. Children (18 & under) or senior citizens can purchase a general admission ticket for $6. There are no price breaks on reserved seats.

The Pitt State action can be heard on ESPN 100.7 FM radio, online at espn1007.com/go or through the ESPN 100.7 or KSHQ app for phones or mobile devices.

The Records
Pitt State enters its second season under head coach Amanda Davied. Davied became the first head coach in program history to lead the Gorillas to a 20-win season and a postseason berth in her initial campaign. Davied, who served as the program’s assistant coach for 14 seasons before becoming head coach, guided the squad to a 21-9 record (13-6 MIAA) and a berth in the Central Regional of the 2018-19 NCAA Division II National Tournament.

The Gorillas return four starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s squad. Junior guard Maya Williams leads Pitt State’s returning contingent. Williams averaged 11.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2018-19.

Pitt State opened the 2019-20 season with a pair of exhibition games against NCAA Division I opponents. The Gorillas dropped a 97-63 decision to the University of Arkansas on Oct. 24, before pulling off a 90-82 upset win over the University of Kansas on Oct. 27.

OBU posted a 10-18 overall record in 2018-19, including a 6-16 mark in GAC play.

SWOSU is coming off an historic 35-2 season a year ago. The Lady Bulldogs advanced all the way to the NCAA Division II National Championship Game before falling in double overtime to Lubbock Christian University.

SWOSU opened the season with exhibition wins over NAIA member University of Science and Arts (94-62) on Oct. 28 and NCAA Division I member University of Tulsa (76-73) on Oct. 30.

WU posted a 20-10 overall record in 2018-19. The Ichabods were 14-5 in MIAA play and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAA Postseason Tournament. WU dropped a 75-69 exhibition game decision to Kansas State University on Oct. 29.

Head Coach Amanda Davied
Amanda Davied
enters her second year as head coach at Pittsburg State after being hired to the position on May 21, 2018.

She has a 21-9 (.700) record leading her alma mater.

Davied guided her alma mater to a berth in the 2018-19 NCAA Division II National Tournament in her debut season, becoming the first Pitt State head coach in program history to enjoy a 20-win season in year one of their tenure.

Davied, who served the previous 14 seasons as the assistant coach for her alma mater, replaced her former mentor, Lane Lord, who accepted the head coach position at NCAA Division I member University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

As the Gorillas top assistant the previous 14 years, Davied served as the team’s recruiting coordinator and was highly involved in all aspects of the administration of the women’s basketball program.

During her tenure on the Pitt State staff (2004-19), the Gorillas have compiled a 304-169 overall record (.643), capturing an MIAA regular season title in 2017 and making six trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019) including a pair of Elite Eight appearances (2012, 2016).

Davied began her coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Gorilla women’s basketball program in the 2003-04 season, after completing a decorated playing career for Pitt State the previous season. She was hired as a full-time assistant in July 2004 by former head coach Steve High and remained to serve as the top assistant on Lord’s staff when he took over the program in April 2007.

Series History
Friday’s action will be just the second all-time meeting between Pitt State and OBU – the first match-up since the 1982-83 season. The Bison defeated the Gorillas in that contest on Nov. 19, 1982, 80-71, at Shawnee, Okla.

On Saturday, Pitt State and SWOSU will meet for the fourth time. The Gorillas and Lady Bulldogs last met on Nov. 22, 2008, with Pitt State claiming a 70-57 victory at Weatherford, Okla. The Gorillas hold a 2-1 lead in the series.

Exhibition Action
Arkansas used a fast start in the first quarter to take control early and post a 97-63 exhibition game victory over Pitt State on Oct. 24 at Bud Walton Arena.

The Razorbacks outscored the Gorillas, 21-6, in the opening stanza. Pitt State played Arkansas tight in the second and third periods. The Razorbacks held a 25-20 scoring edge in the second quarter (led 46-26) and a 26-24 margin in the third period (led 72-50).

Athena Alvarado paced the Gorillas with a team-leading 21 points and eight rebounds. She made nine of 12 shots from the field. Maya Williams added 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. Kaylee DaMitz chipped in with seven points and five assists.

The Gorillas shot 40 percent from the field, making 24 of 60 shots in the contest. Pitt State struggled from beyond the 3-point arc, connecting on just five of 22 long range attempts.

Pitt State closed out the first quarter on a 12-2 run to take the lead against Kansas and the Gorillas held off the Jayhawks the rest of the way for a 90-82 victory at Allen Fieldhouse on Oct. 27.

Williams scored a game-high 22 points to lead Pitt State to the upset victory over Kansas. Tristan Gegg added 20 points and a team-leading eight rebounds, while DaMitz (15), Meghan Maher (13) and Alvarado (12) all scored in double figures in the contest.

The Gorillas shot 52.2 percent from the field in the game, making 35 of 67 shots from the floor. Pitt State made 50 percent of its shots from 3-point range, converting 13 of 26 attempts. The Gorillas outscored the Jayhawks, 39-3, from distance. KU managed just one for 13 shooting from 3-point range in the contest.

Pitt State opened a 10-point second quarter lead before settling for a 45-38 advantage at halftime. KU got as close as five points in the third quarter, 60-55, but the Gorillas closed the period on an 8-2 run to take a 68-57 lead to the final stanza. Pitt State stretched its margin to as many as 21 points, 78-57, on a 3-pointer by Williams with 7:31 to play in the game.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State returns four starters, including three All-MIAA performers, and eight letterwinners from its 2018-19 squad.

Junior guard Maya Williams averaged a team-leading 11.9 points as well as 6.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2018-19. The Carthage, Mo., native earned third-team All-MIAA honors last year.

Williams shot 43.0 percent from the field (119-277) and made 21 3-point field goals on the year. She also shot 76.0 percent from the free throw line, making 98 of 129 charity shots.

Williams has scored 438 points (7.7 ppg) and grabbed 216 rebounds (3.8 rpg) in 57 career games for the Gorillas.

Senior Athena Alvarado contributed 10.6 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game last year, earning honorable mention All-MIAA honors.

The Wichita, Kan., native shot a team-leading 56.3 percent from the field, making 129 of 229 attempts. She also paced the team with 60 offensive rebounds and she blocked 40 shots on the season.

Alvarado has scored 691 points (7.8 ppg), grabbed 378 rebounds (4.2 rpg) and posted 101 blocked shots (1.1 bpg) in 89 career games for the Gorillas. Her 101 blocked shots rank fourth in school history.

She ranked seventh in the MIAA in blocked shots and 11th in the conference in rebounding last year.

Sophomore guard Kaylee DaMitz garnered MIAA Freshman of the Year honors in her rookie campaign for the Gorillas last year. The Skyline, Mo., native averaged 8.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while also earning honorable mention All-MIAA recognition.

DaMitz ranked second in the MIAA in assists.

Senior forward Meghan Maher averaged 5.9 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for the Gorillas last year. The Raymore, Mo., native converted 42 of 101 3-point field goals (.416) on the year.

Maher has scored 464 points (4.4 ppg) and grabbed 111 rebounds (1.3 rpg) in 83 career games.

Two additional returners – sophomore guards Tristan Gegg and Sydnee Crain – also saw significant action for the Gorillas last year.

Gegg, an Altamont, Kan., native, averaged 8.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. She knocked down 40 of 107 3-point field goal attempts on the year (.374).

Crain, from Girard, Kan., chipped in with 3.4 points and 1.4 assists per game in 12.9 minutes of action.

Sophomore guard Josie Fortney also contributed 2.7 points in 18 games played in 2018-19, while senior forward Marina Bauza Rubert averaged 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds per game in 19 contests a year ago.

The Gorillas also welcome key newcomers to the squad in sophomore forward Julia Johnson, freshman forward Shania Wilson, freshman guard Madison Ferrara and freshman center Shayla Kohler.

Johnson joined the Gorillas from Johnson County Community College. The DeSoto, Kan., native, averaged 5.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while starting 29 of 32 games for the Cavaliers as a redshirt freshman in 2018-19.

Wilson came to Pitt State from Bentonville West High School. A native of Centerton, Ark., Wilson averaged 11.3 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game as a senior for the Wolverines. She was a two-time All-Conference performer and a three-year starter at BWHS.

Ferrara joined the Gorillas from Stewarts Creek High School in Smyrna, Tenn., where she played her senior season.

The Hendersonville, Tenn., native averaged 15.8 points and 4.6 assists per game as a junior for the Davidson Academy in Nashville, Tenn.

Kohler was a stand-out prep performer at Platte County (Mo.) High School.

Pitt State Probable Starters

F 15 Athena Alvarado, 6-0, Sr., Wichita, Kan.
F 35 Meghan Maher, 6-0, Sr., Raymore, Mo.
G 1 Maya Williams, 5-9, Jr., Carthage, Mo.
G 2 Kaylee DaMitz, 5-4, So., Preston, Mo.
G 10 Tristan Gegg, 5-7, So., Altamont, Kan.

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