Pitt State aims for third straight win at Nebraska-Kearney

The Gorillas will face the Lopers Saturday.
Pitt State women


The Pittsburg State University women’s basketball team will return to Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play when the Gorillas hit the road to face the University of Nebraska-Kearney Saturday (Jan. 4) and Fort Hays State University Monday (Jan. 6).

Pitt State will meet the Lopers at 2 p.m. (CST) Saturday at UNK’s Health & Sports Center and the Gorillas will battle the No. 16 ranked Tigers at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Gross Memorial Coliseum at Hays, Kan.

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 is 6-4 overall and 2-0 in MIAA action on the season. The Gorillas have won four of their last five games after a 2-3 start to the season. Pitt State posted a 78-40 home win over Tabor College in its last action on Dec. 31.

The Gorillas opened MIAA play with a pair of victories over Missouri Southern State University (Dec. 3) and Washburn University (Dec. 5).

Nebraska-Kearney is 12-1 overall and 1-1 in MIAA play. The Lopers have won five straight games including a 91-51 victory over the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in their last action on Dec. 20.

Fort Hays State is 9-2 (0-2 MIAA) heading into a Saturday (Jan. 4) match-up against Missouri Southern. The Lady Tigers, ranked No. 16 in the most recent WBCA/NCAA Division II Top 25 poll, have won three straight games including a 70-63 win over Saint Anselm College in their last action on Dec. 19.

Head Coach Amanda Davied
Amanda Davied
 is in her second year as head coach at Pittsburg State after being hired to the position on May 21, 2018. She has a 27-13 (.675) 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-present), the Gorillas have compiled a 310-173 overall record (.642), 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
Saturday’s match-up will be the 41st meeting between the Gorillas and the Lopers. Pitt State holds a 27-13 edge in the series including an 11-8 advantage in games played at Kearney, Neb. The Gorillas have won five of the last five road contests against the Lopers.

Monday’s action will be the58th all-time meeting between Pitt State and FHSU. The Lady Tigers hold a 31-26 advantage in the series, including an 18-10 edge in games played at Hays. FHSU has won the last five meetings at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

Pitt State’s Last Action
Kaylee DaMitz scored a game-high 17 points and Sydnee Crain posted her first career double double to help lead Pitt State to a 78-40 victory over Tabor College on Dec. 31 at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court.

The Gorillas scored the game’s first nine points and built a 22-9 first quarter lead en route to the lopsided win over the Blue Jays.

DaMitz made eight of 10 shots from the floor to finish with a game-high 17 points. Athena Alavarado added 16 points – also on eight of 10 shooting from the floor. Crain scored 11 points and dished out a career best 10 assists. Tristan Gegg also scored in double figures with 13 points.

Pitt State shot 50.7 percent from the field in the contest, making 36 of 71 shots overall. The Gorillas also forced Tabor into 22 team turnovers.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has four players averaging in double figures on the young season: sophomore guard Tristan Gegg (19.5 ppg), senior forward Athena Alvarado (15.9 ppg), junior guard Maya Williams (13.2 ppg) and and sophomore guard Kaylee DaMitz (11.2 ppg).

Gegg scored a career high 28 points on back-to-back nights against OBU and SWOSU to open the season.  The Altamont, Kan., native is shooting 45.0 percent from the field on the season (68-151) including 38.4 percent from 3-point range (28-73). She also is averaging 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game to date.

Gegg leads the MIAA in scoring and she ranks in a tie for second place in the the conference in free throw percentage (31-35, .886). She ranks third in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.384) and fourth in the MIAA in 3-point field goals (2.8 pg).

Gegg averaged 8.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per game during her freshman campaign in 2018-19. She knocked down 40 of 107 3-point field goal attempts on the year (.374).

Gegg has scored 436 points in 40 career games for the Gorillas (10.9 ppg).

Alvarado is averaging 15.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 shots per game to date. For the season, Alvarado is shooting 58.0 percent from the field (69-119).

She ranks second in the MIAA in field goal percentage, ranks sixth in the league in blocked shots and rebounding and eighth in scoring.

Alvarado was named the MIAA Player of the Week  on Nov. 12 for her efforts in the Gorillas’ season opening action when she averaged 19.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots per game in Pitt State’s first two games of the year.

The Wichita, Kan., native enjoyed a monster season debut with career highs of 31 points and 20 rebounds in the Gorillas’ 96-78 win over Oklahoma Baptist.

She battled foul trouble in the Gorillas’ last second loss to No. 20 SWOSU. Alvarado scored the go-ahead basket with 4.4 seconds remaining in the contest only to see the Lady Bulldogs win the game on a pair of free throws two seconds later. She finished the game with eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Alvarado contributed 10.6 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game last year, earning honorable mention All-MIAA honors. She shot a team-leading 56.3 percent from the field a year ago, making 129 of 229 attempts. Alvarado also paced the team with 60 offensive rebounds and she blocked 40 shots on the season.

Alvarado has scored 850 points (8.6 ppg), grabbed 458 rebounds (4.6 rpg) and posted 111 blocked shots (1.1 bpg) in 99 career games for the Gorillas. Her 111 blocked shots rank fourth in school history.

Williams is averaging 13.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game to date. The Carthage, Mo., native is shooting 48.3 percent from the field (43-89). She ranks fourth in the MIAA in rebounding.

Williams was named the MIAA Co-Player of the Week  on Dec. 10 after averaging 14.5 points and 15.0 rebounds per game in a pair of wins vs. MSSU and WU. She scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds against the Ichabods.

She also posted back-to-back double doubles against Lindenwood and Central Christian College, including a 20-point, 11-rebound effort vs. CCC.

Williams averaged a team-leading 11.9 points as well as 6.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2018-19. She 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 557 points (8.3 ppg) and grabbed 297 rebounds (4.4 rpg) in 67 career games for the Gorillas.

DaMitz is contributing 11.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. The Skyline, Mo., native ranks second in the MIAA in assists and tied for second in the conference in free throw percentage (31-35, .866).

DaMitz earned 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. She ranked second in the MIAA in assists last year.

Senior forward Meghan Maher is averaging 6.0 points per game. She enjoyed a 20-point outburst vs. Central Christian College on Nov. 16. The Raymore, Mo., native averaged 5.9 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for the Gorillas last year. She converted 42 of 101 3-point field goals (.416) on the season.

Maher has scored 524 points (5.6 ppg) and grabbed 138 rebounds (1.5 rpg) in 93 career games.

Among Pitt State’s reserves, sophomore guard Sydnee Crain is averaging 5.4 points and 2.7 assists per game, while senior forward Marina Bauza Rubert is scoring 3.4 points per game to date. Sophomore guard Erin Davis is contributing 3.2 points in five games played, while junior center Julia Johnson also is chipping in with 1.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.

Crain, from Girard, Kan., contributed 3.4 points and 1.4 assists per game  in 12.9 minutes of action in 2018-19.

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.