Pitt State hosts Missouri Southern in a rivalry weekend

Gorillas and Lions will clash Saturday afternoon
Pitt State hosts Missouri Southern in a rivalry weekend

The Pittsburg State University women’s basketball team will return to the friendly confines of John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court for its final regular season home game Saturday (Feb. 16) against MIAA rival Missouri Southern State University. The Gorillas and Lady Lions will meet at 1:30 p.m. (CST).

Following the home finale, Pitt State and MSSU will meet again next Tuesday (Feb. 18) at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center at Joplin, Mo. Tipoff for that contest is set for 5:30 p.m.

Both games 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 18-5 overall and 10-4 in MIAA play. The Gorillas currently sit in fourth place tie with Central Missouri in the conference standings.

Pitt State posted a 68-42 home win over Nebraska-Kearney in its last action last Saturday (Feb. 9). The Gorillas, who are wrapping up a three-game homestand, dropped a 78-53 decision to No. 5 Fort Hays State on Feb. 7.

MSSU is 12-12 overall and 4-10 in MIAA play. The Lions dropped a pair of games last week including a 57-72 road loss against Fort Hays State the last time out on Feb. 9.

Head Coach Amanda Davied
Amanda Davied is in her first year as head coach at Pittsburg State after being hired to the position on May 21, 2018. She has an 18-5 (.783) record in her short tenure leading the Gorillas.

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 past 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 (2004-18), the Gorillas have compiled a 301-165 (.646) overall record, capturing an MIAA regular season title in 2017 and making five trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) including a pair of Elite Eight appearances (2012, 2016).

Davied is off to the best start of any first-year head coach in Pitt State history.

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.

PSU at Home
Pitt State has posted a 104-24 (.813) record at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court the past 10 seasons, including a 10-3 mark this year. The Gorillas are 64-13 (.831) at home since the start of the 2014 campaign.

Series History
Saturday’s action will be the 92nd all-time meeting between Pitt State and MSSU. The Gorillas hold a slim 50-41 advantage in the series, including a 28-17 edge in games played in John Lance Arena.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has three players averaging in double figures on the young season: senior guard/forward Shelby Lopez (11.7 ppg), junior forward Athena Alvarado (10.9 ppg) and sophomore guard Maya Williams (10.7 ppg).

Lopez is averaging a team-leading 11.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. The Wichita native currently ranks sixth in the MIAA in 3-point field goals (1.9 pg). She posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Gorillas’ win vs. UAFS, and she scored a season-high 30 points in Pitt State’s victory against LU on Jan. 3.

Lopez averaged 11.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last season. She knocked down 55 of 154 3-point field goal attempts on the season, converting 35.7 percent of her long-range shots.

Lopez scored in double figures 13 times on the season, including a season-high 24 points against Colorado Mines on Nov. 25, 2017.

Lopez contributed 9.2 points per game while earning honorable mention All-MIAA honors as a sophomore in 2016-17. The Wichita native hit 69 3-pointers, shooting a team-leading 38.1 percent from long range (69-181).She ranked third in the MIAA in 3-point field goals.

Lopez has scored 1027 points (8.6 ppg) and made 201 3-point field goals in 119 career games for the Gorillas. She became the 22nd player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career points in Pitt State’s game vs. WU on Jan. 26. Lopez ranks third in Pitt State history in career 3-point field goals (200).

Alvarado is contributing 10.9 points and a team-leading 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting 56.0 percent from the field on the season (98-175). She currently ranks in seventh place in the MIAA in blocked shots (1.5 bpg) and ninth in the conference in rebounding.

Alvarado, who was sidelined from the WU game last Saturday, posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds vs. UAFS (Nov. 17) and she posted 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds against NSU on Dec. 5. She scored a career-high 20 points vs. Embry-Riddle on Dec. 17.

Alvarado scored 6.7 points and grabbed 3.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2017-18. The Wichita native also blocked 32 shots, ranking eighth in the MIAA in blocked shots (1.1 bpg).

She scored in double figures six times including a career-high 20 points against Central Oklahoma on Jan. 25, 2018.

Alvarado shot 57.9 percent from the field in her rookie campaign for the Gorillas, converting 81 of 140 shots and scoring 6.2 points per game. She also blocked a team-leading 29 shots on the year.

Williams is averaging 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game to date. The Carthage, Mo., native scored a career-high 14 points in the Gorillas’ loss to MSU Moorhead on Nov. 10 and she had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Embery-Riddle on Dec. 17. She currently ranks 15th in the MIAA in rebounding.

Williams scored 3.0 points and grabbed 1.2 rebounds per game as a redshirt freshman in 2017-18.

Additionally, the Gorillas have five players scoring between 4.9 points and 9.3 points per game: freshman forward Kaylee DaMitz (9.3 ppg), freshman forward Megan Scott (7.0 ppg), freshman guard Tristan Gegg (7.6 ppg), junior forward Meghan Maher (6.2 ppg) and junior guard Sydney Tracy (4.9 ppg).

DaMitz is contributing 9.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and a team-leading 4.7 assists per game on the season. The Preston, Mo., native is shooting 86.5 percent from the free throw line (64-74).

DaMitz, who scored 15 points and dished out eight assists in the Gorillas win against UAFS on Nov. 17, ranks first in the MIAA in assist/turnover ratio (2.2) and assists (4.8 apg) and fourth in the league in free throw percentage (.861) to date.

DaMitz averaged 21.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists in her senior season at Skyline High School in 2017-18, earning Missouri Class 2A All-State honors. She led the Tigers to the Class 2A state title and claimed Class 2A Player of the Year honors her junior season.

Scott is averaging 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds and shooting 54.2 percent from the field (65-120) in 21 games played. The Carl Junction, Mo., native missed Pitt State’s first two games due to illness. She scored a season-high 15 points vs. St. Edward’s on Dec. 18.

Scott averaged 11.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game as a senior at Carl Junction High School, earning Missouri Class 4A All-State honors.

Gegg is averaging 7.6 points per game. The Altamont, Kan., native scored a season-best 14 points in Pitt State’s win vs. Bethel on Dec. 31.

Gegg averaged 27 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a senior at Labette County High School. She was a Kansas Class 4A All-State selection for the Grizzlies.

Maher is averaging 6.2 points per game. She is shooting .472 from the field to date, knocking down 50 of 106 shots overall. The Raymore, Mo., native also has converted 34 of 77 3-point field goals (.442).

Maher averaged 4.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game last season. She shot 43.9 percent from the field, converting 50 of 114 attempts.

Maher scored a career-high 21 points against WU on March 1, 2018. She knocked down seven of 11 3-point field goal attempts in the game. For the season she made 37 of 90 trifectas (.411).

Tracy, who is contributing 4.9 points per game, enjoyed a solid debut for the Gorillas against NSU on Nov. 9. The St. Michael, Minn., native scored 13 points and dished out three assists in the season opener. She scored a season-high 17 points vs. SBU on Jan. 9.

Tracy transferred to Pitt State from South Dakota State University. She saw significant action for the Jackrabbits the past two seasons. Tracy was a first-team All-State prep athlete at St. Michael Albertville High School in 2015-16.

As a team, Pitt State is shooting 45.4 percent from the field (621-1368), 36.3 percent from 3-point range (163-449) and 71.9 percent from the free throw line (284-395). The Gorillas are scoring 73.4 points per game.

The Gorillas rank second in the MIAA in field goal percentage (.454), fifth in the conference in field goal pct defense (.382) and fifth in the league in scoring (73.4 ppg).

Pitt State Probable Starters
F 11 Shelby Lopez, 6-0, Sr., Wichita, Kan.
F 42 Megan Scott, 6-2, Fr., Carl Junction, Mo.
G 1 Maya Williams, 5-9, So., Carthage, Mo.
G 2 Kaylee DaMitz, 5-4, Fr., Preston, Mo.
G 35 Meghan Maher, 6-0, Jr., Raymore, Mo.