Pitt State women prep for MIAA tournament opener vs. Lindenwood

The Gorillas are the #6 seed in the bracket
Pitt State women prep for MIAA tournament opener vs. Lindenwood

The Pittsburg State women will face the Lindenwood Lions in the MIAA tournament quarterfinals in Kansas City on Friday night.

The Gorillas are the #6 seed in the bracket, while the Lions are the #3 seed.

In the latest regional rankings released on Wednesday afternoon, Pitt State is #8 in the central region. The top 8 in each region will make the NCAA Division II national tournament after conference tournaments finish up.

The Gorillas are looking to go to Kansas City and leave no doubt that they belong in the national field.

“We weren’t sure if we would sneak in at the eight spot so soon, or if we would be right outside of that,” says Pitt State head coach Amanda Davied, “Either way, we know that this Lindenwood game is a huge game for us.”

“That’s what we all want to do,” says freshman point guard Kaylee DaMitz, “Especially…for our seniors. We want to make it there for them. We want to show everybody who doubted us what we’re made of.”

“We kind of control our own destiny a little bit. That’s the message we want to send to our girls. We just need to focus on us.”

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

The Pittsburg State University women’s basketball team will travel to Kansas City, Mo., open play in the 2019 MIAA Postseason Tournament Friday (Mar. 8) at historic Municipal Auditorium.

The Gorillas, the No. 6 seed in the tournament, will face No. 3 seed Lindenwood University Friday at 8:15 p.m. (CST).

Friday’s MIAA Tournament quarterfinal game 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
The Gorillas enter the MIAA Postseason Tournament with a 21-7 overall record and a 13-6 mark in MIAA play. Pitt State finished the regular season in a tie for fifth place in the conference standings with Emporia State University.

Lindenwood is 20-6 overall on the season. The Lions posted an 14-5 record in MIAA play.

The winner of the Pitt State-LWU match-up will advance to the MIAA Tournament semifinals Saturday (Mar. 9) at 8:15 p.m. to face the winner in a Friday battle between No. 2 Washburn University and the winner of a Wednesday (Mar. 6) match-up between No. 7 University of Central Oklahoma and No. 10 Missouri Southern State University.

The 2019 MIAA Postseason Tournament Championship game is set for 3:15 p.m. (CST) Sunday (Mar. 10).

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 a 21-7 (.750) 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 304-167 (.645) 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 has posted the best record 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.

Series History
Pitt State and LWU will meet for the 12th time in program history Friday. The Gorillas are 9-2 against the Lions all-time. Lindenwood defeated the Gorillas, 81-61, at St. Charles, Mo., on Jan. 5. Kaylee DaMitz paced the Gorillas with 13 points in the game.

Gorillas in the MIAA Tournament
Pitt State is making its 28th appearance in the MIAA Postseason Tournament. The Gorillas have compiled a 12-27 (.308) record in 39 MIAA Tournament games and reached the Finals of the tournament twice, in 1992 and 2016.

Pitt State has compiled a 6-15 (.286) record in MIAA Tournament games played at Municipal Auditorium.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has three players averaging in double figures on the young season: senior guard/forward Shelby Lopez (11.0 ppg), sophomore guard Maya Williams (12.0 ppg) and junior forward Athena Alvarado (10.8 ppg).

Lopez is averaging 11.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. She was named to the second-team All-MIAA squad Tuesday (Mar. 5). The Wichita native currently rank in a tie for tenth place in the MIAA in 3-point field goals (1.7 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 1068 points (8.6 ppg) and made 206 3-point field goals in 124 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 16th in Pitt State history in career scoring (1,051) and third all-time in career 3-point field goals (203).

Alvarado, an honorable mention All-MIAA selection, is contributing 10.8 points and a team-leading 6.7 rebounds per game while shooting 56.0 percent from the field on the season (121-216). She currently ranks in seventh place in the MIAA in blocked shots (1.5 bpg) and 11th 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.

For her career, Alvarado has scored 673 points (7.7 ppg), grabbed 360 rebounds (4.1 rpg) and blocked 99 shots (1.1 bpg) in 87 games. She currently ranks fourth all-time in Pitt State history in blocked shots (99).

Williams, a third-team All-MIAA honoree, is averaging a team-leading 12.0 points and 6.2 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 14th 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 four active players scoring between 4.4 points and 9.1 points per game: freshman forward Kaylee DaMitz (9.1 ppg), freshman guard Tristan Gegg (7.8 ppg), junior forward Meghan Maher (6.1 ppg) and junior guard Sydney Tracy (4.4 ppg).

DaMitz is contributing 9.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and a team-leading 4.6 assists per game on the season. The Preston, Mo., native is shooting 87.5 percent from the free throw line (77-88). She garnered honorable mention All-MIAA honors and was selected the 2019 MIAA Freshman of the Year.

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 (2.1) and assists (4.8 apg) and fifth in the league in free throw percentage (.875) to date.

She has dished out 125 assists on the season and needs 7 more helpers this year to break into Pitt State’s single-season top 10 list for assists.

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.

Gegg is averaging 7.8 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 6.1 points per game. She is shooting .464 from the field to date, knocking down 58 of 125 shots overall. The Raymore, Mo., native also has converted 40 of 91 3-point field goals (.440).

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 4.4 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 45.3 percent from the field (742-1637), 36.0 percent from 3-point range (192-534) and 72.5 percent from the free throw line (367-506). The Gorillas are scoring 72.9 points per game.

The Gorillas rank second in the MIAA in field goal percentage (.453), fifth in the conference in field goal pct defense (.385) and fourth in the league in scoring (73.0 ppg).

Pitt State Probable Starters
F 11 Shelby Lopez, 6-0, Sr., Wichita, Kan.
F 15 Athena Alvarado, 6-0, Jr., Wichita, Kan.
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.