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Morning Sun
  • Second unit sparks Gorillas to 76-56 win

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  • Pittsburg State head coach Lane Lord called on the reserves early Thursday night against Henderson State at John Lance Arena. The starting lineup of Antqunita Reed, Y'Cedria Devers, Alexa Bordewick, Kylie Gafford and Lizzy Jeronimus looked a little sluggish in the first couple minutes and at the 17 minute, 5 second mark of the first half, Lord brought in Brigit Hesser, Alex Muff, Hailey Roderique and gunner Morgan Westhoff. On the first possession with this unit on the floor, Muff put the Gorillas on the board with a layup, starting a 14-3 Pitt State run over the next 3:56. Westhoff played a central role in this run with 10 points, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers and a pair of drives to the basket. Gafford scored the first points of the game by a starter at the 11:15 mark and Jeronimus scored her first points at 9:29 on a trifecta. The Gorillas surged to a 34-26 halftime advantage behind a combined 26 from Westhoff and Jeronimus, en route to a 76-56 win. "Kind of a hard team to play," Lord said. "Not a typical MIAA team that has size and where they run a lot of double-screens for shooters and a lot of high-low action. It was more of a really athletic team that was really hard to guard, to tell the truth, but I thought we did a great job as a team playing team defense. Saw some signs of a pretty good basketball team." The Pitt State bench outscored Henderson State's 45-9 — sparked by a career-high 28 points from Westhoff, who's reached career-bests in two consecutive games, following up on her 23-point night against Indianapolis in Anaheim, Calif. Westhoff shot 10-14 from the floor, 5-8 from 3-point range and 3-4 at the stripe, plus had six rebounds and two steals. "Lizzy's Lizzy, she's going to be a stud every night," Lord said. "She struggled just a tad but still did a lot of great things for us. Morgan's been probably, beside Lizzy, she's been our best player this year. She's been outstanding. She gives us a great lift. We call her 'The Microwave.' She comes in off the bench, she heats it up and she's been staying pretty hot. The microwave's still cooking right now. We'll probably start her the next game. We've got to have better starts to the game." Playing her first game at John Lance, senior forward Muff delivered eight points and three rebounds off the bench. Roderique led the Gorillas with four assists and freshmen guards Hadyn Herlocker and Paige Lungwitz scored their first points at home, both players finishing with two. Jeronimus finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal. Devers had six points, eight rebounds, two steals and one block. Gafford added five points, five rebounds and six blocks. Bordewick scored her first points on a 3 for a 66-50 lead and her next and last 3 put the Gorillas up 69-50. The Reddies finished with 19 offensive rebounds, a side effect of shooting 23-69, 33.3 percent. "People don't really understand this . . . they think you can just block out," Lord said. "When you're that athletic, sometimes blocking out sounds good in theory. They can just go right around you. You really have to block out and go pursue the basketball. Their last game, they had 32 offensive rebounds, their season opener. They're just good athletes, a lot of them can jump and go get the ball. "I thought we did a decent job . . . 19 offensive rebounds is way too many. We only had three offensive rebounds at half and I thought we did a better job in the second half of getting 10 offensive rebounds. I thought Y'Cedria really played well for us. She was really hustling, getting boards and made some steals." After playing their first three games in sunny California, the Gorillas played their home opener Thursday. "I was getting a little worried about the crowd," Lord said. "I didn't know if we'd have 200-300 people. I didn't know what we'd have because it's high school football season, it's college football season and just a single game here on Thursday night, I thought we had a nice crowd and I thought they were into the game and gave us a big lift. . . . We always like playing at home." "It was really fun playing at home," Jeronimus said. "We love the environment that we have and it's just fun to show the crowd what we've worked so hard on over the summer and fall. We had a great crowd." Pitt State (2-2) travels to Rolla, Mo., for a Saturday morning contest against Minnesota-Duluth. GORILLAS 76, REDDIES 56 HENDERSON STATE (1-1) — Krystal Beacham 7-13 3-4 17, Tiara Davis 6-8 0-1 14, Aungelique Sledge 5-21 1-4 11, Jasmine Settles 1-4 2-2 5, Taylor Washington 1-6 1-2 3, Dulincia Keener 1-7 0-0 2, Ariana Caffery 1-5 0-0 2, Jalisa Benjamin 1-4 0-0 2, Vanessa Pieper 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 23-69 7-13 56. PITTSBURG STATE (2-2) — Morgan Westhoff 10-14 3-4 28, Lizzy Jeronimus 5-12 3-5 14, Alex Muff 4-6 0-2 8, Y'Cedria Devers 1-4 4-4 6, Alexa Bordewick 2-6 0-0 6, Kylie Gafford 2-3 1-2 5, Brigit Hesser 2-5 0-0 4, Hadyn Herlocker 1-3 0-0 2, Paige Lungwitz 0-0 2-2 2, Hailey Roderique 0-1 1-2 1, Antqunita Reed 0-6 0-0 0, Cathy Brugman 0-1 0-0 0, Deja Snell 0-1 0-0 0, Garrett Burton 0-0 0-0 0, Ashli Burton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-62 14-21 76. Halftime — PSU 34, HSU 26. 3-point goals — HSU 3-16 (Davis 2-3, Settles 1-2, Sledge 0-6, Caffery 0-2, Beachum 0-1, Pieper 0-1, Washington 0-1), PSU 8-15 (Westhoff 5-8, Bordewick 2-4, Jeronimus 1-2, Herlocker 0-1). Rebounds — HSU 44 (Keener, Caffery 8), PSU 44 (Devers 8). Assists — HSU 8 (Sledge, Caffery 2), PSU 15 (Roderique 4). Turnovers — HSU 15, PSU 12. Steals — HSU 6 (Sledge 4), PSU 6 (Devers, Westhoff 2). Blocked shots — HSU 4 (Keener 2), PSU 7 (Gafford 6). Personal fouls — HSU 18, PSU 12. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. A — 946.

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