If there is one thing that sticks out when looking at the need for improvement for the Pittsburg State women’s basketball team, one thing is glaring:

If there is one thing that sticks out when looking at the need for improvement for the Pittsburg State women’s basketball team, one thing is glaring:

11-1 at home ... 3-13 on the road.

While the Gorillas did post a 14-14 overall record and was also 12-8 in the MIAA, a road win here or there could have made a big difference.

Nonetheless, the league’s coaches rated the Gorillas to finish fifth in its preseason poll announced on Wednesday. The conference’s meda piced the Gorillas to finish fourth.

“We obviously want to get better every day, but we need to play better on the road,” said PSU head coach Lane Lord. “We proved last year that at home we were a pretty good team.”

In the coaches poll, Washburn received four first-place votes and 110 points to edge defending national champion Emporia State for the preseason No. 1 ranking. The Hornets garnered five first-place votes and 109 points.

Central Missouri got two first-place votes and 107 points, while NW Missouri State earned one first-place vote and 89 points for fourth.

In the media poll, Pitt State received 129 points from 16 regional voters to earn the No. 4 spot. ESU and WU tied for the No. 1 spot in the media poll, each with 179 points. The Lady Blues got nine first-place votes compared to five for the Hornets. UCM got one first-place vote and 158 points for third.

Lord enters his fourth year with the Gorillas — compiling a 44-40 record overall over the course of the previous three.

The thing that sticks out for Lord and the fact that the Gorillas have not fared well on the road, is discipline.

“When you’re good at home and not very good on the road I think a lot of that has to do with discipline and it has a lot to do with mental toughness,” Lord said. “I really believe if we can improve that mental toughness factor which we are working on daily in practice, it can be the key for us.”

Pitt State will make its season debut Sunday (Oct. 31) when the Gorillas travel to Lincoln, Neb., to face the University of Nebraska in an exhibition game at 2 p.m. The Gorillas will host an exhibition game against Livin’ The Dream, a squad of former collegians, on Nov. 9. Pitt State will open regular season play Nov. 12-13 at the Arkansas-Fort Smith Invitational.

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140