The Pittsburg State women’s basketball team had a hard time shaking off the holiday rust in their MIAA contest at Central Missouri on Monday.



The Gorillas were just 1 of 10 from the field in the first five minutes of the first half but battled back to tie the game at halftime.

The Pittsburg State women’s basketball team had a hard time shaking off the holiday rust in their MIAA contest at Central Missouri on Monday.

The Gorillas were just 1 of 10 from the field in the first five minutes of the first half but battled back to tie the game at halftime.

But a strong second half by Central gave the Gorillas their first league loss of the season, 66-56.

“It is kind of frustrating, but we really don’t want to make a lot of excuses,” said PSU head coach Lane Lord. “I thought we did some good things in the first half, but it is frustrating when things don’t go in the hoop.

“You can’t feel real sorry for yourself and kick each other around,” Lord said. “We will work on things that need to get better.”

Nicole McCombs led all scorers with 17 points — mostly in the second half. But Central shot close to 59 percent from the field in the win.

Caitlin Demarest and Candice Gilbert combined to put the Gorillas (7-3, 3-1 MIAA) up 29-25 to open the second half to continue a 16-2 run that started late in the first.

Kara Fleming put Central (8-2, 2-2 MIAA) back up with a lay-up, however, McCombs drove into the lane and picked up her eighth point of the game to tie the game. In the same play, Fleming picked up her third foul of the game as she and Jennies’ leading scorer Katie Davenport each had three early in the second.

Central compensated with Renae Shippy. The bench player went 4 of 4 for 10 points through the 14:50 mark of the second half to give the Jennies a 37-34 lead going into the first media timeout of the half.

Things started to break apart for Pitt State as the Jennies went on an 11-2 run sparked by Rebecca Roberts and Davenport to go up 44-35 with 12:15 left.

However, McCombs completed a 3-point play to cut that lead to 44-38.

Then, Meghan Waggoner hit the Jennies’ first three point shot of the game to put Central up by nine a the 11:40 mark.

Davenport continued to show her presence as she knocked down a short jumper to extend the Jennies’ lead to 56-44 with 6:20 left in the game.

“I thought we got outhustled in the second half and I don’t like to see that,” Lord said. “But we can take the positives out of this game and we will work on the negatives.”

Central extended their lead to a game-high 13 points with just over 3 minutes left in the game.
That proved too much for the Gorillas to overcome.

Brianna Buchanan did cut the lead to 10 as she connected with Pitt State’s first three point goal with 2:09 left. Prior to that make, the Gorillas were 0 of 7 from beyond the arc.

“It was fun to play each other because we run the same offenses and, I thought both teams defended the 3-point line,” Lord said. “Unfortunately, they got more second-chance points and that hurt.”

The Gorillas got themselves in trouble early as they got down by as many as 10 in the first half, they were able to battle back and tie the game late in the half as Amanda Orloske took a baseline move to the basket that put the score 23-23 with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left in the first.

The Gorillas started the game going 0 for 6 in the first three minutes of the game, while Central Missouri jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Pitt State did hold true to their tough defense, as they forced a 30-second shot clock violation and a 5-second violation on consecutive plays.

In the first eight minutes of the game, Central Missouri committed eight turnovers, mostly caused by the PSU defense.

But Central was able to maintain a 11-6 lead on consecutive baskets by Renae Shippy.

Defense continued to be the story as both teams combined for just 19 points in the first 10 minutes of the game.

In those first 10 minutes, the Gorillas shot a paltry 3 of 15 from the field.

The Gorillas went on a 10-0 run helped by back-to-back free throws and a follow-up lay-up by McCombs to further cut the Jennies’ lead.

“I thought we played good defensively and we held them to just one shot and that was key,” Lord said. “They went on a run and we gave up an offensive rebound and they got a second-chance look.”

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

Central Missouri women 66, Pittsburg State 56,
PITTSBURG STATE (56) — Nicole McCombs 5-9 7-10 17, Candice Gilbert 3-9 4-5 10, Brianna Buchanan 4-13 0-0 9, Caitlin Demarest 3-7 2-2 8, DePrice Taylor 2-10 2-2 6, Laura Glenn 1-4 0-0 2, Amanda Orloske 1-2 0-0 2, Whitney Conerly 1-2 0-0 2, Bailey Waugh 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 20-59 15-19 56.
CENTRAL MISSOURI (66) — Katy Davenport 5-10 6-7 16, Rebecca Roberts 7-12 0-0 14, Kara Fleming 3-4 5-8 11, Meghan Waggoner 4-10 1-4 10, Renae Shippy 4-6 2-2 10, Brittney Slifer 1-5 0-0 3, Deidra Dace 1-6 0-0 2, Melia Pence 0-3 0-0 0, Dominica Blakemore 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 25-57 14-21 66
Halftime — PSU 25, Central Missouri 25. 3-point goals — PSU 1-9 (Buchanan 1-3, Waugh 0-3, Demarest 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Orloske 0-1), CMSU 2-14 (Slifer 1-5, Waggoner 1-2, Davenport 0-3, Dace 0-1, Fleming 0-1, Pence 0-2). Rebounds — PSU 32 (Buchanan 7), CMSU 44 (Davenport 11). Assists — PSU 3 (Demarest, Taylor, Orloske 1), CMSU 14 (Fleming 6). Turnovers — PSU 22, CMSU 25. Total fouls — PSU 17, CMSU 17. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none.