The dream season ended in San Antonio for the Pittsburg State women Tuesday night with a 61-58 loss to the Shaw Bears in the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals.

The dream season ended in San Antonio for the Pittsburg State women Tuesday night with a 61-58 loss to the Shaw Bears in the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals.


"(Our girls) played their guts out," Pitt State head coach Lane Lord said. "These guys had the best record we've ever had at Pittsburg State. We won our first three NCAA games in the history of our program, our first Elite Eight appearance, and we're awful proud of them."


"It was the type of game that we expected," Shaw head coach Jacques Curtis said. "When you're in the Elite Eight, everybody can win, everybody can play. It was a great game, should have been on television and everybody would have been happy."


When the Gorillas were not committing turnovers and letting Shaw get out in transition, Pitt State found success with both its outside and inside games despite shooting 34.5 percent from the field in the first half.


Lizzy Jeronimus scored 11 first-half points on her patented combination of drives for mid-range and short-range shots. Alexa Bordewick found her shooting touch from outside, hitting a pair of 3-point shots and she had a third waved off for a traveling violation as the referees called her for shuffling her feet on a quick shot.


Pitt State led 27-19 with just under 3 minutes left before halftime, propelled by a 11-0 run that helped the Gorillas overcome an early 9-4 deficit.

However, turnovers and missed shots came back to haunt Pitt State the last 2 minutes and Shaw capitalized with a 9-0 run and took a 28-27 halftime lead.


"We had about 8-10 empty possessions where we didn't get a good shot off," Lord said. "That was key. We had a chance to take momentum into the locker room."


"We took some early shots the first half," Curtis said. "We were trying to play fast because we felt like we were a little bit faster than them and our tempo is to be fast. We knew that they have some kids who typically play high numbers (Jeronimus, Bordewick, Drew Roberts). We felt like we needed them to stay on the floor so we wanted them to play tired for the second half."


Although she only played 4 minutes in the game, Shaw senior guard Shemieka Brown played a major role in the outcome of the game as she harassed Pitt State ballhandlers and forced Pitt State into a hurry-up game before halftime.


"Very good, a lot of people didn't notice that," Curtis said to a reporter who asked the coach about the impact of Brown. "I have to give you one on that. When Shemieka Brown came in the game, she picked up full court. She kind of changed the tempo a little bit and made somebody else bring the ball up the court because she was really getting after the young lady she was guarding. She kind of changed the flow of the game right then and swung it in our way. She's a senior and we ask everybody, 'Hey, no matter how many minutes you play, when you're on the court, you can have an impact on the game.' She played 4 minutes and I felt like she had an impact on the game."


Shaw center Aslea Williams scored five points during this run, highlighted by an old-fashioned three-point play. Williams led all players at halftime with 14 points.


Pitt State heated up for a 39-32 lead with consecutive 3-point shots by freshman Morgan Westhoff and Drew Roberts from almost identical spots on the floor and Pittsburg native Kristina Willis elevated for two points over a taller Shaw defender on a short jumper on the left block. Pitt State led 39-32 as play stopped at 13:21.


Williams scored the first 10 Shaw points after intermission and Enonge Stovall's lay-in cut the Pitt State lead to 43-40 under 11 minutes.


Shaw reserve post Crystal Harris made it a 43-42 game with 10:17 remaining but perhaps more importantly Harris drew the fourth personal on PSU senior center Larissa Richards and put Shaw in the single bonus. Harris tied it up 43-all on another made free throw for the Bears.

With 7:40 remaining, Harris drew the fourth personal on PSU junior reserve center Lauren Brown, placed Shaw in the double bonus and she split a pair to give Shaw back the lead, 46-45.


Pittsburg native Lisa Elmer gave Pitt State back the lead by one as she calmly made both ends of a 1-and-1, 47-46.


Shaw guard Brittney Spencer and Westhoff then swung the pendulum back toward their respective teams on mid-range jumpers, Pitt State back ahead 49-48.


Over a 50-second stretch, Shaw went from down one to ahead one after Bordewick stopped a 5-0 Shaw run with a 3-pointer. Shaw led 53-52 at the last media timeout.


Pitt State missed three chances to regain the lead before Spencer made it 55-52 with a jumper.


"It's kind of funny," Curtis said of Spencer. "She's the same person that stepped up in the region championship game. She hit a shot with a tie score in the regional and then went down and got the rebound to solidify the game."


Shaw ate some major time off the clock under 2 minutes on a pair of offensive rebounds and Kylie Buford made the Gorillas pay with a jumper for a five-point Shaw lead with 1:07 left.


Alyssa Lane, the smallest player on the court at 4-foot-11, came up big with a split of two free throws and made it at least a two-possession game with :30. Spencer hit two more foul shots and the lead was 60-52 with :18.


Richards, Brown, Jeronimus and Brooke Conley all ended with four personals.


"It'd have been nice if we had been able to play our post players tonight," Lord said, "but they fouled too much, especially early in the game, and it was tough for us to guard their inside game."


Bordewick led Pitt State with 16 points, Jeronimus had 13 points and six rebounds and Roberts had 11 points, seven rebounds and no turnovers during a game in which Pitt State committed 20 costly turnovers against an opportunistic Shaw team.


Westhoff scored 10 points, giving Pitt State a fourth player in double figures on a night when only seven Pitt State players reached the scoring column.


Williams led all scorers and rebounders with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Buford added 13 points. Shaw (27-6) advances to the Final Four for the second consecutive year.


Pitt State ends its season 27-6 and established a bevy of school records in their wake. Five seniors graduate but several key players should return, including Jeronimus, Roberts, Bordewick, Brown and Westhoff.


"I couldn't be more proud of our team," Bordewick said. "We've never been this far and being on this journey with them was an awesome adventure. Our team chemistry is outstanding and I'm really proud of every single person on our team."


"I second that," Roberts said. "I think we played our hearts out tonight. I honestly wouldn't change anything this year. It's almost we're like sisters, we all get along so well and I think that's how we made it this far. If anything, this makes us hungrier for next year. I'm so happy that I'm only a junior and I have one more year to hopefully get back here."

 

In other games Tuesday, Bentley (Mass.) defeated Wayne State (Neb.) 72-67 and Ashland (Ohio) defeated Alaska-Anchorage 71-51.

Bentley (31-3) outscored top-ranked Wayne State 48-32 in the second half, overcoming a 11-point halftime deficit. Four players scored in double figures for Bentley — Lauren Battista (18 points), Caleigh Crowell (16), Kelsey Roberson (12) and Katherine Goodwin (10). Ashley Arlen led Wayne State (32-3) with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Jena Stutzman, Lindsay Tenyak and Kari Daugherty led Ashland to victory. Stutzman had 18 points, three assists and three steals. Tenyak hit five 3-pointers (5-for-6 shooting) on her way to 17 points. Daugherty had 14 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Hanna Johansson led Alaska-Anchorage with 17 points and Kaylie Robinson added 11 rebounds.

 

BEARS 61, No. 14 GORILLAS 58

PITTSBURG STATE (58) — Alexa Bordewick 5-10 2-2 16, Lizzy Jeronimus 6-12 1-2 13, Drew Roberts 4-11 0-0 11, Morgan Westhoff 3-7 2-2 10, Larissa Richards 1-2 2-4 4, Kristina Willis 1-1 0-0 2, Lisa Elmer 0-0 2-2 2, Brooke Conley 0-11 0-0 0, Courtney Tate 0-2 0-0 0, Amanda Orloske 0-1 0-0 0, Britnee Foster 0-0 0-0 0, Brigit Hesser 0-0 0-0 0, Lauren Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Hailey Roderique 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-57 9-12 58.

SHAW (61) — Aslea Williams 7-15 10-12 24, Kyria Buford 6-14 0-0 13, Brittney Spencer 2-8 3-4 7, Enonge Stovall 2-2 0-0 4, Crystal Harris 0-10 4-6 4, Brittany Ransom 1-4 0-0 3, Sequoyah Griffin 1-6 0-0 3, Shemieka Brown 1-1 0-0 2, Alyssa Lane 0-7 1-2 1. Totals: 20-69 18-24 61.

Halftime — SU 28, PSU 27. 3-point goals — PSU 9-24 (Bordewick 4-7, Roberts 3-6, Westhoff 2-4, Conley 0-5, Orloske 0-1, Tate 0-1), SU 3-10 (Ransom 1-1, Griffin 1-3, Buford 1-5, Lane 0-1). Rebounds — PSU 41 (Roberts 7), SU 46 (Williams 11). Assists — PSU 10 (Bordewick 4), SU 15 (Buford, Lane 3). Turnovers — PSU 20, SU 12. Steals — PSU 6, SU 12 (Williams, Stovall 3). Blocked shots — PSU 4, SU 4. Personal fouls — PSU 21, SU 12. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none.