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  • PSU women stifle Truman State

  • The Pittsburg State women appeased the basketball gods early on by looking for Lauren Brown inside and making a series of inside shots. Say goodbye to a three-game losing streak.

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  • The Pittsburg State women appeased the basketball gods early on by looking for Lauren Brown inside and making a series of inside shots. Say goodbye to a three-game losing streak.
    After Becka McHenry hit a 3 to give Truman State a 12-10 lead, the Gorillas outscored the Bulldogs 21-5 the final 10 minutes of the first half to go ahead 31-17 at halftime en route to a 63-48 win Thursday night at Whetzel Court/John Lance Arena.
    Pitt State head coach Lane Lord reached career win 100, joining Steve High and Barb Crill in the PSU women’s basketball 100-win club.
    “Tonight, we just played an outstanding defensive team effort,” Lord said. “It all starts with Lauren Brown but our guards did a great job chasing around their shooters. Just excited about the way we played on the defensive end.”
    With Lizzy Jeronimus playing only 7 minutes in the first half due to early foul trouble, Pitt State focused even more on Brown and the 6-foot-6 senior delivered 12 first half points on 6-for-8 shooting. Brown, a good six inches taller than Truman State’s Jennifer Conway, had five rebounds and four blocks in 14 minutes.
    “We’ve been a dribble-drive team,” Lord said. “We just decided to switch things up second half at Washburn. Lauren had a great second half against Washburn and she continued that again today. I mean, she’s being a presence for us and any time you have that presence, it’s eventually going to open up the shooters for us. Really proud of Lauren these last couple games.”
    Brown tied a career high with 19 points as she took advantage of the concerted effort to get her the ball on the block, and she added seven rebounds and six blocks.
    Furthermore, freshman Kylie Gafford and sophomore Morgan Westhoff added five points apiece in the first half and Pittsburg native Lisa Elmer, spelling Jeronimus, had two points, three rebounds, two assists and one block in 11 first half minutes.
    The nation’s leading 3-point shooting team entering the game at 42.9 percent, Truman State made 1-11 (9 percent) in the first half. The Bulldogs fared much better from deep after halftime and junior guard Amy Briggs made consecutive 3s to cut the Pitt State lead to 50-40. Truman State could not get it any closer than 10 and the Bulldogs finished shooting 23.7 percent (14-59) from the field.
    Over their last four home games, the Gorillas have allowed opponents Nebraska-Kearney, Northwest Missouri, Fort Hays State and Truman State 186 points with no opponent scoring more than 48 on Pitt State.
    Jeronimus, picking up no additional fouls after halftime, finished with 15 points on 6-7 shooting from the field and 3-4 at the line. She netted six of her points on a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays.
    Pitt State outscored Truman State 34-14 inside-the-paint as Pitt State continued to emphasize the interior with Brown, Jeronimus, et cetera.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We’ve really struggled to shoot the ball from the perimeter this year,” Lord said, “and I think a lot of that has to do with a lack of post touches. We’ve got a 6-foot-6 girl who needs to touch the ball. She’s something that everybody else doesn’t have and we’re very fortunate to have her. Our kids did a great job of getting her the ball. She shoots over 60 percent on the year. She just needs touches. Last two games, we’ve fed her the ball and she’s produced. I can’t be any more proud of our team for getting her the ball but Lauren for stepping up and being a player.”
    Roberts, coming off the bench and playing the point, led Pitt State with six assists and committed no turnovers in 25 minutes. She added six points and four boards.
    “This is the first time she’s played point guard in about three years,” Lord said. “We moved her to the point the last couple days. Six assists and no turnovers, I thought she did a great job finding Lizzy in transition and also finding Lauren.”
    Elmer finished with five points, three rebounds and two assists. Y’Cedria Devers, who did steady defensive work on McHenry, contributed five points, four boards and two assists.
    “I’m really proud of our bench tonight,” Lord said. “Lizzy had a couple fouls early and picked up a third. I was really proud of Lisa Elmer, the way she came in and ran the offense really well. She set some good screens, she made some nice drives and she got the ball down to Lauren.”
    The Gorillas were efficient offensively with 57.4 percent shooting from the floor (27-47) and 18 assists against 13 turnovers.
    Briggs led Truman State with 11 points and McHenry, who posted a triple-double (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) last year at John Lance Arena, posted only a double-double of 10 points, 11 rebounds Thursday night.
    Pitt State (13-7, 7-5 MIAA) ended a four-game winning streak for the Bulldogs, who had won nine of their last 10 games to climb to No. 19 in the national rankings. Truman State dropped to 16-4, 9-3.
    In other MIAA games Thursday night, Emporia State defeated Lincoln 85-69, Northeastern State wiped out Lindenwood 87-50, Missouri Southern ended a six-game losing streak with a 69-63 win over Southwest Baptist and Central Missouri won the battle of the centrals with a 87-75 triumph over Central Oklahoma.
    Emporia State leads the MIAA with a six-game winning streak and both Central Missouri and Washburn have won five straight. The Lady Blues of Washburn became the first team to clinch a spot in the MIAA Tournament.
    Pitt State remains in a tie for sixth place, behind first place Washburn, second place Central, third place Northeastern State, fourth place Truman and fifth place Emporia State.

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