TOPEKA, Kan. — Pittsburg State is one of 16 teams left in the country, as the Gorillas earned their way into the NCAA South Central Regional Final with a 68-54 victory against Northeastern State (Okla.) on Saturday afternoon at Lee Arena.
Lizzy Jeronimus led the Gorillas with 17 points, Drew Roberts added 16 and Larissa Richards had 15 to lead Pitt State to victory. Nine of Jeronimus’ points came from a perfect 9-for-9 performance from the charity stripe. Richards was 5-for-6 from the line and 5-for-6 from the floor and led the team with seven rebounds. Roberts and and Alexa Bordewick each hit three 3-pointers on the game. Hailey Roderique was a big factor off the bench for Pitt State, adding four points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Though Northeastern State took an early 8-2 lead with an 8-0 run, Pitt State was able to battle back with tough defense and sharp shooting. The Gorillas answered the run with a seven-point run of their own to take a 9-8 lead. From there, the first half was a battle. Pitt State grabbed the lead for good on a Roberts layup with 10:32 to play in the first half. The Riverhawks kept the game close until a Lauren Brown layup with 1:30 left gave the Gorillas a six-point advantage. Bordewick gave the Gorillas an extra lift with a 3-pointer to put Pitt State up 30-21 at the half.
Roberts knocked down a 3 early in the second half to give the Gorillas their first double-digit lead of the game. NSU’s Christy Nitz was able to keep her team relatively close as she hit a 3-pointer and then a jumper with just under nine minutes remaining to cut the Gorilla lead to under 10 points.
Another Roberts 3 would stretch Pitt State’s lead back to double digits and the team would never look back. Pitt State had its largest lead of the game — 23 points — 65-42 on free throws by Lizzy Jeronimus with 4:18 remaining and 67-44 on a Roberts jumper with 3:08 left.
Pitt State shot .447 from the floor and .353 from three-point range. The Gorillas outrebounded the Riverhawks 39-29.
Nitz led Northeastern State with 14 points. Taylor Lewis added 13.