SEARCY, Ark. -- Junior guard Ashton Yossi recorded her 1,000th career point and poured in a career-high 27 points while junior forward Jordan Spencer added 25 as Wayne State (Neb.) topped Pittsburg State 83-77 Friday afternoon in the NCAA Central Region opening round game.
The Wildcats rode the outside shooting of junior guard Ashton Yossi at the start of the game to build an early lead. With the lone tie of the first half at 7-7, Yossi hit a 3, followed by a Jordan Spencer layup and then three consecutive baskets by Yossi, including a pair of treys, giving WSC a 20-7 lead with 13:13 to go in the first half.
WSC took a 27-10 lead on an Ellen Hansen 3-pointer at the 10:27 mark and still led by 17 (33-16) with 6:54 left in the half before Pittsburg State made a run at the Wildcats. PSU went on a 10-2 run and got within nine at 35-26 with 4:57 remaining, but the Wildcats closed the first half strong and took a 46-30 lead at intermission thanks to 53 percent shooting in the first half that included 6 of 9 from the 3-point line.
The Wildcats continued to shoot the ball well to start the second half, but Pittsburg State came out on fire to start the second half and made 10 of their first 14 shots from the field to trim a 17-point Wildcat lead at 59-42 and turned it into their only lead of the game at 65-64 following a Lizzy Jeronimus layup with 7:39 to play.
Wayne State responded and regained the lead for good at 69-66 on a Yossi 3-pointer with 6:44 to play. The 'Cats pushed the lead back to six several times before Pittsburg State made another run at WSC and got within two at 76-74 on a Antqunita Reed jumper with 1:24 remaining.
The Wildcats then used stellar free throw shooting down the stretch with Jordan Spencer making two followed by an Ellen Hansen layup on a backdoor pass from Yossi to give WSC an 80-75 lead.
Sophomore Addy Roller sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining to make the final score 83-77.
Yossi led Wayne State in scoring with her career-high 27 points. Antqunita Reed led Pittsburg State with 24 points off the bench on 11 of 19 shooting. Lizzy Jeronimus followed with 21 while Cathy Brugman (12) and Alex Muff (10) also reached double figures for the Gorillas.