Missouri Western dominates PIttsburg State in Women’s MIAA action

T.R. Hanrahan

If Missouri Southern wins its first-round game in the women’s MIAA tournament, they will be facing a familiar foe.

Missouri Western State University rode strong rebounding and good shooting from the field to a 86-66 victory over Pittsburg State University in first-round action today.

Southern would play Western tomorrow in a 6 p.m. tip-off if they get by Northwest Missouri State University this afternoon. The Lions defeated Western Feb. 24 to gain the fifth seed in the tournament.

Despite repeated questions about the Griffons’ next opponent, Western head coach Josh Keister wouldn’t touch the topic and urged his players to do likewise.

“Don’t answer that,” he said more than once during the post-game press conference.

Despite his pleas, senior guard Tiffany Davis had something to say.

“It doesn’t matter who we play,” she said. “People asked what Missouri Western would play like without Jill Johnson.

“We’re gonna win this tournament for Jill.”Johnson, a Griffon junior forward, is out of action with a non-athletic related injury.

Western built its lead to a game-high 32 points with 5:39 left in the game. The Griffons never trailed in the contest and took a 58-30 lead into the intermission.

Pittsburg State came out very aggressive in the first five minutes of the second half, particularly on the glass. However, three costly turnovers took six, potentially seven, early points off the board and the Gorillas never recovered, losing by a score of 86-66.

The Gorillas were led in scoring by senior guard Nikki Pierce with 14. Pierce and the Gorillas finished the season with an 11-16 record.

The Griffons led by junior guard Ashleigh Curry’s 22 points and senior forward Inga Buzoka’s 14 points and seven rebounds the Griffons successfully defended their number one seed.

It was a one sided affair in the first half.Western junior guard Ashleigh Curry went into the half leading all scorers with 20. Junior guard Yanique Javois added 13 and senior All-MIAA forward senior Inga Buzoka added 10.

For Pittsburg State junior forward Marissa Poppe led the way with 8 and senior guard Nikki Pierce added 7.

The key statistic in the first half was easily the rebounding category. Western led the Gorillas in rebounding 28-18 at halftime including a dominant showing on the defensive end. Buzoka and senior forward Tera Petersen led the half in with six boards apiece.