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Gorillas to host “Kids Day” game for home opener Thursday

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg State women’s basketball team will host St. Mary on Thursday at noon in the team’s home opener.

Pitt State is 1-1 in their first two games.

Thursday’s home opener is also “Kids Day” – meaning about 2,000 local elementary students will pack John Lance Arena to watch the Gorillas.

“My sophomore year we played OBU for the kids game in my first home opener and it was a blast,” says senior guard Tristan Gegg, “It helped us win, honestly. It was a really close game. We can’t wait to hear all those screaming little kids cheering for us.”

“Not having it last year makes us appreciate it even more,” says head coach Amanda Davied, “I know the teachers are excited about it and I’ve heard a lot of chatter about it around town. I think it will be an exposure event for some of our youth. They might pick one of our players out that they might take an interest in, so that part of it gets to be pretty cool.”

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

The Pittsburg State University women’s basketball team will make its home debut at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court Thursday when the Gorillas entertain the University of Saint Mary for Dairy Queen Kid’s Day. Tip-off is set for Noon (CST).

The Pitt State action can be heard on ESPN 100.7 FM radio, online at espn1007.com/ or through the ESPN 100.7 or KSHQ app for phones or mobile devices.

The Records
Pitt State brings a 1-1 record into Thursday’s action. The Gorillas opened the 2021-22 campaign by splitting a pair of games at the GAC/MIAA Challenge at Weatherford, Okla., Nov. 12-13.

Pitt State claimed a 62-53 victory over Oklahoma Baptist University last Friday (Nov. 12) before falling to the host school, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 79-54, Saturday (Nov. 13).

Saint Mary is 3-1 on the young season heading into a Wednesday night (Nov. 17) road match-up against McPherson College. The Spires have defeated Manhattan Christian College (80-34),  Haskell Indian Nations University (87-77) and Graceland University (78-37), before falling to MidAmerica Nazarene University (65-61) the last time out.

Thursday’s game will count as a regular season game for the Gorillas and an exhibition contest for the Spires.

Head Coach Amanda Davied
Amanda Davied
 is in her fourth year as head coach at Pittsburg State after being hired to the position on May 21, 2018.

She has a 53-30 (.639) record leading her alma mater.

Davied guided her alma mater to a berth in the 2018-19 NCAA Division II National Tournament in her debut season, becoming the first Pitt State head coach in program history to enjoy a 20-win season in year one of their tenure. The Gorillas posted a 17-11 record in 2019-20 and a 14-9 mark during the Covid-19 abbreviated 2020-21 campaign.

Davied, who served the previous 14 seasons as the assistant coach for her alma mater, replaced her former mentor, Lane Lord, who accepted the head coach position at NCAA Division I member University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

As the Gorillas top assistant the previous 14 years, Davied served as the team’s recruiting coordinator and was highly involved in all aspects of the administration of the women’s basketball program.

During her tenure on the Pitt State staff (2004-pres.), the Gorillas have compiled a 336-190 overall record (.639), capturing an MIAA regular season title in 2017 and making six trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019) including a pair of Elite Eight appearances (2012, 2016).

Davied began her coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Gorilla women’s basketball program in the 2003-04 season, after completing a decorated playing career for Pitt State the previous season. She was hired as a full-time assistant in July 2004 by former head coach Steve High and remained to serve as the top assistant on Lord’s staff when he took over the program in April 2007.

Series History
This will be the first all-time meeting between the Gorillas and the Spires.

Scouting the Gorillas
Senior guard Tristan Gegg leads the Gorillas in scoring early in the 2021-22 season. She currently leads the MIAA in scoring, averaging 29.5 points per game, and 3-point field goals (5.5 pg).

Gegg also is contributing 5.0 rebounds per game. She is shooting 48.6 percent (18-37) from the field, 44.0 percent from 3-point range (11-25) and 92.3 percent (12-13) from the free throw line.

Gegg scored a career-high 36 points in Pitt State’s season-opening win against Oklahoma Baptist Nov. 12.

A two-time All-MIAA performer, Gegg started all 23 games last year, averaging 15.8 points and 4.3 rebounds and earning second-team All-MIAA honors. She made a team-leading 43 3-point field goals and shot 90.2 percent (83-92) from the free throw line for the season.

Gegg averaged 17.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in 2019-20, earning third-team All-MIAA honors. She scored 20 or more points 10 times on the year. The Altamont, Kan., native led the MIAA in scoring and free throw percentage (.881, 74-84) and ranked fifth in the conference in 3-point field goals (2.5 pg).

Gegg averaged averaged 8.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per game as a freshman in 2018-19.

She has scored 1,130 points (14.0 ppg), grabbed 282 rebounds (3.5 rpg) and made 158 3-point field goals in 81 career games. Gegg ranks 15th all-time in Pitt State history in career scoring.

Senior guard Sydnee Crain also is back for her fourth year in the program. She is contributing 7.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Crain started 18 of 23 games last year, averaging 6.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. She also dished out 44 assists and made 31 steals.

Crain started nine games for the Gorillas in 2019-20, contributing 5.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

The Girard, Kan., native chipped in with 3.4 points and 1.4 assists per game during her rookie season in 2018-19.

She has scored 423 points (5.1 ppg) and dished out 153 assists (1.8 apg) in 83 career games for the Gorillas.

Sophomore guard Jayme Jackson is averaging 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game early in the season.

Jackson saw action in 20 games during her debut season, including one start, in 2020-21. The Liberty, Mo., native averaged 5.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

Jackson was an All-District performer and a two-time All-Conference prep selection at Liberty North High School.

Senior forward Julia Johnson chips in with 5.0 points and a team-leading 7.5 rebounds per game. She is shooting a team best 55.6 percent (5-9) from the field so far.

Johnson contributed 7.3 points and a team-leading 6.0 rebounds per game in 2020-21, her second season in the Pitt State program. She shot 56.2 percent (68-121) from the field and recorded 20 blocked shots on the year.

Johnson averaged 1.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in 25 games played in 2019-20.

The DeSoto, Kan., native joined the Gorillas from Johnson County Community College, where she averaged 5.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the Cavaliers as a redshirt freshman in 2018-19.

Freshman guard Grace Pyle has contributed 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in her first two contests with the Gorillas.

Pyle was named the Kansas Class 5A Player of the Year as a junior in 2019-20 at McPherson High School and she was a first-team Class4A All-State selection her senior season.

Sophomore guard Jenna Shipley and freshman forward/center Karenna Gerber both have chipped in 2.0 points per game.

Shipley saw action in 10 games last year. She averaged 1.2 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.

The Adrian, Mo., native earned Missouri Class 2A All-State honors in each of her final two prep seasons. She averaged 28.5 points and 14 rebounds per game as a senior.

Gerber was a two-time Kansas Class 3A All-State performer at Halstead High School. She earned All-League honors all four seasons.

Freshman guard Sydney Holmes also has averaged 1.5 points in 17.0 minutes of reserve action for the Gorillas.

Holmes earned Kansas Class 5A All-State recognition in each of her final two prep years at Maize High School.

Senior guard Erin Davis is back for her fourth year in the program. Davis started four games a year ago. She averaged 4.4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.

The Independence, Mo., native contributed 3.1 points in 17 games played in 2019-20.

Redshirt sophomore center Shayla Kohler and sophomore guard Emma Martin also saw limited action for the Gorillas in 2020-21.

Kohler, who played in four games for the Gorillas in 2020-21, averaged six points, seven rebounds and two assists per game as a senior at Platte County (Mo.) High School.

Martin, who played in six games for the Gorillas a year ago, joined the squad from Mountain Home (Ark.) High School. A two-time All-Conference selection, she averaged 14.5 points, four rebounds and five assists per game for the Bombers.

Junior guard Aliyah Myers also will seek to make an impact for the Gorillas this season.

Myers signed with the Gorillas from Kansas City Kansas Community College, where she earned first-team NJCAA Division II All-America honors as a sophomore.

She averaged 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.3 steals per game while helping the Blue Devils to a 21-4 record last year. A two-time All-Jayhawk Conference performer, Myers was named the 2021 Jayhawk Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

The Derby, Kan., native earned Kansas Class 6A All-State honors three times at Derby High School.

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