Special to The Sun
PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Britney Morgan’s 3-pointer with 2:11 remaining ignited a closing 9-0 run that lifted Central Oklahoma to a big 70-62 upset of No. 11-ranked Pittsburg State here Thursday night.
It was the first-ever Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association game for the streaking Bronchos (6-1), who won for the sixth straight time in knocking off a PSU team that advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight last year.
Morgan’s clutch trey from the wing put UCO on top 64-62 for its first lead since late in the first half and the Gorillas missed their final five shots of the game as the Bronchos put the game away.
Alyssa Fuxa’s follow shot at 1:25 boosted UCO’s lead to 66-62 and the senior forward rebounded a PSU miss seconds later, with Whitney Dunn’s layup off a nifty inside pass from Morgan at 0:42 making it 68-62.
The Gorillas missed two shots on the other end and Fuxa was fouled rebounding the second, sending her to the free throw line for two clinching foul shots at the 21-second mark that ended the scoring.
“That’s a big, big win for us, especially coming on the road against a team as good as Pitt State,” UCO head coach Guy Hardaker said. “We did a good job defensively in the second half and made some big plays in the last five minutes on both ends of the court. To win our first MIAA game on the road is pretty special.”
Dunn led the Bronchos, hitting 8-of-11 shots in scoring a game-high 16 points. Fuxa ended up with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while Morgan finished with nine points.
UCO was outrebounded by the Gorillas 44-28, but limited PSU to 25-percent shooting (8-of-32) in the second half. The Bronchos also held Lizzy Jeronimus, the league’s leading scorer with a 20.5 average, to 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
PSU shot a sizzling 57.1-perecent (16-of-28) from the field in taking a 37-33 lead, outscoring the Bronchos 19-9 over the final seven minutes to overcome a 24-18 UCO advantage.
The Bronchos trailed 14-11 before Hamilton sparked a 13-4 scoring spree. The senior guard started the spurt with a 3-pointer from the wing and a turnaround jumper inside the paint while also forcing a turnover and picking up two assists.
Solberg’s fast-break layup off a Hamilton feed ended the run to give UCO a 24-18 lead at the 7:09 mark before the Gorillas came back with eight unanswered points to regain the lead.
It was tied at 33-all after Fuxa worked inside for a tough reverse layup with 1:31 left in the half before PSU scored the final four points to nab the slim halftime edge.
The Gorillas pushed their lead to eight (47-39) six minutes into the second half, but UCO came back with 3-pointers by Rachel New and Jill Bryan to get close and stayed within striking distance until Morgan fueled the game-closing surge.
The Bronchos move on to Bolivar, Mo. Saturday to face Southwest Baptist at 5:30 p.m. in another league contest.