Bench players provide boost in first half, Austin takes over in second half
Dec. 1, 2009
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. - The Point Park women's basketball team got a great first-half performance from its bench, and starting point guard April Austin finished things off in the second half as the Pioneers earned a 73-64 victory over Wilberforce in an American Mideast Conference game at CCAC-South Gymnasium Tuesday.
Point Park's bench scored 29 points in the first half as the Pioneers (4-2 overall, 1-0 AMC) clung to a 36-35 lead at the break. Point Park pulled away in the second half and led by as many as 16 down the stretch thanks to Austin, who scored all of her points in the second half and accounted for 19 of her team's 37 points after halftime.
Austin, a 5-6, freshman point guard from Penn Hills, was 0-for-5 from the field in the first half, but was 7 of 9 from the floor the final 20 minutes. Her second-half performance included a 4-for-5 showing from 3-point range. On the night, she also tallied four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
A former all-state player who finished up her career at North Catholic after the 2006-07 season, Austin leads Point Park in scoring at 18.7 points per game. She is shooting 49 percent (19 of 39) from 3-point range and 44 percent overall.
But before Austin took over in the second half, it was the Point Park bench that kept the Pioneers in the game. Sophomore forward Kristen Veseleny (Pleasant Hills/Thomas Jefferson) led the bench players with 13 points, which is just one off of her career high that she set earlier this year at Penn State-Fayette.
Veseleny (pictured) scored eight of her 13 points and made two of her three 3-pointers in the first half. On the night, the 5-7 forward was 5 of 7 from the field and 3 of 3 from long range.
Phylicia Swain (Pittsburgh/Westinghouse), a 6-0, senior center keyed the first half with seven points off the bench while fellow frontcourt sub Marissa Reinhard (Plum/Plum) joined backup guard Heather Swedish (Sewickley/Avonworth) in scoring all five of her points in the opening half.
Swedish connected on a 3-pointer at the 15:07 mark to give Point Park a 9-5 lead in the early going. The Pioneers were ahead, 13-9, after a jumper by Reinhard and an inside basket by Swain.
After Wilberforce knotted the score at 13-13 with 12:40 to go, Veseleny's 3-pointer ignited a 12-2 run that gave the Pioneers the lead for good. Veseleny ended the spurt with another trey, which put Point Park up, 25-15 with 10:01 left.
Wilberforce's Andrecia Smith scored 11 of her 13 points and made three 3-pointers in the first half to help the Bulldogs make it a one-point game at the break. Smith nailed a trey with 5:35 before halftime to cut the lead to 27-24 and cap off a 9-2 run. With 16 seconds before the half, she connected from long range to make it 36-35 after 20 minutes.
Austin set the tone for the second half by drilling a 3-pointer on Point Park's first possession out of the locker room. Two minutes later, she hit another trey for a 46-40 lead, and Point Park was up 10, 53-43, after Veseleny connected from long range at the 14:27 mark.
The Pioneers maintained their double-digit lead for all but 30 seconds the rest of the way. The Bulldogs briefly cut the lead to nine, 64-55, with 8:20 to play, but Austin made a 3-pointer 18 seconds later to re-establish the double-digit cushion. Wilberforce made the final margin nine points on Smith's layup with 12 seconds left.
Point Park took its biggest lead of the night, 62-46, after a 12-2 spurt. The surge included 3-pointers from Austin, Veseleny and Katy Auth (Bellevue/Northgate) and a layup by Ashley Henderson (Greensburg/Greensburg Salem).
Auth finished with seven points and a team-high seven rebounds, and Henderson had eight points, four rebounds and was 4 of 8 from the floor.
Point Park shot 40 percent from the field and 44 percent (10 of 23) from beyond the 3-point arc. The Pioneers led in rebounding, 49-39, and each team committed 16 turnovers.
Wilberforce's Deidra Brown, who entered the game averaging 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, had game highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds. The 5-9 sophomore swing player had 15 points after halftime, but was outdueled by Austin.
Point Park continues AMC play Saturday at Houghton. Game time is 4 p.m.