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Notre Dame rallies from 10 down to beat Point Park in AMC play

Jan. 29, 2011

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Point Park's April Austin defends Notre Dame's Alex Dackin. Photo by David Eigenbrode.

Box Score 

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. – Notre Dame (OH) College erased a 10-point deficit the last five minutes and came storming back to win at Point Park University, 79-74, in an American Mideast Conference women’s basketball game Saturday at CCAC-South Gymnasium. 

Point Park (11-10, 3-7 AMC) scored the first nine points of the game, led by as many as 14 on two occasions in the first half and was still in control, 69-59, with 5:32 to play. But Notre Dame (18-5, 8-1 AMC) ended the game on a 20-5 run to win for the seventh time in eight games.

As one of the hottest teams in the AMC, Notre Dame stayed within two games of league-leading NAIA DII #9 Daemen and avenged a 63-62 home loss to Point Park Dec. 30. Since the game, the Falcons are 7-1.

Point Park’s Ashley Henderson had 17 of her game-high 25 points in the first half as the Pioneers assumed a 45-40 lead at the break. The 45 first-half points were the most by the Pioneers in any conference game this year, and it was just eight points less than what they had in Thursday’s 55-53 loss Malone.

Indeed, Point Park seemed poised from the outset to erase any memories of Thursday’s disappointing defeat as Kristen Veseleny scored two buckets in a row for a 9-0 lead the first three minutes.

Point Park continued its total control of the ball game in building a 24-10 lead with 12:54 left before the half. To that point, the Pioneers held a 16-1 advantage in rebounds that was equally impressive and as it was uncanny. Point Park went on to lead, 37-27, later in the half.

Point Park held a 23-13 edge on the boards the first half, but Notre Dame was able to stay within five points at the break thanks to its 4 of 6 performance from outside the 3-point arc. Notre Dame shot 52 percent overall the first 20 minutes, which was better than Point Park’s 47 percent.

Notre Dame managed a 47-47 tie early in the second half, but Point Park rattled off a 9-0 run for a 56-47 lead with 14:41 to go. The spurt was ignited by a 3-pointer from April Austin, who finished with 19 points on the strength of 5 of 9 from long range.

Over the next three minutes, Notre Dame made it a four-point game, 61-57, but again Point Park had an answer. The Pioneers put together an 8-2 uprising for a 69-59 advantage with 5:32 left. Like she did before, it was Austin who got the run going with a 3-pointer.

But Notre Dame quickly knotted things up as its 11-1 run made it 70-70 two minutes later. Then Point Park’s Joncelyn Peterkin, who had 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, put back a missed shot for a 72-70 lead. On the next play, Henderson fouled out, and the ensuing free throws tied it a 72-72.

Point Park then missed a jumper, and Notre Dame’s Yvette Hunter made a 3-point play on the other end that proved to be insurmountable as the Falcons led, 75-72, with 1:30 go. Austin’s clutch jumper cut it to 75-74 on the Pioneers’ next trip, but Notre Dame was able to rebound a couple of missed treys on Point Park’s next two possessions. Each time, the Falcons buried a pair of free throws to stretch out the final margin.

Veseleny had 11 points and six rebounds to give Point Park four players in double figures. Notre Dame enjoyed balanced scoring as Chelsea Andorka’s 15 points paced five double-digit scorers. Danielle Ledrich made all five of her field goals and scored 12 points off the bench.

At 3-7 in the AMC, Point Park is now three games out of the final playoff spot. The Pioneers have six games remaining beginning with Tuesday’s trip to NAIA DII #12 Walsh.