Point Park women drop opener in first game under new coach Tony Grenek
Nov. 8, 2011
April Austin looks for the opening in the MVNU defense Tuesday night. Photo by Matt Desmond.
MT. VERNON, Ohio -- April Austin, a 5-6 point guard, had game highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds, but Point Park University could not get much offense elsewhere in losing its women's basketball season opener, 54-42, Tuesday night at non-conference Mt. Vernon Nazarene.
It was the first game for the Pioneers (0-1) under new coach Tony Grenek, who had been the top assistant women's coach at Seton Hill for the past five years.
"Even though we lost, we played hard. I can't complain," said Grenek. "We just couldn't score. But we defended well."
Grenek emphasizes a defensive-minded approach, and the game was a defensive struggle for much of the way. Mt. Vernon Nazarene scored the game's first six points, but neither team got out of single-digits the first 12 minutes. The game was tied, 10-10, with 7:31 to play in the first half.
Point Park held Mt. Vernon Nazarene to four field goals the first half. The opening 20 minutes included 26-percent shooting (7 of 27) for Point Park and 14-percent shooting (4 of 28) for Mt. Vernon Nazarene.
The Cougars (2-0) picked things up to shoot 41 percent (9 of 22) the second half and 26 percent (13 of 50) overall and they made headway over Point Park at the free throw line. Mt. Vernon made 25 of 30 (83 percent) free throws on the night whereas Point Park only made 14 trips to the line with six made shots.
Point Park shot 30 percent (17 of 56) overall with Austin going 10 of 22, including 2 of 5 from long range. But the rest of the Point Park team was 7 of 34 from the field and no one else reached double figures.
Mt. Vernon Nazarene had a team-high 14 points from Whitney Levering, and Alexis Harkins added 13 points and nine rebounds.
A 3-pointer by Harkins mixed around several free throws gave the Cougars a 32-25 lead with 13:14 to play. Point Park got it back to within 39-36 on Austin's trey with 8:34 to go, but a 9-2 Mt. Vernon Nazarene run bumped the lead to 48-38 with 3:50 left.
The Cougars were able to put the game away at the foul line after that.
Tuesday's season-opener began a stretch of seven games in 12 days for Point Park. The stretch continues Friday and Saturday at the Bevo Francis Tournament hosted by the University of Rio Grande. The Pioneers open up with Midway (Ky.) in the first round Friday at 2 p.m.