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Game Preview -- KIAC Tournament

#1 Point Park vs. #3 Asbury (Ky.) -- KIAC Tournament Finals, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.

Feb. 26, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET from New Albany, Ind. (at IU Southeast)

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Katresa Savisky and the Pioneers play Asbury for a spot in the national tourney. Photo by Lyddia Ankrom.

WATCH LIVE (IU Souteast Grenadiers Sports Network) / LISTEN LIVE (Point Park WPPJ radio & MSAsports.net)

LIVE STATS / KIAC BRACKET (PDF) / TEAM MATCHUP

 

NEW ALBANY, Ind. -- It's a matchup of the top defense in the KIAC versus the top offense in the KIAC for the conference championship. The winner will get automatic qualification to the NAIA Division II National Championship March 6-12 in Sioux City, Iowa.

KIAC newcomer and tournament No. 1 seed Point Park (24-6, 11-4 KIAC) faces No. 3 seed Asbury (Ky.) (23-9, 10-5 KIAC) in the KIAC Women's Basketball Tournament Finals on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. from New Albany, Ind. The tournament final four is being held on the campus of KIAC member IU Southeast.

WATCH LIVE on the KIAC Digitial Network the live video broadcast provided by tournament host IU Southeast. Click the link to visit the Grenadier Sports Network on iHigh.com. Point Park's student radio station will have the call for LIVE AUDIO via WPPJradio.com and MSAsports.net with Chris Hoffman and Phil Navatsyk.

Point Park, the KIAC Regular Season champion at 11-4 KIAC, leads the KIAC in just about every defensive category. The Pioneers, under second-year head coach Tony Grenek, are tops in the leauge in scoring defense (55.8 ppg), field-goal percentage defense (.356), rebounding (42.9 rpg) and turnover margin (+5.1). Point Park's defense in 10th in the country in terms of points allowed per game.

The Pioneers had their full complement of skills on display in the semifinal victory, which was perhaps their most-complete game of the year. Read the game recap of the win on the Pioneers' website.

Asbury, on the other hand, is fourth in NAIA Division II with a KIAC-best 83.2 ppg on offense. The Eagles, who have two KIAC All-Conference guards Trenia Barbee (24.7 ppg) and Laura Carroll (16.2 ppg), are ninth in the nation in field-goal percentage at 43.8 percent.

Point Park is capable offensively as its 66.3 ppg is good for fifth in the KIAC. The Pionees came alive for 76 points -- above what they've been putting up of late -- in the tournament semifinals, a 76-51 win over No.5 seed IU Southeast on Monday.

In the other semifinal, Asbury edged-out No. 2 seed Alice Lloyd (Ky.), 74-73, in  matchup of the two best offenses in the conference. Barbee had 20 points, Carroll 16 and Lakin Griffith added 12 for the Eagles. Asbury gives up 70.9 ppg and its field-goal defense of 41.5 percent is 7th of 9 in the KIAC.

Point Park and Asbury split the regular-season matchups with the home team winning each time. Point Park won at home playing its style of play, 63-56, on Dec. 18. Asbury won at home with a more high-scoring game to its liking, 83-75, on Jan. 5.

Senior point guard April Austin, who starred with 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the semifinals, played just her second game in the lineup in the Dec. 18 home win over Asbury. The NAIA DII Honorable Mention All-American who averages 10.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 4.6 apg had to sit out the first semester since she only had one half year of eligibility left.

Austin helped Point Park come away with the win Dec. 18 with several key plays down the stretch. She finished with six points, seven rebounds and six assists, including setting up her teammates for some key buckets to hold off Asbury.

Point Park led by 11, 46-35, midway through the second half, but Asbury got the deficit down to 50-48 with 5:08 left on a 3-point play by Barbee. But the Pioneers came up with the key plays and were up, 61-56, with under a minute to go before closing out the 63-56 win.

Forward Ja'Nia McPhatter (15.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg) posted a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds in the victory. Emily Schartner (12.3 ppg, 60 3-pt FGs) put in 16 points and eight rebounds on 4 of 10 from long range, and Katresa Savisky recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds. Teresa Davis gave the Pioneers four in double figures with 10.

Barbee had a productive night with 22 points, but her running mate Carroll was held to eight points and 4 of 12 from the field. Point Park held Asbury to 36-percent shooting, including 2 for 10 from long range. Point Park hit for 42-percent accuracy.

It was a different story for Point Park in its road loss at Asbury, 83-75, on Jan. 5. Instead of Carroll having an off game, both she and Barbee had 20-point games as Asbury got its scoring average in the win. Barbee put in 22 points, and Carroll had 28 on 7 of 12 from the floor and 14 of 15 from the foul line, where she is a 94.5 percent shooter. Barbee is second in the country in scoring average at 24.7 ppg.

Asbury led at halftime, 38-35, and although Point Park totaled 40 points in the second half, it came up short to Asbury's 50-percent shooting and 45-point output the final 20 minutes. Point Park made 10 3-pointers but shot just 34 percent from the field. Asbury hit for 46 percent for the game, which made up for 18 turnovers.

Austin led the perimeter attack for Point Park with 23 points on 5 of 11 from downtown. McPhatter added 22 points, and Savisky posted another double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, but it wasn't enough.

The second meeting had the teams staying within a couple of possessions for much of the game before Asbury made its move late. Austin hit a jumper to cut the Asbury lead to 68-66 with 5:53 left. But the Eagles got a key, 8-2 run to go up, 76-68, with under two minutes to go.

For updates on the KIAC Tournament Finals, follow the live coverage links at the top of this page. On social media, follow the Pioneers @PointParkSports with hashtag #KIACTourney for the latest updates.