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Basketball News

Point Park loses at Geneva despite April Austin's big night

Nov. 21, 2009 

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. - Point Park University's April Austin had 31 points and eight steals, but it wasn't enough as the Pioneers lost at Geneva, 84-75, in a non-conference women's basketball game Saturday night.


Austin, a freshman point guard from Penn Hills and a graduate of North Catholic High School, registered a career high in points and steals and made six 3-pointers, but Point Park (2-2) couldn't overcome poor shooting in the second half.


In the second half, the Pioneers shot 30 percent (10 of 33) from the field and were 3 of 13 (23 percent) from 3-point range. Point Park was 16 of 37 (43 percent) from the foul line on the night, and that included a 9-for-25 performance in the second half that allowed Geneva (2-1) to build its lead.

The cold shooting allowed Geneva to survive 26 turnovers compared to just 14 turnovers for Point Park. The Golden Tornadoes held a big rebounding edge, 42-28, and out-rebounded the Pioneers, 35-16, in defensive rebounds.

Austin (pictured), a former all-state player and Division I recruit out of North Catholic, scored 18 points in a high-scoring first half that saw the lead change hands 13 times

The Pioneers made 8 of 13 3-pointers in the first half, and the hot shooting from long range allowed them to keep pace with the Golden Tornadoes, who shot a blistering 69.6 percent (16 of 23) from the field in the first half.

Point Park built an 18-9 lead at the 15:28 mark, but Geneva battled back to take its first lead, 23-22, midway through the first half after a 14-4 run.

The Pioneers' early, nine-point lead was bolstered by four 3-pointers in the first four minutes. Austin hit two treys, and Ashley Henderson (Greensburg/Greensburg Central Catholic) and Brittney Wilson (West Mifflin/West Mifflin) each connected on one 3-pointer during the spurt.

Wilson, a senior guard/forward, and Henderson, a junior guard, joined Austin in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

From 3-point range, Point Park shot 43 percent and made 11 of 26 3-pointers. The Pioneers, however, were just 3 of 13 shooting from long range in the second half.

Austin was 5-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half, and she made two straight treys to give Point Park a 37-36 lead with 5:09 before halftime. The 13th lead change of the first half put Geneva ahead, 41-39, and the Golden Tornadoes went on to lead 47-43 at the break.

Geneva, a member of NCAA Division III and the Presidents Athletic Conference, quickly built a nine-point lead, 54-45, in the first two minutes of the second half. But Point Park responded with a 12-2 run that allowed them to take a 57-56 lead with 14:03 to go.

Henderson's jumper put the Pioneers ahead, 57-56, but Point Park would take the lead just once more the rest of the game. After a first half that was back and forth, Point Park's 60-58 lead with 11:20 to play was the last time the Pioneers were ahead.

Unfortunately for Point Park, after taking the 60-58 lead, Geneva scored 20 of the next 24 points and led 78-64 with 5:00 remaining. The Pioneers were 1 of 8 from the field and  2 of 10 from the free throw line during that stretch as Geneva pulled away.

The 20-4 spurt ended with a technical foul on Point Park, and four straight free throws by the Golden Tornadoes bumped the lead from 10 points to 14 points.

Point Park had 10 of its 12 offensive rebounds in the second half, but the second-chance opportunities weren't enough to stay close. Geneva made 27 free throws - 11 more than Point Park - and shot 71 percent from the line. The Golden Tornadoes were 16 of 22 (72 percent) from the charity stripe the second half.

The Pioneers got within seven, 82-75, on a 3-pointer by Ashley Bergman (West Mifflin/West Mifflin) with 20 seconds on the clock. The previous possession, Austin nailed a trey. But Geneva hit two free throws on the other end for a nine-point lead, and Point Park missed a 3-pointer on its only trip after that.

Point Park shot 38 percent (24 of 63) for the game after shooting 47 percent (14 of 30) the first 20 minutes. After shooting 69.6 percent the first half, Geneva had 48-percent shooting the second half and shot 59 percent (26 of 44) for the game.

Valerie Hamilton, a 5-10 forward, led Geneva with 19 points on 8-for-8 shooting. Renee Rawding added 15 points and was 9 of 10 from the foul line. Alyse Scarsella had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds to give Geneva three starters in double figures.

Austin has led Point Park in scoring in three of four games, and the freshman point guard is averaging 20.8 points per game. Her previous career high of 26 points came Nov. 14 vs. Midway (Ky.) in the second game of her career.

After playing its first four games on the road, Point Park has its home opener Tuesday. The Pioneers welcome Penn State-Fayette for a non-conference game at 5:30 p.m.

Although the last two games were not broadcast by the Point Park internet radio station, 21 of the final 23 games will air live on WPPJ AM-670 and the MSA Sports Network. The only two games that the student station will not broadcast are the two games at the Northwood (Fla.) Classic Dec. 29-30. However, fans can listen to Point Park's second game of that tournament vs. Cedarville on the Cedarville radio network.

Join Josh Isenberg and Kevin Calhoun for the call Tuesday beginning with the pre-game show at 5:15 p.m.