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Basketball News

Pioneers improve to 5-2 in AMC behind Austin, Henderson

Jan. 18, 2010

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. - April Austin scored 27 points and Ashley Henderson added 16 to lead the Point Park University women's basketball team to a 71-46 victory over Roberts Wesleyan in an American Mideast Conference game Monday at CCAC South Gymnasium.


Point Park (9-6) improved to 5-2 in the AMC by turning things on in the second half.

Austin vs. Carlow 2Austin (Penn Hills/North Catholic), who is pictured left, scored 16 points after halftime to help Point Park turn its eight-point halftime lead into a rout. Defensively, the Pioneers limited Roberts Wesleyan (10-8, 4-4) to 21-percent shooting (7 of 33) the second half to pull away.

The Pioneers led 35-27 at the break before opening the second period on a 13-2 run for a 48-29 lead with 14:06 to go.  The Point Park lead reached 20, 57-37, with 9:09 left on a layup by Henderson (Greensburg/Greensburg Central Catholic), and the final margin of 25 points was the biggest lead for the Pioneers.

Point Park held Roberts Wesleyan to 30-percent shooting for the game (18 of 60) and forced 23 turnovers. The Pioneers took great care of the ball and committed a season-low nine turnovers.

The victory allowed Point Park to stay on track in the crowded AMC standings. The Pioneers moved into a tie for fourth place in the 14-team league, and there a six teams that have two losses or fewer. Point Park is one game behind Cedarville and Walsh, who are tied for first place at 6-1 in the AMC.

In the first half, Point struggled to 31-percent shooting (11 of 35), but managed to stay in front thanks to its 6-for-10 performance from 3-point range. The Pioneers recovered to shoot 45 percent from the floor the second half, and they limited Roberts Wesleyan to 7 of 33 shooting (21 percent) the final 20 minutes.

Austin, a freshman point guard who was four points shy of her career high, also had five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Henderson, a junior guard, tallied four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Austin was 9 of 14 from the field and made 5 of 5 free throws. As team, Point Park shot 86 percent (13 of 16) from the foul line, which is nearly 30 points higher than its season average coming into the game.

Roberts Wesleyan was led by Brittany McMillon, a 6-0 forward who totaled 14 points and 13 rebounds. McMillon did all of her scoring the first half and had a double-double midway through the first half. Her 3-point play put the Red Raiders ahead, 21-20, at the 7:40 mark.

Trailing 25-22, Point Park ended the first half on a 13-2 run to take a 35-27 edge into the break. During the run, Heather Swedish (Sewickley/Avonworth) hit two 3-pointers, Henderson drilled two jumpers and Rachel Roddy (Greensburg/Greensburg Salem) hit a trey.

After Point Park's early second-half run, Roberts Wesleyan never recovered. The Pioneers reversed their fortunes from the second half their previous game, a 70-66 home loss to Notre Dame (OH) Saturday. In that game, Point Park led 54-36 at halftime only to be held to 12 points on 4 of 30 shooting in the second half.

But Monday night, it was Point Park that put the clamps on its opponent.

The game was slow to get started, though, and literally. The game was delayed by an hour because the referees did not show. The referees for the men's game, which was slated for 7:30 p.m., ended up calling both games of the doubleheader. The crew of Jim Burns, Alan Thigpen and Mike Foote did double duty last night.

After welcoming Walsh Thursday, the busy week continues for the Pioneers, who play host to Daemen for an AMC game Saturday at 2 p.m. The next day, Point Park visits No. 8 Shawnee State (2 p.m.) for a game that was postponed Jan. 9.

The top seven teams in the AMC standings qualify for the AMC tournament, and Point Park has 12 conference games left beginning with a home date versus Walsh on Thursday. Game time at CCAC South Gymnasium is 5:30 p.m. Walsh (13-5) was the top team in the 'others receiving votes' section of Monday's NAIA Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll.