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Basketball News

Pioneers extend win streak to five with non-conference win over Rio Grande

Dec. 19, 2009 

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. - The Point Park University women's basketball team led by as many as 23 points in the first half of a 75-64 victory over Rio Grande in a non-conference game Saturday at CCAC-South Gymnasium.


Point Park (7-2 overall, 3-0 AMC) led 34-18 at halftime and had three players in double figures in winning for the fifth time in a row. Point Park has won seven of its last eight games and will take a five-game winning streak into the Christmas holiday for the second year in a row.

Austin action shot

Freshman point guard April Austin (Penn Hills/North Catholic) scored 13 of her 18 points in the first half to help the Pioneers stake the early lead. Austin (pictured left) was 5 of 7 from the field and connected on two of her three 3-pointers the first 20 minutes.

Senior guard/forward Brittney Wilson (West Mifflin/West Mifflin) tallied 15 points off the bench, and her 3-pointer gave Point Park a 30-9 lead with 6:39 left in the first half. She scored 10 points the second half.

Junior guard Ashley Henderson (Greensburg/Greensburg Central Catholic) totaled 13 points and seven rebounds. She was 4 of 8 from the floor and 5 of 6 from the foul line.

Point Park, which is 7-2 for just the second time in school history, jumped out to a 10-2 lead the first 4:44. Rio Grande (7-6), which is a member of the NAIA Division I Mid-South Conference, battled back to get within 18-9 at the 9:24 mark, but it went on a long scoring drought that allowed Point Park to pull ahead.

Leading 18-9, Point Park held Rio Grande scoreless for the next 6:17 while building a 32-9 lead. The Pioneers scored 14 straight points in a span of 5:38, and Heather Swedish (Sewickley/Avonworth) finished off the spurt with a steal and a layup to give Point Park its biggest lead.

Rio Grande's Bre Davis knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:07 left in the half to make the score 32-12. That trey ended a stretch in which the Red Storm was 0 of 9 from the field with six turnovers.

Rio Grande ended the first half on a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 34-18 at halftime. The Red Storm shot 26 percent (8 of 31) the first half and committed 16 of their 23 turnovers. Rio Grande made only 1 of 10 3-pointers in the opening stanza.

Although Point Park shot 39 percent and committed 14 of 22 turnovers in the first half, the Pioneers built their lead with strong defense and Austin's offense.

The Red Storm was successful in cutting the deficit under 10 points the first five minutes of the second half and trailed 39-30 with 14:37 remaining.

But Austin responded with a 3-pointer to bump the lead back to double digits, and Point Park was able to maintain a double-digit lead until the final two minutes. After fending off the Red Storm rally, Point Park went on to lead 53-39 on a layup by Marissa Reinhard (Plum/Plum) with 10:35 left. Reinhard had a game-high 12 rebounds to establish a career high.

Point Park's Maeve Gallagher (Pittsburgh/Perry) got a steal and layup for a 58-45 lead with 7:37 to go. In another hustle play that allowed Point Park to maintain the big lead, Wilson put back a missed jumper for a 64-51 lead. On the next possession, Austin fed Wilson for an easy inside bucket as the Pioneers built a 15-point lead with 4:32 left.

With less than two minutes remaining, Rio Grande mounted a late rally, which was started by two straight 3-pointers by Kati Moore. Then, a steal and a layup cut the Point Park lead to 70-64 with 41 seconds left.

But on the next possession, Wilson knocked down two free throws. Point Park then forced a turnover, and a layup by Joncelyn Peterkin (West Mifflin/West Mifflin) made it a 10-point game, 74-64.

Point Park shot 35 percent (26 of 75) and held a 57-47 advantage in rebounds. The Pioneers were 4 of 23 from 3-point range. Point Park was 19 of 30 (63 percent) from the foul line, but made its free throws count down the stretch. The Pioneers made 13 of their last 18 foul shots.

Rio Grande shot 29 percent overall (20 of 68) and 78 percent (18 of 23) from the foul line. Guard Jenna Smith was 0 of 12 from the field but was 9 of 10 from the foul line.

Leading scorer Leah Kendro had 13 points and eight rebounds and was held to 4 of 14 shooting. Moore came off the bench to score 15 points on 5 of 7 shooting, which included 3 of 5 from long range.

Peterkin, a 6-2 sophomore center who transferred from Carlow this year, tallied six points, five rebounds, four blocks and two steals. Terrica Jones (West Mifflin/West Mifflin), a sophomore forward, had seven points and seven rebounds in just 10 minutes of action.

Point Park will hot play again for 10 days, and when its resumes play, it will take its five-game winning streak to the Northwood (Fla.) Classic in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 29-30.

The Pioneers will play two ranked teams during the two-day event beginning with Indiana Wesleyan, the No. 8 team in NAIA Division II. The following day, Point Park faces AMC rival Cedarville, the No. 11 team.

Point Park will make it three games in a row versus ranked teams when it travels to No. 4 Shawnee State for an American Mideast Conference game Jan. 9. Point Park is 3-0 in the AMC, and that game could end up matching the only remaining unbeaten teams in the conference.

Rio Grande entered Saturday's game fresh off a near upset of Shawnee State. The Red Storm led the No. 4 team in the country for the first 37 minutes before losing by two, 67-65.

NOTES: With Saturday's win, the Pioneers have won eight straight games in the month of December dating back to last year...Point Park is 3-0 at CCAC-South Gymnasium...Point Park has been 7-2 only one other time in school history. Point Park started 7-1 in 1980-81 before losing its next three games.