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Mt. Vernon Nazarene shuts down Point Park offense in second half, wins 66-52

Feb. 4, 2010

MT. VERNON, Ohio – Point Park University shot just 20 percent in the second half of a 66-52 loss at Mt. Vernon Nazarene in an American Mideast Conference women’s basketball game Thursday.



Point Park (11-11, 7-7 AMC) led, 33-31, at halftime, but made only 6 of 30 shots from the field the final 20 minutes as Mt. Vernon Nazarene (16-5, 9-4) pulled away. Point Park shot just 25.8 percent (16 of 62) on the night.

Mt. Vernon Nazarene, which entered the game ranked first in the AMC and eighth nationally in field-goal percentage defense at 35.4 percent, won their sixth conference game in a row following a 3-2 AMC start.

Point Park junior guard Ashley Henderson (Greensburg/Greensburg Central Catholic) tallied 12 points, seven rebounds and four steals, but she was held to 2 of 9 shooting from the field.

Sophomore forward Terrica Jones (West Mifflin/West Mifflin) totaled 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals. The 5-10 Jones scored nine points the first half and made 5 of 7 field goals on the night.

Forward Rachel Roddy (Greensburg/Greensburg Salem) reached double figures for the second time this year with 10 points. Kristen Veseleny (Pleasant Hills/Thomas Jefferson) led the Pioneers with a career-high nine rebounds to help the Pioneers hold a 46-43 edge on the boards.

Point Park’s leading scorer April Austin (Penn Hills/North Catholic) was held to eight points on 3 of 19 shooting, and the freshman guard did all of her scoring the first half. Austin hit a trey with 9:18 left in the first half to give the Pioneers a 16-14 lead.

Neither team led by more than four points the first half, and Mt. Vernon Nazarene broke open at close game shortly after the break. The Cougars mounted a 16-3 run early in the second half to build a 47-38 lead with 14:20 remaining.

The Cougars stretched the lead to 53-41 with 9:55 to go, and although Henderson’s 3-pointer briefly got the deficit under 10 points at 53-44, Mt. Vernon ran off the next six points to take its biggest lead, 59-44 with 6:48 left.

Point Park, which shot 25.8 percent (16 of 62) on the night, would get no closer than 12 the rest of the way. The Pioneers were 1 of 14 from 3-point range the second half.

It was the second straight game that the Pioneers struggled from the field, particularly from long range. Point Park was 4 of 23 from 3-point range Thursday after going 5 of 25 from beyond the arc in Saturday’s loss to No. 3 Cedarville. The Pioneers shot a season-low 24.6 percent overall Saturday.

Mt. Vernon Nazarene controlled the interior by holding a 36-12 advantage in points in the paint. Leading the inside attack was 6-1, junior forward Amanda Himes, who scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Himes entered the game among the AMC leaders at 18.9 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.

The Cougars shot 39 percent (23 of 59) for the night, which was boosted by 46-percent shooting (11 of 24) the second half. Mt. Vernon Nazarene survived a 2-of-16 performance from 3-point range.

Point Park had only one more turnover than Mt. Vernon Nazarene, but the Cougars were able to hold a 19-8 edge in points off turnovers. Point Park turned the ball over 19 times. The Cougars led, 16-0, on fast-break points.

Sierra Fletcher chipped in 12 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and eight steals for Mt. Vernon Nazarene. Fletcher entered the game ranking third in NAIA Division II in steals.

Point Park has this weekend off before traveling to Daemen for an AMC game Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The Pioneers will try to avenge an 87-69 home loss to the Wildcats Jan. 23.

At 7-7 in the AMC, Point Park is currently in ninth place in the standings. The Pioneers are two games out of the seventh-and-final playoff spot with five conference games remaining.