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Women's Basketball Recap

Point Park improves to 3-0 with another NAIA, non-conference victory at MVNU

Nov. 9, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. ET




By Zachary Weiss, Point Park Athletic Communications Student Assistant

MT. VERNON, Ohio -- The Point Park University women's basketball team shot 50 percent from the field and had five players score in double figures of an NAIA road victory at Mount Vernon Nazarene, 85-70, on Saturday night.

Leading the way for Point Park (3-0, 0-0 KIAC) was freshman forward Samantha Weir with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Weir, a native of Ellwood City, Pa., and a transfer from Seton Hill, got the start for Katresa Savisky who did not make the trip due to injury.

Four other Pioneers were in double figures as point guard Kayla Kiriau totaled 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Freshman guard Celina DiPietro added 14 points while Alexa Xenakis and Ashley Campbell came off the bench for 11 and 10 points, respectively.

With Savisky out of the lineup, it meant the Pioneers were without two of their three returning starters from last year. The other one is top scorer and rebounder from 2012-13 Ja'Nia McPhatter a 5-9 junior who continues to be out with a foot injury sufferred in the preseason. Still, the Pioneers are 3-0 with several players stepping up.

Point Park had a quick start against Mount Vernon Nazarene (1-2) in jumping out to a 14-7 lead at the 15:30 mark of the first half. But Point Park got into some foul trouble, and the Cougars were able to stay close with lots of made free throws. Mt. Vernon stayed in the game shooting 14 of 20 from the foul line in the first half.

Point Park's first half spark was DiPietro, who scored all 14 of her points in the opening 20 minutes, which included two 3-pointers. The Pioneers took a 41-37 lead into the halftime locker room after shooting 52 percent the first half.

In the second half, the Pioneers stayed in foul trouble and four players reached four fouls. Mount Vernon Nazarene battled back to tie the game at 47-47 with 13:44 to go.

But then Weir took over. The 6-0 freshman from Riverside High School, maneuvered through traffic and made a layup and then on the next possession, grabbed an offensive rebound and made another inside basket. This forced Mount Vernon Nazarene to call a timeout.

Out of the timeout, Point Park built the lead to 57-48  by the 11:15 mark after what was a 10-1 run. Weir scored three times down low and Campbell added two inside buckets during the spurt as the Pioneers went to work down inside.

Mt. Vernon’s chances for a comeback were hurt by shooting 1 for 9 from 3-point range the second half. The Cougars did convert another 14 of 16 free throws after halftime, but Point Park made 15 of 20 second-half free throws to cancel that out and stay ahead.

Improved rebounding the second half was a big factor for the Pioneers as it helped them maintain a double-digit lead for much of the final 10 minutes and saw the lead grow to as many as 18 with 1:52 left. Point Park was out-rebounded, 22-13, the first half but reversed that with a 22-14 edge on the boards the second half.

While fouls continued to be a factor and one player from each team fouled out, Point Park was able to overcome its 27 total fouls and the Cougars’ 28 made free throws in 36 attempts.

Now at 3-0, Point Park has three NAIA, non-conference wins to its credit. The Pioneers have beaten NAIA Division I West Virginia Tech (68-50), NAIA Division II receiving votes team Madonna (Mich.) (77-74) and one of the stronger teams from the Crossroads League Mt. Vernon Nazarene.

Point Park's next game is Friday at home against Penn State-Greater Allegheny. Tipoff is 6 p.m. at CCAC South.