No. 24 Point Park women beat Alice Lloyd (Ky.) in KIAC showdown, 91-84
Dec. 7, 2013 at 11:15 p.m. ET
Samantha Weir had 31 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for Point Park in the win over Alice Lloyd. Photo by E.Schall.
By Zachary Weiss, Point Park Athletic Communications Student Assistant
WEST MIFFLIN, PA—The No. 24-ranked Point Park University women’s basketball team is one of four remaining unbeaten teams in NAIA Division II after opening its KIAC schedule with a 91-84 victory over Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College on Saturday at CCAC-South Gym.
It was a KIAC showdown of the two preseason favorites in the conference. Alice Lloyd, which beat Point Park in both meetings last year, was picked tied for first with Point Park in the KIAC preseason poll this year.
Point Park now moves to 9-0 on the season and 1-0 in the KIAC. All five starters scored in double figures led by Samantha Weir’s career high 31 points and 15 rebounds – the fifth double-double in nine games for the 6-0, freshman center from Ellwood City, Pa., and Riverside High School.
Sophomore guard Alexa Xenakis added 17 points in her first start of the year, and freshman forward Carly Forse had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Amber Shepherd led Alice Lloyd [4-4, 0-1 KIAC] with 23 points off the bench highlighted by a 5-for-6 performance from long range.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster and this is exactly where we want to be,” Weir said. “We always have things to improve on, but the game couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Both teams had a slow start to the first half as 10 combined points were scored in the first four minutes of the contest. The teams battled for control of the game.
Still tied at 29-29 with 6:26 remaining in the first half, Katresa Savisky made a 3-pointer – just her second of the season. This combined with a Xenakis lay-up and a Weir free throw allowed for a little separation, 35-29, 4:29 before the half.
Shepherd made one of her four 3-pointers the first half to pull Alice Lloyd within 35-32, but the Pioneers ended the half on a 17-9 run to take an 11-point lead at the break. Weir had nine of the 17 points in the spurt, and she had 17 points at the half.
Point Park led 52-41 at halftime and shot 55.9 percent from the field, while the defense forced 12 turnovers.
Alice Lloyd forward Ariel Nickell came into the game averaging 29.2 points per game and 14.3 rebounds, both NAIA D-II highs. But she was held to seven points in the opening 20 minutes on 3 of 11 from the field.
“They got in my head, I guess and I didn’t hit my shots,” Nickell said.
In the second half, both teams had to adjust to an increase in foul calls. Less than a minute into the half, Alice Lloyd point guard Carla Booth picked up her fourth foul. Booth came in averaging 20.3 points per game and last season was a key reason the Eagles defeated the Pioneers in both meetings.
Her absence created some confusion on the Alice Lloyd side. Point Park was able to capitalize and also got Nickell in foul trouble. Following a 3-pointer by Xenakis, the Pioneers had their biggest lead of the game, 69-51, with 10:56 to play.
This forced Alice Lloyd coach John Mills to bring Booth back on the court with four fouls. Immediately, the Eagles’ offense began to flow, and Nickell scored the team’s next 11 points to cut the lead to 73-62. All of this happened in just under two minutes.
Point Park held on to a double digit lead until Nickell made a lay-up with 5:06 to play, bringing the lead down to eight points, 78-70.
The Pioneers momentarily brought the lead back to double digits, as Nickell fouled out for Alice Lloyd.
The Eagles would recover and chipped away once again as Booth scored the Eagles’ next nine points to cut the lead to 84-79 on at 3-pointer that forced a Point Park timeout with 2:17 to go.
With 1:43 left in regulation, Savisky grabbed a big defensive rebound and was sent to the free throw line. Savisky, a 71.4 percent free throw shooter coming into the game, sank both shots. On the next possession, Forse stole the ball from Booth and ran the length of the court for a lay-up to seal the game, 88-79.
“We didn’t come ready to play here,” Nickell said. “Our heads weren’t there until the second half, and Point Park took advantage of it.”
Nickell, who had 21 points and nine rebounds noted the difference between this year’s Pioneers versus last season’s.
“They are a lot tougher this year, and their bigs inside are very impressive,” Nickell said. “When they wanted the ball, they got the ball.”
None was more so impressive than Weir, whose career-high 31 points and 15 rebounds came on 10 of 16 from the floor. She also got to the foul line many times, making 11 of 13 shots. She also added four blocks.
Fellow freshman post player Forse notched her third double-double and also added five assists and three steals.
Point guard Kayla Kiriau ended up with 11 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and Savisky added 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Point Park will not play again until Saturday as it is finals week. The Pioneers will face KIAC foe Brescia at CCAC South with a 1 p.m. tipoff time.
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