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Game Preview -- KIAC Tournament

#1 Point Park at #5 IU Southeast -- KIAC Tournament Semifinals, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.

Posted Feb. 24 at 10:15 p.m. ET

Teresa Davis and the Pioneers have advanced to the KIAC Tournament semifinals. Photo by Lyddia Ankrom.

WATCH LIVE (Grenadier Sports Network on iHigh.com)  / LISTEN LIVE (WPPJ 670-AM & MSA Sports Network)



NEW ALBANY, Ind. -- No. 1 seed Point Park University (23-6, 11-4 KIAC) plays No. 5 seed IU Southeast (17-12, 8-7 KIAC) in the KIAC Women's Basketball Tournament Semifinals Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. ET in New Albany, Ind. The KIAC men's and women's basketball semifinals and finals are being hosted by IU Southeast.

WATCH LIVE on the Grenadier Sports Network on iHigh.com as tournament host IU Southeast will broadcast live all the semifinal and finals games. LISTEN LIVE on the MSA Sports Network to the Point Park WPPJ 670-AM broadcast. Live Stats will also be provided by IU Southeast.

KIAC regular season champion Point Park got to the semifinals with a 54-44 home win over No. 8 Carlow on Saturday (Feb. 23). IU Southeast, the KIAC preseason favorite and the four-time defending conference tournament champion, won at No. 4 Berea (Ky.), 55-52, in the quarterfinal round Saturday.

Point Park is led by sophomore forward Ja'Nia McPhatter, who has a team-high 15.0 ppg and 8.9 rpg. She was named to the KIAC All-Conference Team along with senior guard Emily Schartner, who has 12.3 ppg and a team-best 58 made 3-pointers. Senior point guard April Austin averages 10.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 4.5 apg.

IU Southeast features sophomore guard Heather Wheat at 20.3 ppg and 5.0 apg and fellow KIAC All-Conference Team selection Ashmere Woods, a senior guard who is averaging 16.2 ppg and 9.1 rpg. Center Kortney Woods provides some height at 6-1 and averages 8.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg.

Point Park, picked third in the KIAC preseason poll, won both regular season meetings with IU Southeast. The Pioneers had a major highlight of the season Nov. 30 with a 74-69 win at IU Southeast in double overtime. Point Park came back from a 30-19 halftime deficit to stun the Grenadiers and win their first of eight straight games.

McPhatter and Schartner had monster games in the 2OT win. McPhatter had 28 points and 19 rebounds while Schartner had 25 points, 12 rebounds and six 3-pointers.

Wheat led the Grenadiers with 18 points in the home loss, and Ashmere Woods was held relatively in check with 10 points on 3 of 13 shooting.

Point Park's home win over IU Southeast came by a score of 63-56 on Dec. 29. The Pioneers jumped out to a 33-24 halftime lead and were able to grind out the win. McPhatter had another double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Schartner added 14 points. Austin, who did not play in the initial meeting, put in 14 points and four assists.

Wheat carried the Grenadiers with 27 points at Point Park, but she didn't get much help. Woods had only six points on 2 for 9 from the field.

Point Park, the top defensive team in the KIAC, has found itself in the conference semifinals with the three top offensive clubs in the league. Point Park leads the conference in scoring defense (56.0 ppg), field-goal percentage defense (.357), rebounding (42.8) and turnover margin (+5.1).

Offensively, the Pioneers average 66.0 ppg -- good for fifth in the KIAC -- but that figure is 9-10 points lower than what the other three KIAC semifinalist put up on the scoreboard. No. 3 seed Asbury (Ky.) averages a league-best 83.1 ppg, No. 2 seed Alice Lloyd (Ky.) averages 76.4 ppg, and IU Southeast comes in at 75.3 ppg.

Conversely, IU Southeast, Asbury and Alice Lloyd all allow opponents to score in the 70s, and the Pioneers are about 15 points better than that with an opponent's scoring average of 56.0 ppg. Point Park shoots 36% from the floor while IU Southeast as the other semifinalist shoot 43% overall.

Monday's matchup with IU Southeast will be determined by defense and rebounding for Point Park. The Pioneers won the battle of the boards in both regular-season meetings -- 53-41 at IU Southeast and 39-31 at home.

On defense, Wheat was able to get off for big games both times, but Woods was hounded on the perimeter and held well below her average. Point Park has in the starting lineup a couple of defensive stalwarts in Teresa Davis and Katresa Savisky who will likely be involved in the perimeter defense of those two.

Scouting the other semifinal, No. 2 Alice Lloyd (18-10, 10-5 KIAC) faces No. 3 Asbury (22-9, 10-5 KIAC) on Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. ET. Asbury and Alice Lloyd split the regular-season games, and Alice Lloyd got the No. 2 seed by virtue of its two wins over Point Park.

Point Park lost to Alice Lloyd in its first-ever KIAC game, 71-64, at home Nov. 21. The Pioneers also lost at Alice Lloyd, 63-57, on Jan. 4. That defeat ended an eight-game win streak for Point Park, which lost at Asbury, 83-75, on the second day of the same road trip Jan. 5.

But those were the only two losses in the span of two months for Point Park, which was 15 of 17 games besides those two. Point Park beat Asbury, 63-56, at home Dec. 17, which the same exact score that the Pioneers used to beat IU Southeat at home two weeks later.

The KIAC Tournament championship game will be Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. on the campus of IU Southeast (New Albany, Ind.). The tournament winner will receiving an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II National Championship being held March 6-12 at Sioux City, Iowa.

Short of a KIAC Tournament title, Point Park would be leaving itself up to an at-large bid to the national tournament. The Pioneers are eceiving votes in the NAIA DII Top 25 Poll and were rated No. 29 in the country in last week's poll. The National Championship Selection show will unveil the 32-team national bracket in a live video webcast on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. CT.

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