#PPUWBB Gameday: #25 Point Park Women vs. IU Kokomo -- Jan. 10 at 12 p.m.
Alexis Lyers and the Pioneers (13-2) are ranked No. 25 in the NAIA DII Top 25. Photo by Chris Squier.
GAME PREVIEW: #25 Point Park (13-2, 2-1 KIAC) vs. IU Kokomo (5-9, 0-1 KIAC), 12 p.m. ET
ON AIR: Point Park Sports Network (PPSN) TWITTER: @PointParkSports
No. 25-ranked Point Park hosts Indiana Kokomo for a KIAC women’s game at CCAC-South Gym. The Pioneers (13-2) have won nine of their last 10 games and are off to a 2-1 start in conference play. Indiana Kokomo (5-8) entered Friday night’s game at Carlow having lost four of its past five, and it opened KIAC play this weekend.
This is the first-ever meeting between the teams as IUK is in the first year of women’s basketball in its history. The Cougars have eight freshman and one junior in their nine-player roster, which will take on two-time KIAC champ Point Park today. The Pioneers will play a home game for the first time since Dec. 18.
GAME NOTES -- Download PDF Game Notes
Overview: The Pioneers return home today after playing six of their last eight games on the road. Point Park has already played 10 road games with an 8-2 record in those, but it returns to CCAC-South, where it has a 4-0 record this year, for its KIAC home opener. Point Park is off to a 2-1 KIAC record with all of those being away from home. The Pioneers lost at Asbury, 66-64, Jan. 3, but followed that up with wins at Alice Lloyd, 95-59, on Jan. 4 and at Rio Grande, 74-70, on Jan. 7. The Pioneers were picked as the preseason KIAC North favorite.
Last Game: Won, 74-70, at Rio Grande on Wed., Jan. 7. Point Park was up 10 in the first half, led 37-32 at halftime and was up by 12 twice in the 2nd Half. But they needed the final five points of the game to win. Kelly Johnson scored 23 points (19 2nd Half), and Carly Forse and Ja’Nia McPhatter had 17 and 16, respectively.
NAIA DII Top 25: Point Park is ranked No. 25 in this week’s NAIA DII Top 25 Poll (Jan. 6), which is down three spots from the previous poll that was released on Dec. 9. The Pioneers were 6-1 between the Dec. 9 and Jan. 6 polls with the only loss to Asbury (12-3, 2-1), which is ranked No. 21 this week, its first ranking ever.
Head Coach: Tony Grenek (IUP ‘94) is in his fourth year at Point Park. His record of 90-21 (.810) at the school gives him the all-time record for coaching wins in program history. He passed Ed Meena, who won 81 games, for the record with the Nov. 24, 2014 victory at Washington Adventist.
Key Players: Point guard Kelly Johnson leads the team with 15.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.2 steals per game. G/F Ja’Nia McPhatter has averaged 15 ppg the last six games and come in at 11.5 ppg and 4.4 rpg. F Carly Forse (8.7 ppg) is the top rebounder at 6.8 rpg, which leads the active players.
Weir Injury: Sophomore C Sam Weir (18.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg) remains out indefinitely with a knee injury she suffered in practice Nov. 21. The Pioneers have pulled together to go 8-1 since losing their leading scorer and rebounder, but they are currently being out-rebounded for the season by a minus-4.1 margin without their center.
Home Cooking: Point Park is 40-5 in home games under coach Tony Grenek (since 2011-12). That includes an 18-4 record in conference home games (AMC & KIAC) and 22-1 against non-conference opponents.
On the Defensive: The Pioneers’ defense ranks in the Top 10 in the nation in three categories — 3-point field-goal defense (.235), turnover margin (+7.7) and steals per game (12.8). Point Park forces 23.7 turnovers per game and holds its opponents to 37.5 percent shooting from the floor.
Offensive Attack: Point Park is 10th in the country in scoring offense with 82.1 points per game. The Pioneers are 12th in the nation in assists per game (16.9) and 17th in scoring margin (+15.0). Point Park shoots 42 percent from the floor as a team and has eight players averaging at least 5.0 points per game in a balance attack.
NAIA DII Wins Leaders: Point Park is 42-6 since the start of last year, which is the fourth-best record and the fourth most wins in NAIA DII in that time. The Pioneers trail only defending national champion and No. 7 St. Francis (51-4 since ‘13-14), No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) (49-2) and No. 2 Davenport (Mich.) (48-7) in that ranking.
Scouting IUK: The Cougars have a young team with four freshmen starting and eight on the roster overall. Lela Crawford is a 5-8 guard leading the team with 12.1 ppg and 20 made 3-pointers. Guard Deja Felder averages 10.0 ppg with a team-high 30 assists. The top rebounder is 5-10 forward DeJianna Butler with 7.9 ppg and 7.5 rpg. IU Kokomo shoots 41 percent from the field and gives up 40 percent shooting. IUK averages 65.5 ppg, which is 3.3 ppg more than its opponents. The Cougars commit 17.3 turnovers per game.