Point Park women fall short of NAIA DII at-large national bid, end up 25-5
March 4, 2015
PITTSBURGH -- The Point Park University women's basketball team will be home in March for the first time in four years after it came up short for an at-large bid to the NAIA Division II national tournament. The NAIA announced the 32 qualifiers for the national tournament on Wednesday, and Point Park was too far down in the rankings to get an invitation.
Point Park (25-5, 11-3) ends the year with 25 wins in 30 games and a run to the KIAC Tournament semifinals last weekend. Entering the national tournament, the Pioneers have the 11th best record in the nation with an .833 winning percentage. Point Park is 54-10 the last two years, which is tied for the sixth-most victories in the country since then (see below).
The Pioneers had appeared in the national tourney each of the last three years and each time had secured an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament. But when Point Park lost at Asbury (Ky.), 65-57, in the KIAC semifinals Feb. 28, it had to rely on an at-large bid.
Point Park had been in the 'others receiving votes' section of the NAIA Division II Top 25 Poll the last seven weeks, including in a tie for No. 29 overall entering the conference tournament. That put the Pioneers within striking distance of a potential at-large selection.
The final Top 25 poll determines the at-large selections with the top nine teams who don't otherwise have an automatic bid getting the invite. For the first time all year, Point Park fell below the 'receiving votes' category. The Pioneers had been at least mentioned in the previous 11 rankings. They spent three polls in the Top 25 from Dec. 2 to Jan. 6 and got as high as No. 22 (Dec. 9). The final at-large selection this year went only as far down as No. 21 Robert Morris (Ill.) (21-6).
Despite missing the national tourney, it was another spectacular season for the Pioneers. It was the second year in a row that they had just five losses on the year with each year having only four losses in the regular season. Point Park has risen to an elite program, a yearly contender in an improving conference.
Point Park has racked up 102 wins the last four years, which has coincided with head coach Tony Grenek's four years at the school. In a particularly strong two-year run that just ended, the Pioneers are 54-10 (.843) since the start of the 2013-14 season.
At 54-10 since last year, the Pioneers are tied for the sixth-most victories in all of NAIA Division II since the start of 2013-14. The only teams with more wins than the Pioneers the last two years are No. 2 Davenport (65-2 since '13-14), No. 1 Morningside (61-8), No. 9 St. Francis (Ind.) (61-9), No. 4 St. Xavier (56-9) and No. 3 Concordia (Neb.) (56-10).
The Pioneers once again had a very talented roster this year and will lose only one starter to graduation. Sophomore point guard Kelly Johnson (17.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.4 apg, 3.6 spg) and junior guard/forward Ja'Nia McPhatter (10.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg) earned all-conference honors.
Point Park played the last 25 games without all-conference center Sam Weir (18.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg), who was out injured, and went 21-4 in that span. McPhatter was injured in the regular season finale leaving Point Park with nealry 30 points per game missing for the conference tournament between her and Weir.
Top 10 Most Wins in NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Since 2013-14 (Entering 2014-15 national tournament)
|School (with Top 25 Rank)||W||L|
|No. 2 Davenport (Mich.)||65||2|
|No. 1 Morningside (Iowa)||61||8|
|No. 9 St. Francis (Ind.)||61||9|
|No. 4 St. Xavier (Ill.)||56||9|
|No. 3 Concordia (Neb.)||56||10|
|(NR) Point Park||54||10|
|No. 5 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||54||11|
|No. 6 Indiana Wesleyan||54||13|
|No. 14 College of St. Mary||53||12|
|No. 8 Tennessee Wesleyan||52||8|