Point Park wins on Nancy Gallagher #SavingAiden night, Grenek wins 100th
Feb. 18, 2015
Pioneers coach Tony Grenek is surrounded by his team on the night of his 100th career win. Photo by Sam Robinson
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Post-Gazette game story (Feb. 18) / Game Stats (Feb. 18)
By Zachary Weiss
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. – Head coach Tony Grenek won his 100th career game, and the Point Park University women’s basketball team ended a two-game, home losing streak with a 69-64 victory against KIAC opponent Carlow Wednesday as part of the Nancy Gallagher Cancer Awareness Game and #SavingAiden event.
The victory places the Pioneers at 23-4 and 10-3 KIAC while Carlow falls to 11-12, 2-10 KIAC.
For Grenek, win No. 100 came in just his 123rd game as a women’s head coach. He is 100-23 (.813) in his four-year career, all of which has come at Point Park. The Pioneers have won 23, 25, 29 and now 23 games under his watch.
For the #SavingAiden cause, a total of $1,500 was collected for the gameday proceeds related to game admission and other fundraisers at the game such as merchandise and bake goods. There was also an estimated $500 for other donations not related to gameday proceeds to bring the total #SavingAiden fundraising to approximately $2,000.
Ja’Nia McPhatter’s 13 points led Point Park while senior forward Natasha Moss scored 12 points off the bench.
Junior guard Alexa Xenakis also had 12 points, and sophomore guard Celina DiPietro added an additional 10 points as a reserve. Sophomore forward Carly Forse had seven points and a game-high 14 rebounds in the victory.
The Pioneers out-rebounded the Celtics 41-34, had a 25-9 advantage in bench points and won the second-chance points battle, 17-8.
Carlow guard Erin DiSanti led all scorers with 26 points, and guard Liz Catoe added an additional nine points off the bench. DiSanti led a big Carlow charge that nearly resulted in a upset by the Celtics.
Point Park started the game up, 6-0, however Carlow quickly countered to tie the game. It was then that the Pioneers went on another run, this time scoring the next seven points to extend the lead to 13-6.
The Celtics took their first lead 20-18 with 7:40 to play in the first half when Catoe converted a 3-point basket. The advantage lasted 22 seconds.
Point Park then went on a 19-9 run to end the first half, which resulted in a 37-29 lead at the break. The Pioneers shot 43.3 percent from the field the first 20 minutes.
But Carlow battled back in the second half and tied the score at 39-39 with 14:54 to play.
The Celtics took their biggest lead, 53-45, with 10:35 left in regulation, which also occurred on a Catoe 3-pointer. By that point, Carlow had outscored Point Park, 24-8, in the second half. But that was Carlow’s last basket for approximately four minutes.
The Pioneers chopped away at the lead and eventually a jumper and a pair of free throws by Forse gave Point Park the lead, 62-61, with 2:03 left.
Then, two important plays down the stretch involved intentional fouls by DiSanti on center Baylee Buleca and Ja’Nia McPhatter, respectively. That allowed Point Park to regain control of the game.
Point Park did not make a field goal the last 3:16 but instead scored its final nine points from the free-throw line to win. The Pioneers were 9 of 14 from the foul line the last two minutes.
The win was the 100th for coach Tony Grenek with the Pioneers. Grenek is in his fourth overall season with the team.
“Someday I’m going to look back on it and reflect and be proud of the accomplishments,” Grenek said. “I’ve been fortunate to coach such great kids and to be a part of this program. If you looked at our bench tonight we had Maeve Gallagher guest coaching and both April Austin and Brittany Dunmire as assistant coaches and they were on teams from my first two years. For them to want to come back and be a part of my staff, that shows great gratitude on my part that they keep wanting to give back.”
Point Park also celebrated its Nancy Gallagher Cancer Awareness Game. Gallagher’s daughter Maeve was a three-sport athlete in her time at Point Park (women’s soccer, women’s basketball, softball). Nancy Gallagher was a guest coach during the Feb. 2013 game in which over $3,000 was raised for cancer awareness, and Grenek shaved his head following the contest to support women’s cancers. She passed away Nov. 25, 2013 and was 2-0 as the team’s guest coach.
The evening also had a special cause, which was “Saving Aiden”. Aiden Zangrilli is a two year old that is battling Leukemia and is looking to find a stem cell donor match. Representatives from Central Blood Bank were in the lobby of the CCAC South gymnasium to try and get attending fans to join the national donor database for “Be The Match”. According to Central Blood Bank, the game drew 45 donors which is the most of any drive of its kind. Zangrilli himself could not attend the contest as he was receiving a third round of treatment for leukemia.
Point Park will celebrate its Senior Day Saturday at 2 p.m. against IU East with Vianka Cotton, Kayla Kiriau, Natasha Moss, Danica Adams and Maria Romano all being recognized for their respective contributions to the Pioneers.
Follow the Pioneers on Twitter @PointParkSports