Lady Pioneers dominate Penn State branch campuses:

Written By Michael Richter

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photos by Madison Turiczek
Freshman center, Baylee Buleca, finishes a lay up in the
second half against Penn State Fayette.

Last week, the Point Park women’s basketball team churned out two victories over Penn State Fayette and Penn State Beaver, which improved the Pioneers overall record to 16-2 and increased the team’s winning streak to five games.  

On Jan. 12, the Pioneers steamrolled Penn State Fayette on the road 75-50 – marking Point Park’s second victory over Penn State Fayette in the 2014-15 season – they also beat the Roaring Lions 71-38 at home on Dec. 9. 

Point Park maintained a significantly large lead throughout most of the game. The Pioneers led 41-20 after the first half, which led to the team’s bench receiving significant playing time. The bench finished the game with 38 points – just edging out the starters, who totaled 37 points. 

Moreover, a backup player led Point Park in scoring versus Penn State Fayette: freshman center Baylee Buleca’s scored 12 points, which is the most points she has ever recorded in a game at the collegiate level. 

Point Park generated another dominant performance on Jan. 14, as they beat Penn State Beaver at home 105-59. That victory marked the third game in which the Pioneers amassed 100-plus points this season – and it was the second game during which the Pioneers produced over 100 points in regulation time. 

Point Park’s defense played phenomenally. Astonishingly, Penn State Beaver turned the ball over 29 times against Point Park – 16 of those 29 turnovers were steals made by Pioneers defenders. Furthermore, the Point Park defense limited the Lady Lions offense to a lowly 34.2 field goal percentage. 
“Mainly, we dominated because of our defense, and because we got so many turnovers,” said starting guard Alexa Xenakis. 

Starting point guard Kelly Johnson currently ranks sixth in steals per game with 3.69 in National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II. Against Penn State Beaver, Johnson recorded two  steals, just under her season average. 

“The overall team effort to pressure the ball has made it easy for me to get steals,” said Johnson.  

On the Lady Lions’ first offensive possession of the game, one of the team’s starting guards Brittany Mineard attempted to the pass the ball but was picked off by Point Park starting forward/guard Ja’Nia McPhatter, which kicked off a myriad of mistakes that were made by the Lady Lions. 

“We run a basic trapping defense, and we are able to use a lot of bodies, which wore them down,” said head coach Tony Grenek. 

He went onto add that the team’s great defense can be attributed to its depth.

The Lady Lions’ plethora of mishaps infuriated the team’s head coach Tim Moore. 

With under 8:56 left in the first half of the game and Point Park up 34-17, Moore called a timeout from the Penn State Beaver bench immediately after the coach shouted, “We are shooting ourselves in the foot!” 

The first half ended with the Pioneers on top 50-31. 

In the second half of the game, Point Park effortlessly transported the ball throughout the court. In two separate instances, senior forward Natasha Moss grabbed a defensive rebound and dribbled the ball to the Lady Lions’ side of the court with no pressure and made a layup. 

“They started breaking down from us pressuring them so much, and it’s hard to play defense when you’re tired,” Grenek said. 

Penn State Beaver’s exhausted defense allowed Point Park to record a 51.9 field goal percentage, which is the team’s single-game best of this season, and they made 65.6 percent of their shots from the field in the second half – marking their highest percentage of any half this year. 

“We weren’t selfish, we passed the ball and took good open-look shots,” Xenakis said. 

Johnson accounted for 19 of Point Park’s points – nine of which game from three-pointers, and she recorded three assists. 

“I play with a high level of intensity,” said Johnson. 

McPhatter led the team in points with 23, and she led the team in rebounds with nine. 

Point Park proved it is a much more sustainable than Penn State Beaver. 

“Everybody on the team had a lot of energy tonight,” said McPhatter.

Presently, the Pioneers are ranked No.28 in the nation, and they currently reign as the top place-holder in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) North Division. Their next game will be on Jan. 20 against Cincinnati-Christian at 5:30 p.m. 

Sophomore forward, Carly Forse, makes a post move and
shoots over a Penn State Fayette defender in the first half.

Senior captain, guard and forward, Natasha Moss, releases a shot after fighting through the paint.

 

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