Point Park Globe

Point Park comeback bid falls short against IU Southeast

Written By Michael Richter

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photos by Madison Turiczek
Junior forward Ja’Nia McPhatter makes an inside post move late in the game against IU Southeast last Friday.

 On its home court, the recently No. 23 ranked Point Park women’s basketball team had its eight-game win streak snapped by Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) foe Indiana University (IU) Southeast in a 65-63 loss on Jan. 30.

The defeat dropped the Pioneers to a 6-2 KIAC record and caused them to relinquish their spot atop the KIAC North Division. With a 6-1 KIAC record—a team the Pioneers beat earlier this season—Rio Grande now holds first place in the KIAC North Division. Furthermore, this loss also marks the first time the Pioneers have lost a game at home this season. Their overall record now stands at 19-3.

Point Park’s performance in the first half was conducive to the game’s result.

“We came out flat for the second game in a row,” said Point Park head coach Tony Grenek.

After IU Southeast jumped to an 11-3 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the first half, from the bench, coach Grenek screamed at his players, “attack!” several times in rapid succession. Grenek desperately wanted his players to attack the rim more frequently – he was frustrated that his players settled for jump shots.

The Pioneers missed an overly abundant amount of shots in the first half. They made nine out of 36 field goal attempts, which gave them a 25 field goal percentage in the game’s opening half.

“In the first half, we missed a ton of shots, and we kept overlooking open players,” Grenek said.

Starting point guard Kelly Johnson, who leads the Pioneers in points per game, went 1-7 from the field in the first half. Johnson did not make her first basket until there was less than a minute to play in the first half. She ended the half with three points and two turnovers.

Point Park starting forward Ja’Nia McPhatter was the lone Pioneer to convert more than one field goal attempt; McPhatter went 2-5 from the field and scored a team-best five points in the first half.

IU Southeast led at the half with a score of 34-27. The Pioneers’ lowly 27 points is the second-lowest total of points the team has scored in the first half of any game all season long. The team’s lowest first half scoring total of the season occurred during its last loss, which was at Asbury, and Point Park managed a meager 23 points in that game’s initial half.

In the second half of the game, the Pioneers played considerably better and came close to a comeback.

With 5:10 left in the game, Johnson made a layup, which gave the Pioneers a 59-58 edge – their first and last lead of the night.

With six seconds left in the game and IU Southeast up 65-63, Pioneers starting guard Alexis Xenakis missed from three-point range. Immediately following the shot, the ball trickled out close to midcourt and was recovered by Xenakis, who heaved it from that position but missed as time expired.

“I should have made that first shot at the end of the game,” Xenakis said.

Point Park shot better in the second half – the team made 41.9 percent of its attempted field goals in the final half, which improved its field goal percentage for the entire game to a subpar 32.8.

Johnson had an anomalistic performance: she scored 10 points, committed four fouls and had a 25 field goal percentage.

“I was very sluggish at the start and never turned it around,” Johnson said.

Xenakis’ lackluster performance also hurt the Pioneers; she shot 3-12 from the floor, which equates to a 25 field goal percentage. Moreover, she fouled four times and managed to amass a scantly nine points.

“Honestly, I was just off tonight,” Xenakis said.

McPhatter finished as Point Park’s leading scorer, as she scored 12 points.

The Pioneers have two road games next on their schedule: they play at Carlow on Feb. 3 and at Indiana University East on Feb. 8.

 

 

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