Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Women’s basketball falls short against KIAC foe

photo by Josh Croup
Senior guard Alexa Xenakis and sophomore center Baylee Buleca defend the net against IU East during a 67-56 loss at CCAC South on Jan. 23.

With Indiana University East up 56-51 and just a couple minutes remaining, Point Park women’s basketball center Baylee Buleca attempted a jumper from the foul line. The ball fell short of the rim and bounced out of bounds, which gave IU East possession of the ball. 

That play was representative of Point Park’s offense in the fourth quarter versus IU East: The Pioneers shot 2-9 from the field and were outscored 26-11. 

“I thought the offenses we were running were giving us good looks,” said Pioneers head coach Tony Grenek. “We just couldn’t make the shots. We’ve just been going into scoring droughts. It’s been like that all season.”

IU East (11-9) defeated the Pioneers (14-7) 67-56 on Jan. 23, which enabled the Red Wolves to jump ahead of Point Park to second place in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) Colonial Division standings. 

“We had them multiple times right where we wanted them,” said Pioneers guard Kaitlyn Smith, “and we just didn’t execute.”

The Pioneers, who led at halftime and throughout the entire third quarter, lost their advantage midway through the fourth quarter, as the team’s offense generated only four points from the field in the last quarter. 

“We couldn’t make layups,” Grenek said. “We couldn’t make very many foul shots and we must have missed six or seven wide open three-pointers. You’re not going to beat anybody that way.” 

In the fourth quarter, Pioneers forward Leah Hurst missed two three-point shots, and guard Celina DiPietro missed on one three-point attempt. Pioneers forward Carly Forse and guard Shaniya Rivers both missed respective layups. 

With 5:44 left to go, bench IU East player Sarah Cook connected on a jumper to give the Red Wolves the lead 50-49, and the Pioneers never jumped ahead of them on the scoreboard again. 


DiPietro kept offense going:


In the first 22 minutes and 30 seconds of play against IU East, DiPietro made five three-point shots, four of which were uncontested tries. 

“She was definitely hot in the first half,” Grenek said. “And she was the reason we were leading for a while.” 

With 2:47 remaining in the second quarter, DiPietro’s fourth trey of the game cut Point Park’s deficit to 23-22. And her final three-pointer of the night helped the Pioneers mount their biggest lead of the game, which came a couple minutes into the third quarter. 

DiPietro stated one of the team’s priorities in the game was to ensure that she got good looks from beyond the arc.

“They [the Red Wolves] left me open a lot,” DiPietro said. “And they [the coaching staff] set a lot of plays with screens for me so I could get open.”

DiPietro finished as Point Park’s leading scorer against IU East with 19 points; 15 of which were from three-point shots. 


Freshman guard showcases her potential:


Smith went 10-12 from the foul line and scored 12 points against IU East. The freshman made all six of her free shots in the fourth quarter, and she scored on a layup — which equates to eight of the 11 points the Pioneers scored in the final quarter. Moreover, she blocked two shots and produced two steals on defense.

“I thought she did a fantastic job for being a freshman and playing in a game of this magnitude,” Grenek said. “And she showed that she’s really going to have a great career here. I was really impressed with her.” 

Smith admitted after the game that this was one of her best performances as a Pioneer, but she still wants to improve.

“Defensively, I could have helped my team a little bit more,” Smith said. “I’m trying to up my rebounds, and I’m trying to be a leader out there since I’m a point guard, and that’s my job.”


Up Next:


The Pioneers travel to Ohio Christian University for a rematch between two of the best defenses in the KIAC on Jan. 26. Then they play Slippery Rock University on Jan. 30. 

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