Women’s basketball picks up first win in home opener


Photo by Robert Berger

Sophomore guard Michelle Burns dribbles the ball into the offensive zone Thursday night against Ave Maria. The team picked up their first win of the season and Burns had a career high 28 points along with eight rebounds.

Written By Allison Schubert, Co-Sports Editor

The women’s basketball team picked up its first win of the season at home against Ave Maria (Fla.) University on Thursday.

The Gyrenes were in Pittsburgh on a four-game road trip and were previously undefeated before facing off in the CCAC-Allegheny gym.

Point Park was on the opposite end, having been defeated in all four games they had played up until Thursday.

“I don’t think there is any other team who has had a tougher out of conference schedule than us,” head coach Tony Grenek said after the game. “We are just trying to get prepared for Carlow and the conference season, but you also have to be careful of the team’s mental psyche… We try to preach the positive and assure them that they are doing tremendous against really tough teams.”

The first quarter fell in favor of Ave Maria 20-13, but the Pioneers edged out the Gyrenes by one point in the second 10 minutes 17-16. Point Park went into the locker room down 36-30.

The Pioneers were out-rebounding Ave Maria in the first half, but the difference came in shooting. Through the first 20 minutes of play, Point Park was shooting just 32 percent overall and went three for 13 from beyond the arc.

The second half turned things around for the Pioneers, who shot 56 percent in the final 20 minutes of the game.

“Our team chemistry is really building, and I think that showed in this game,” sophomore guard Michelle Burns said. “We are still learning and figuring things out, but I think as the season goes on, we’re going to be good.”

Point Park tallied 22 points in the third quarter led by a 13-0 run to put them up 50-44 late in the quarter, but the Gyrenes’ Taylor Allen hit two big treys in an eight-and-two run to close out the quarter and tie the game up at 52.

The Pioneers rallied in the fourth quarter and hit two huge treys of their own — by junior guards Baylie Mook and Tyra James — that set the tone for the remaining minutes.

After a strong defensive output in the final two minutes and some free throws, Point Park took the win 72-65.

Three Pioneers ended the night in double digits. Burns tallied a career-high 28 points, 17 of which came in the second half rally and nine of which came from beyond the arc. She also collected eight rebounds on the night.

“In the off-season, I was just taking shots and was on the [shooting] gun all the time, trying to get there every other day,” Burns said. “I didn’t want to just be a shooter, I want to be a driver as well. Once I get in there and drive a few times, my shot turns on, and that is what I was practicing the most.”

Sophomore forward Carly Lutz put up 11 points and nine rebounds, one away from another double-double. Rounding out the three was senior captain Kaitlyn Smith, who had 14 points on the night, five-for-11 from the field and shot 100 percent from the charity stripe.

“I think our schedule so far has been a huge help to us,” Smith said. “I don’t think we are going to face a team anywhere near as good, especially in the conference. We were right there with every single one of them and I think that shows how far we can go.”

The Pioneers had a brief break, but are back in action this weekend at the Marian (Ind.) Classic. Both opponents are ranked nationally. First comes No. 14 St. Francis (Ind.) on Friday and then No. 4 Marian (Ind.) on Saturday.