Women’s Basketball wins first two games of the new year

Written By Antonio Rossetti, Co-Sports Editor

The Point Park Pioneers Women’s Basketball team continued their season after a three-week hiatus. The team had its first two games in January canceled but resumed their season in non-conference play.

On Thursday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 15, the Pioneers continued their season, facing the Bryant & Stratton College Bobcats and the Alice Lloyd College Eagles.

Point Park played Bryant & Stratton at home at the Point Park Student Center. The Pioneers entered the game with a 7-5 record, along with a 2-3 conference record. Their matchup against the Bobcats was a non-conference game. In their non-conference games, the Pioneers held a 5-2 record.

The Bobcats came in with a four-game win streak. Bryant & Stratton’s overall record heading into the game was 8-5. Just like point Park, this was Bryant & Stratton’s first game of 2022.

The Pioneers would come out of the gates slow and were scoreless on their first seven possessions. The Bobcats outscored the Pioneers 9-2 in the first three minutes and controlled the pace of play for the rest of the first quarter. At the end of one, Bryant & Stratton led 27-19.

In the second quarter, the Pioneers would chip away at their lead, scoring 7 unanswered points. Nevertheless, the Bobcats would go on an 8-1 run after this, extending their lead to eight points. Despite playing better in the second, the Pioneers would trail at halftime, 47-39.

In the third quarter, the Pioneers turned the tide and had a strong performance from the field. Point Park would score 15 points in just three minutes, having a 15-4 scoring run. The Pioneers took the lead for the first time in the game, 54-51 at this point.

Their effort would remain persistent, as they would eventually go up by the score of 65-55. The team went 3-7 from beyond the arc and 10-21 from the field. They ended the third quarter up by five points, 66-61.

Point Park’s relentless defense continued into the fourth. In the last quarter of play, the Pioneers would make 3 out of 5 threes and held the Bobcats to only 11 points in the fourth. Bryant & Stratton only made three field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter. After a dominant ending to the game, the Pioneers would win, 87-72.

The Pioneers’ 87 points would be their most points scored so far this year. The team would make 13 threes, shooting 41% from beyond the arc. Their three-point performance was their most efficient performance of the year.

The team was led by senior Michelle Burns, who scored 26 points and dished out 6 assists. Burns would also knock down 6 out of 12 three-pointers.

Junior Taylor Rinn would also have an efficient outing, going 7-9 from the field, scoring 16 points, and pulling down 8 rebounds.
Rinn said she was satisfied with how the team battled back after a slow start.

“It feels great, especially when we were struggling and trying to get back into the flow of the game. I believe when we came out in the second quarter, we’re down nine or 10,” Rinn said. “We were down quite a bit, so being able to help produce and knock down some shots really helped give us the momentum to get back into the game and get the win.”

Despite being a key component to the team’s success, Rinn said she was impressed with Burns’ 26 points on just 17 shot attempts.

“It was crazy. She helped out so much. Being able to knock down those threes, it opened up the floor for everyone, including me and our other shooters like Sierra Seneta had a really good game too,” Rinn said. “So her being able to knock down those shots draws out the defenders, and it opens up everyone else on the court and gets some momentum flowing so you can get back into the game and pull it out that win.”

Point Park had an all-around effort, forcing 20 turnovers and limiting the Bobcats to only 25 points in the second half. The Pioneers were also dominant on the glass, grabbing 48 rebounds, compared to the Bobcats’ 39. Out of the 48 rebounds, 16 of them were offensive rebounds.

Junior Jordan Yaniga would lead the team in rebounds, tallying 10 rebounds and 4 offensive rebounds, while also scoring 4 points.

Yaniga said she believes that the team’s all-around production and team effort was the difference-maker. Yaniga was vocal about the bench’s production. Junior Sierra Seneta scored 17 points, and junior Izzy Strickland scored 7 points.

“It helps so much by having Seneta come off and hit those threes at the right time to get the rest of not just people on the court, but the people on the bench,” Yaniga said. “It kind of hyped up the team, and we still had our minds in the game and to not get ourselves down. That was that was huge.”

Two days later, Point Park had their first River States Conference (RSC) game against Alice Lloyd College at the Community College of Beaver County.

The Eagles entered the game, winning five games in a row, while also carrying a 4-2 conference record on the year. Alice Lloyd held a 10-4 record heading into their road matchup with the Pioneers.

Point Park’s strong ending would carry over into the next game. The Pioneers started the game outscoring the Eagles 12-2 in the first three and a half minutes, forcing Alice Lloyd to call an early 30-second timeout.

The Eagles began to hit some of their shots. However, their effort would not be enough to keep up with the Pioneers offense in the first. The Pioneers made 6-10 threes as a team, leading at the end of the first, 28-19.

The Pioneers’ offense would go cold in the second quarter. Point Park only scored 12 points in the second quarter, shooting 5 of 23 from the field and 2 of 12 from three.

Alice Lloyd managed to tie the game, but the Pioneers lead would prevail at the end of the quarter. Despite the struggles, their defense held the Eagles to 16 points. The Pioneers led at the half, 40-35.

In the third quarter, the Pioneers strengthened their offense and would go on a scoring run that would put them up by 11 points.

Point Park was dominant on the boards, grabbing 13 rebounds, and 5 offensive rebounds throughout the field. The Pioneers shot just 2 of 10 from three. Nonetheless, they would go 8 of 20 from the field, which was good enough to hold their lead going into the fourth up 60-51.
The Pioneers started the fourth quarter strong, eventually taking the lead by 14 points. However, the Eagles’ offense began to battle back. After a few key baskets, Alice Lloyd cut the lead to four points. Nevertheless, there was limited time left, and the Eagles were forced to foul. After a made free throw by Rinn, and two free throws made by Burns, the Pioneers would win by the score of 79-72.

The Pioneers would shoot 36% from the field and 83% from the free-throw line. Point Park walloped Alice Lloyd in rebounding, tallying 55 boards compared to the Eagles’ 33. The Pioneers had an astounding 22 offensive rebounds throughout the game. This led to 16 second chance points.

The team’s scoring leaders were Burns with 28 points and junior Lexi Petit, who scored 22. Rinn led the team in rebounds with 16. Rinn also collected a staggering 8 offensive rebounds and scored 17 points.

The team’s defense’s ability to get late stops was a huge factor in the team’s first victories of the new year. In the last two games combined, the team forced 32 turnovers.

Point Park continues their season at home against the Indiana University Kokomo Cougars at home on January 20 at 5:30 p.m. This will be the team’s seventh conference game.