The Pioneers played their final two games of the season against River States Conference rivals. The team’s last game was at home at CCAC-Allegheny against the University of Rio Grande Red Storm, where they lost in a shootout 99-91.
On February 17 and February 19, Point Park took on the Carlow University Celtics and the Indiana University East Red Wolves (IU Wolves).
The Pioneers lost their last three games heading into their matchup with the Celtics. Point Park held a 13-10 record, along with a 6-8 conference record. The Pioneers’ hopes of making the RSC playoff tournament were on the line heading into the last two games.
The Pioneers played against Carlow in their first game of the week. The Celtics came into the game with an 8-21 record, along with an 0-16 conference record. They played their inner city rival on the road at the Donahue Pavilion in Pittsburgh.
The Pioneers trampled on the Celtics to begin the game. Point Park scored the first five points of the game and continued their attack, having one of their better quarters of the year.
The Pioneers drilled five threes on only seven attempts, while also making 10 out of 14 shots in the first quarter. Senior Michelle Burns and junior Taylor Rinn combined for 22 points in the first quarter. Point Park led at the end of one quarter, 28-9.
The Pioneers success continued in the second quarter. Burns scored 10 points in the second, and the team outscored the Celtics, 15-11 in the second. Although they weren’t able to achieve another incredibly high scoring quarter, they maintained their lead and led at halftime 43-20.
In the third quarter, the Pioneers shot efficiently from the field. Point Park scored 24 points, hitting 57% of their shots in the quarter.
In the late stages of the third and the early portion of the fourth, the Pioneers mauled the Celtics, going on an 11-0 run. This extended their lead by 30 points.
In the fourth quarter, Point Park cleared the bench due to their comfortable lead. The Pioneers won by a score of 81-58.
Point Park was led by Burns and Rinn. Burns scored 28 points on just 14 attempts. She also tallied four assists and four steals.
Rinn had a double-double for the Pioneers. The junior from Akron, Ohio scored 27 points and collected 12 rebounds. Rinn said she believes that getting off to a hot start really helped the team win the game, and their ability to force turnovers led to many points offensively.
“Being able to get stops on the defensive end and transition those into points on the offensive end really gives us momentum,” said Rinn. “Coming into the second half to be able to come out and knock down shots and get some stops really helped.”
Rinn also added that senior Carly Lutz and Burns were factors in their victory.
“She’s [Lutz] pretty much unstoppable being 6-3. I know we could put her in the middle of a zone or on their post player, and she will keep them from scoring that game,” said Rinn. “And with Mich being able to knock down threes, it’s all about momentum. Once she starts knocking down shots, it’ll open things up for other players on the court.”
The Pioneers took on the IU East Red Wolves in the last game of the season. This was the team’s Senior Night and Burns, Lutz and Sierra Dawson, were set to play their last regular season game of their careers.
The Red Wolves came into the game with a 23-6 record, along with a 13-3 conference record. IU East won their last five games prior to their matchup against Point Park.
The Pioneers struck first with two consecutive three pointers from junior Lexi Petit and Burns. Despite the quick start on senior night, IU East’s offense came to life. The Red Wolves mauled the Pioneers, going on a 15-4 run, taking the lead by four. By the end of one quarter, the Pioneers trailed the Red Wolves, 22-16.
Both teams started the second quarter off slow, but the Pioneers found their rhythm. IU East held a 29-22 lead, but the Pioneers fought back and mauled the Red Wolves defense. The Pioneers scored eight points in under two minutes, tying the game 37-37 at halftime.
The third quarter was a high scoring quarter that saw numerous lead changes. Both teams battled back and forth. After a Sierra Seneta three, the Pioneers took their first lead since the first quarter, 44-42. In the third, they had a solid outing on the glass, pulling down 16 rebounds, along with six offensive rebounds. The Pioneers hit three out of eight three-pointers and went into the fourth, leading 60-58.
Point Park had important stops to begin the fourth. After a three-pointer from Burns, the Pioneers extended their lead to 67-63. The Red
Wolves cut the lead to one, making it 67-66. Point Park junior Taylor Kirschner made one of two free throws from the line, making it 68-66 with 4:42 left on the clock. The Pioneers then went cold for the remainder of the game.
The Red Wolves tied the game at the charity stripe after two free throws from Kennedy Griffin. After a layup from Addie Brown for IU East, this would be the last lead change. The Red Wolves held the Pioneers scoreless for nearly four minutes. Burns cut the lead to three late in the game, but the Pioneers fell short. IU East hung on, winning by the score of 75-70.
The Pioneers finished the year with a 14-11 record, along with a 7-9 conference record. Point Park’s loss results in them missing the playoffs due to the new playoff format. Although they missed the playoffs, this basketball season was a memorable one. All three seniors said they enjoyed their tenure at Point Park, and the team put together a winning season.