Women’s basketball returns to CCAC, fall to Ohio Christian 67-52 in River State Conference match

Written By Antonio Rossetti, Co-Sports Editor

The Point Park Pioneers Women’s Basketball team returned home after a three game road trip, winning two of three games. The team’s last game was against the Midway University Eagles on the road where they lost 91-76. On February 5, Point Park competed against River States Conference rival (RSC) who were the Ohio Christian University Trailblazers (OCU) at CCAC-Allegheny.

This was the team’s second matchup against the Trailblazers. The Pioneers defeated OCU in their first matchup, 63-49. This was one of the Pioneers best defensive performances, holding them to under 50 points, while also forcing 16 turnovers. Point Park entered the game with a 13-7 record, along with a 6-5 conference record.

Despite playing against Midway in their last game, the Pioneers technically won their last game where they were scheduled to face Ohio Valley University (OVU) on February 3. However, OVU’s school disbanded, thus the Pioneers improved to 13-7 via forfeit. With the forfeit win, the Pioneers have won their last four out of five games they’ve played. Nevertheless, the forfeit win doesn’t count toward their conference wins.

The Trailblazers came into the game winning their last three out of four games. Their last win at home against the Carlow University Celtics improved their record to 9-8, along with a 3-7 conference record. Nonetheless, the Trailblazers were still on the outside looking in for playoff contention.

The game for both teams started off slow. The Trailblazers took the lead 7-2 in the early stages. Senior Michelle Burns drove the lane for a layup, making it 7-4.

After the bucket from Burns, OCU mauled Point Park in the first quarter. The Pioneers went cold on offense, leading to an 11-0 run for the Trailblazers. OCU kept Point Park scoreless for the last five minutes of the first. At the end of one, the Trailblazers led by a score of 18-4.

Despite a tough start for Point Park, the Pioneers bounced back in the second. The Pioneers pummeled the Trailblazers with a barrage of threes, hitting five out of nine attempts from beyond the arc.

Point Park’s intensity on defense led to OCU only shooting 25% from the field in the second. The Pioneers outscored the Trailblazers 21-15 in the second. However, Point Park trailed 33-25 at the end of the first half.

The Pioneers defense persisted in the third quarter. Their defense swarmed over the Trailblazers as they held them to only eight points throughout the third.

The Pioneers went on a 12-3 run to start the third quarter, and the Pioneers led for the first time in the game, 37-36. The Trailblazers responded with five unanswered points, retaking the lead at the end of three, 41-37.

In the fourth quarter, the Pioneers continued to battle, keeping the game within 10 points. Nevertheless, the Trailblazers pulled away due to many trips to the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.

In the fourth, the Pioneers committed 10 fouls, leading to 17 free throw attempts for the Trailblazers. OCU knocked down 15 of their 17 free throws and scored 26 points in the fourth quarter.

Point Park attained 15 points in the fourth, but fell short. The Trailblazers hung on, winning by a score of 67-52.

The Pioneers were led by junior Taylor Rinn, who tallied 19 points, while also grabbing 16 rebounds. Eight of her boards were offensive rebounds.

Their second leading scorer was Burns, who scored 13 points. Burns leads the team in scoring this year with over 18 points per game and averaging over 21 points per game on their most recent three-game road trip. Burns said she believes that the slow start hurt the team’s chances of winning but loved her team’s effort.

“We dug ourselves a hole, but we almost always made it back, which I’m very proud of because it shows that we have some grit,” Burns said. “I was very proud of that. That performance we had really decreased that deficit, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.”
Burns said she looks to improve her and the team’s mental state to be mentally and physically prepared for their next game on the road against the West Virginia Tech Golden Bears (WVU Tech).

“Playing there is fairly difficult. It’s a long trip and they’re always raring to go,” Burns said. “We’re just gonna have to be mentally and physically ready, but I think we’re really good at playing on the road. We’ve been doing pretty well and we’ve been on a good road streak so far, so I think we need to kind of snap back into that routine.”

The Pioneers’ next game is on the road on February 8 against the Golden Bears, who is an RSC conference rival. This will be the team’s 13th conference matchup of the year.