Point Park falls to Rio Grande, 90-68, drops to 0-3 in the RSC

Written By Kayla Sterner, Staff Writer

The Pioneers women’s basketball team (3-5) was cursed by turnovers and missed opportunities in their home opener, which led to a 90-68 loss to the University of Rio Grande (8-1, 2-0 RSC). Point Park is winless in the River States Conference and are on a three-game skid.

Senior forward Taylor Rinn continued to be a standout player for the Pioneers, snagging another double-double, her fifth of the season. The Akron, OH native dropped 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and one steal. 

“I put in a lot of work over the summer and in pre-season working on things so it’s nice to see it pay off in the games,” said Rinn when asked how she feels about her double-doubles.

Freshman guard Alexis Giles led the team with 16 points, three boards and went 4-of-5 shooting triples. The Youngstown, OH native was 3-for-3 behind the arc at the half. Sophomore guard Emma Pavalek put up 11 points but also tacked on eight turnovers before being fouled out. 

Point Park found the net first, going on a 13-11 run until Rio Grande tied it up with 5:06 left to play in the first quarter. A three-pointer from Giles gave PPU a brief two point advantage before the Redstorm tied it up and took a one-point lead because of a free throw. The Pioneers were able to bounce back to clutch a 23-19 advantage heading into the second period.

An assist from Pavalek led to another triple from Giles and gave PPU a seven-point lead, their largest of the night, with 7:04 left in the first half. Rio Grande responded with pure intensity, going on a 20-0 run to close out the half and lead 48-35.

After the break, a 15-6 run by the Pioneers capped off with a three-pointer from junior guard Natalia Fontanez-Ward cut the deficit to two (54-52) with 6:01 left in the third quarter, but they still could not find the confidence or potency to make a comeback.

The Redstorm closed out the quarter with an 8-1 run to hold an eight-point lead (64-56) when the third period finished. But the Pioneers’ defense didn’t seem to show up in the fourth quarter. Rio Grande had 24 fourth quarter points — 12 of which were free throws. 

Out of 71 field goal attempts, the Pioneers only sank 27 shots and gave up 22 turnovers — 16 of which were in the first half — that cost them 23 points. Rio Grande outrebounded PPU 58 to 37 and turned their 20 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points.

Point Park took advantage of the Redstorm’s 17 turnovers and scored 15 points, but only had five steals compared to Rio Grande’s 15. The Pioneers missed eight free throws but the bench generated 14 points.

“Playing a ranked team like them gets us better every possession,” Rinn said. “They force us to really push ourselves and focus on the little details on the offensive and defensive end that will make us a very good team and prepare us for the level of competition that is in the playoffs.”

Ultimately, missed shots, hesitancy, and a lack of ball control led to the loss against the 14th-ranked NAIA team in the country. 

The Pioneers will travel to Akron, OH to face the University of Akron on Friday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.