Women’s basketball wins first playoff game since 2015

Written By Kayla Sterner, Co-Sports Editor

The Pioneers (11-15, 7-10 RSC) won their first home playoff game in eight years after an 84-61 win over the St. Mary’s of the Woods College (16-11, 8-10 RSC) to advance to the second round of the River States Conference Championships. 

Four of the five starters for PPU scored in double-figures. Junior guard Ari Bleda dominated both sides of the ball and led all scorers with 27 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Senior forward Taylor Rinn notched another double-double as she dropped 22 points, 20 rebounds and five steals. Sophomore guard Emma Pavalek netted 15 points along with eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Freshman guard Alexis Giles added 12 points to the board.

SMWC scored first to take a 2-0 advantage for 15 seconds — their only lead of the night. Point Park went on a 15-6 run capped by a free throw from Bleda to snag a 17-8 lead with 3:17 to play. The Pomeroys were held to a jumper and the Pioneers led 21-10 at the end of the quarter.

Point Park opened up the second period with a 13-5 run to take a 19 point advantage — their largest of the first half — with 6:25 left before the break. Giles netted a triple followed by a pair of free throws from junior guard Coral Homs to lead 40-25 with 2:29 before halftime. PPU went on to lead 46-34 at the break. 

Pavalek opened up the third with a jumper followed by a bucket from the charity stripe from Rinn for a 49-36 lead. Giles mustered an and one followed by a pair of free throws and a jumper from Pavalek to clutch a 60-42 advantage with 3:47 left in the third. Bleda capped the quarter with a bucket from behind the arc to grab a commanding 66-50 lead heading into the last quarter.

Point Park held the Tomeroys to a mere 11 points in the final quarter to send them home. Bleda netted four points to start the quarter and  take a 70-52 lead. After a scoreless two and a half minutes Rinn notched a layup to clutch a 74-58 advantage. 

Rinn clutched back-to-back layups with 1:54 left to play to further the deficit to 19. The all-time rebound leader drained a triple as time expired to win her first ever playoff game, 84-61.

The Pioneers were 32-of-83 (38.6%) from the field and a very low 7-of-33 (21.2%) from behind the arc. PPU was 13-of-20 from the charity stripe. The Tomeroys were 2-of-8 from downtown and held to 24-of-68 (35.3%) from the field. 

Point Park manifested 11 points from 16 of SMWC’s miscues. PPU had 21 second chance points from 24 offensive rebounds. The home team outrebounded the visitors 60 to 45 and turned the ball over 11 times. 

The Pioneers will travel to Midway, KY to face the Eagles Feb. 22. Tip off is set for 6:00p.m. Links for available live coverage can be found at PointParkSports.com/Live