Point Park Home Court Streak Ends


The 23rd ranked Point Park women’s basketball team lost 65-63 to IU Southeast Friday ending its home court winning streak at 10 games. Photo courtesy Stephen Pope.

The No. 23 Point Park University women’s basketball team lost its first home game of the season to KIAC opponent IU Southeast 65-63 Friday night.

The last time the Pioneers lost at home was Feb. 8, 2014 a 70-66 defeat to the same IU Southeast team, a streak of 10 contests.

Point Park (19-3, 6-2 KIAC) was led by junior forward Ja’Nia McPhatter who scored 12 points and had five rebounds. Sophomore guard Kelly Johnson added 10 points while senior guard Kayla Kiriau, junior guard Alexa Xenakis and sophomore forward Carly Forse each contributed nine points.

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“This one hurts,” coach Tony Grenek said. “It wasn’t our night, we did not play well and we did not deserve to win. I give IU Southeast a lot of credit, they played harder than us and they deserved to win.”

IU Southeast (15-7, 6-2 KIAC) was led in scoring by senior guard Heather Wheat who scored a game high 19 points and recorded five assists. Senior guard Megan Cureton added 18 points.

The Grenadiers opened the contest on a 12-3 run in the first 5:37 of the game. Their lead would grow to as much as 10 points while tried making adjustments to get his team going. Point Park was able to cut the deficit to three points in the first half with Moss making a jumper, however it would trail 34-27 at halftime. In the first half, the Pioneers shot a season low 25 percent from the field.

IU Southeast opened the second half on a 7-2 run to extend its lead to 41-29 with 17:48 to play. Point Park was unwilling to give in however and in the next 4:01, went on an 11-4 run to cut its deficit to five points. Though the Grenadiers were able to respond, the Pioneers reluctance to go away persisted and a Forse lay-up cut their deficit to one point.

Again IU Southeast would open up a seven point lead, however a lay-up by Xenakis and a lay-up by Johnson combined to give Point Park a 59-58 lead with 5:11 to play, its first advantage in the game.

“Today we were blocking out in the first half,” IU Southeast guard Heather Wheat said. “We were getting out in the fast break a lot which allowed us to get some easy baskets that way. The second half was a little bit slower and they went into a zone, so we found ways to score around it.”

After Grenek called a full timeout, the Grenadiers ended up reclaiming the lead when Cureton drained a three point basket. After the Pioneers tied the contest at 61, forward Kaylee Bennett threw up a three point shot that beat the shot clock and hit off the glass before falling in.

“That (Cureton’s three) was an awesome three point shot and also Kaylee Bennett hit a big one,” said Wheat. “Late in the game, that’s what we needed.”

Forse would convert a lay-up to cut the score to 64-63 with 1:09 to play. Neither team was able to cash in until Cureton split free throws. With five seconds to play Xenakis attempted a three point shot, after missing and grabbing the offensive rebound she fired off a desperation three with a second to play and it caught back iron but did not fall.

Point Park now falls to 43-6 at CCAC South during Grenek’s four seasons with the team and IU Southeast is the only active KIAC opponent that has won multiple times at CCAC South.

This is Point Park’s second time it trailed by double digits in the first half and Grenek acknowledged that perhaps it is going through some slow starts and tough stretches.

“Every team gets a bad stretch during the year when they don’t play very well and maybe this is ours,” Grenek said. “We left a lot of points out there and we let Heather Wheat dominate the game and got to the hoop anytime that she wanted. As usual the Point Park killer Cureton hit some big shots and it wasn’t our night.”

This is IU Southeast’s second victory over a ranked opponent this season. It previously defeated then fifth ranked Indiana Wesleyan, a team that is now ranked sixth. The Grenadiers are tied with Midway for first place in the KIAC South Division with a 6-2 conference record.

“It’s a great feeling, I kind of like being the underdog because people don’t expect it from you, but when you beat them we kind of prove ourselves,” said Wheat.


The Pioneers will next play at Carlow Tuesday at 8 pm. The contest will be part of a double header on Carlow’s Pink Zone Night.

“That’s going to be a tough game too, going to Carlow, but hopefully the girls can rebound from this, come back and get back on the right track,” Grenek said.

He said it: “No not really.” – Grenek on if he took any positives out of this game.

My take: IU Southeast wanted to redeem itself and bounce back from a 19 point loss to IU East and did just that. Point Park cannot afford to keep getting off to slow starts especially when the KIAC from top to bottom is the most talented it ever has been. Its top 25 ranking is very much in jeopardy. It is understandable why Grenek did not take this loss well. Winning this game would have been a steal for the Pioneers and ultimately in the end, the team that played the better game won this contest.

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