Point Park Reaches 20 Wins For Fourth Consecutive Season


Sophomore forward Carly Forse scored 18 points as part of a 75-64 win over KIAC opponent Carlow. Photo courtesy Stephen Pope

The Point Park University women’s basketball team won a KIAC road contest, 75-64, against Carlow Tuesday.

“Defensively, I thought we did a nice job, especially in the first half,” Point Park coach Tony Grenek said. “We were very fortunate to win the game, and I told the team I need to do a better job. A road, conference win is huge and even though it wasn’t very pretty, we came out with the W tonight.”

Point Park (20-3, 7-2 KIAC) was led by sophomore guard Kelly Johnson’s career-high 33 points on 13 of 21 shooting in 29 minutes. The former all-state player at Mt. Lebanon High School also had six assists and six steals.

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“We needed (Johnson) tonight because offensively we are not putting the ball in the basket,” said Grenek. “I think every team goes through that funk, and Kelly picked it up for us tonight. What I like about our team is when someone is struggling or the team is struggling, we have one or two individuals that can step up and carry us.”

Sophomore forward Carly Forse reached scored 18 points, her highest point total since putting up 19 on Nov. 14 against Pitt-Johnstown. This was her first game in double figures since scoring 17 points at Rio Grande on Jan. 7.

Junior guard/forward Ja’Nia McPhatter also had a standout performance with nine points and nine rebounds. The Pioneers forced 24 Carlow turnovers and also recorded 15 steals.

Carlow (2-7, 9-9 KIAC) was led by senior guard Erin DiSanti, who scored 18 points and added seven assists. Senior forward Megan Kohan added 15 points, and freshman forward Samantha Simpson 12.

Point Park opened the game on a 23-5 run in the first 10:23. Forse scored six of the first 12 Pioneer points before Johnson got the Point Park offense going.

With the Pioneers already leading, 16-3, after nine minutes, Johnson scored Point Park’s next 11 points for a 27-8 lead with 8:52 before the half. Johnson’s spurt included four jumpers and a 3-pointer.

Defensively, Point Park held Carlow in single digits until 5:57 remained in the first half when Jacqueline Tabor’s 3-point basket made it 32-12. At halftime, the Pioneers led the Celtics by a 41-26 score.

Carlow cut its deficit to 54-44 with 11:10 to play as it capitalized on Point Park’s scoring droughts and effectively moved the basketball around. However, the Pioneers were able to overcome Carlow’s run with Johnson despite the fact they shot only 36.1 percent from the field in the second half.

The victory means the Pioneers have secured their fourth consecutive 20 win season.

“It’s a good accomplishment but it’s not what we’re looking for,” Grenek said. “We’re looking for an opportunity to play at the national level and compete for a national championship. Twenty wins is great, however we just need to keep our focus and try to win the next game.”

Point Park, which has secured a spot in the KIAC Tournament, did drop out of the NAIA Division Top 25 Poll that was released on Tuesday, and is now ranked 27th overall in the nation and in the “others receiving votes” category. Rio Grande (19-6, 8-1 KIAC), which leads the KIAC North Division by 1.0 games over Point Park, is also receiving votes in the Top 25 Poll.


The Pioneers will next play at IU East (15-10, 5-4 KIAC) for a KIAC road game Sunday at 1 p.m.

“Hopefully we get out of this funk because I think IU East for a first year team is tremendous, and they have some very capable high scorers,” said Grenek. “The game will be a battle for us so hopefully we can fight through it and break out of this funk soon.”

My take: The first half was a good one for Point Park however for a team that is trying to crack the top 25, being outscored in the second half is not acceptable. Yes the Pioneers are in a funk but it comes down to sucking it up and having smarter possessions on both sides of the ball, something that did not happen in the last 20 minutes. Each team gets tired, but after IU Southeast, a team that had beaten Point Park last week was defeated by Rio Grande, it puts the Pioneers back in the driver’s seat. Now if Point Park wins out, it will make the NAIA National Tournament for a fourth consecutive season. If that is not enough motivation, then I am not sure what is.

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