Point Park Achieves Team Win Against IU Kokomo


Point Park women’s basketball guard Kayla Kiriau helped the Pioneers win their 22nd contest of the season. Photo courtesy Stephen Pope

The receiving votes Point Park University women’s basketball team won at IU Kokomo, 88-70, Saturday evening to clinch second place in the KIAC North Division and the first-round playoff home game that comes with it.

Sophomore point guard Kelly Johnson led Point Park (22-4, 9-3 KIAC) with 24 points, seven assists and eight steals. Junior forward Ja’Nia McPhatter added 13 points, and the Pioneers had 12 players score in a very balanced effort. It was the fourth time this year that all the Point Park players scored in a game.

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Point Park led IU Kokomo (8-19, 3-10 KIAC), 40-7, in bench points. Leading the Pioneers’ bench effort were senior forward Natasha Moss with nine points and sophomore guards Carly Corcoran and Celina DiPietro with eight points each.

The Point Park defense forced 26 turnovers by IU Kokomo and turned them into a 38-5 advantage in points off turnovers. Point Park also outscored the Cougars, 40-5, in points in the paint.

Hope Wagner’s 21 points led IU Kokomo while guard Deja Felder added 19 points. Dejianna Butler had a double-dougle with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Forward Whitney Williamson had seven points and 10 rebounds.

Point Park led IU Kokokmo, 22-11, early and already had five different make a 3-point basket by that point.

The Pioneers led, 44-33, at the half after shooting 48.6 percent from the field. At halftime, IU Kokomo had one assist for the entire half.

With the victory, the Pioneers improved to 14-2 on the road and 7-1 in KIAC road games. Point Park ran its road winning streak to eight in a row, and it has not lost a road game since losing at Asbury (Ky.) Jan. 3.

Additionally Point Park is now 22-2 under coach Tony Grenek in games that follow a loss. The Pioneers were coming off a 73-61 home loss to Rio Grande on Tuesday. Grenek now has 99 victories with the team.

Point Park can’t catch KIAC North Division leader Rio Grande (22-6, 11-1 KIAC), which won again on Saturday, in the standings. But the Pioneers are now guaranteed for second place in the division and will host a first-round playoff game because of that Feb. 24.

Point Park’s next game is Wednesday at home versus Carlow with a 5:30 p.m. tipoff at CCAC-South. The contest will serve as the team’s Nancy Gallagher Cancer Awareness Game, and assistant coach April Austin encouraged fans to attend as there will be a special meaning this season.


“On Wednesday we’re playing to raise cancer awareness for Nancy Gallagher, who is the mother of one of my teammates from when I played, Maeve Gallagher,” Austin said. “We are also raising money for a little boy whose name is Aiden, and the event is called Saving Aiden. We’re trying to get a stem cell donor for him so he can get better as soon as possible. All proceeds from the game go to his organization and obviously we’re going to be paying tribute the night to Nancy Gallagher as well.”

Nancy Gallagher is the mother of former Point Park women’s basketball player and three-sport athlete Maeve Gallagher. Point Park women’s basketball’s annual cancer awareness game is named in honor for Mrs. Gallagher, who lost her battle with cancer on Nov. 25, 2013.

To learn more about “Saving Aiden” scheduled for Feb. 18 or to donate, click here.

My take: It was nice to see the team contribute and get the win all together. Everyone scored which is nice to see. Clinching the number two seed allows the Pioneers to know exactly where they stand as Carlow (Wednesday) and IU East (Saturday). Point Park’s steals frustrated IU Kokomo which is clearly evidenced by the points off turnover statistic. That being said the Pioneers cannot let up as they need to continue to win in order to maintain momentum heading into the KIAC Tournament. It is hard to win a tournament when you are not playing good basketball and for any chance of a return trip to Sioux City, a KIAC Tournament title is mandatory.

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