No. 21 Point Park beats Wilberforce at home with big first half, defense
Jan. 15, 2014
Kayla Kiriau had a career-high 22 points in the home win over Wilberforce. Photo by Michelle Montana.
By Zachary Weiss, Point Park Athletic Communications Student Assistant
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. – The No. 21 Point Park University women’s basketball team defeated Wilberforce, 85-67, Wednesday in its second game in as many days.
Point Park (17-1, 5-1 KIAC) was led by Kayla Kiriau who had a career-high 22 points, 17 of which came in the first half as the Pioneers jumped out to a 50-32 lead after 20 minutes.
“Their style of play works best to my ability, it’s just all coming together and clicking,” Kiriau said. “Things have been less stressful and flowing more.”
Sam Weir (17), Alexa Xenakis (11) and Katresa Savisky (10) all scored in doubles figures while Alexis Lyers added a career high nine points. Carly Forse had 14 rebounds and seven steals in the victory while the defense forced 31 turnovers.
Kendra Moss led Wilberforce (5-14) with 27 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-3 center was 12 of 14 from the floor, including 7 for 7 in the first half. No one else scored double figures for the Bulldogs, and the rest of the team shot 25 percent from the floor.
The Pioneers scored the first nine points of the game, with Weir scoring the first five. This included Weir’s first three point shot of the season. Wilberforce quickly answered back with four points, however Point Park responded with six unanswered to take a 17-7 lead.
Wilberforce again came back to cut the lead to 19-17, but once again Point Park responded and went on an 8-0 run capped off by a Xenakis hoop and harm – good for a three point play – for a 27-18 lead at the 9:49 mark of the first half.
The first half continued to go back and forth as the Bulldogs cut the lead to five points. The Pioneers were unfazed, though, and went on a 15-0 run in the next 4:13 of the game to take a 45-25 lead. At halftime, Point Park led 50-32.
Point Park maintained a double-digit advantage in the second half. Wilberforce again made a comeback attempt but never got closer than 12.
Point Park made four key free throws to extend the lead to 68-54, and then with 6:41 to play, Xenakis made a 3-pointer for a 73-54 lead.
The Pioneers were able to close out the game from this position. Point Park’s biggest lead was 21 points, 83-62, with 2:19 remaining.
The Point Park defense came on strong in forcing 31 turnovers, which is second only to the 34 they forced in the season opener at West Virginia Tech this year. The Pioneers grabbed 18 steals, and they turned them into offense with a 46-13 advantage in points off turnovers.
Wilberforce shot 38 percent from the field, but that got a major boost from the 6-3 Moss going 12 for 14 on mostly layups. The rest of the Bulldogs’ team shot 25 percent from the field (13 of 52). On top of that, Wilberforce was 1 for 18 from 3-point range (including 1 for 15 the first half) for 5.6 percent.
The Pioneers will next play against Berea Saturday at 1 p.m. This is a rematch of last Friday’s contest where the Mountaineers handed Point Park its lone loss of the season.
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