Point Park improves to 7-0 with victory over West Virginia Tech, 85-76
Nov. 23, 2013 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Alexa Xenakis scored a career-high 18 points off the bench in the 85-76 win over WVU Tech. Photo by Michelle Montana.
By Zachary Weiss, Point Park Athletic Communications Student Assistant
WEST MIFFLIN, PA-- The Point Park University women’s basketball team improved to 7-0 on the season with an 85-76 victory over non-conference West Virginia Tech on Saturday at CCAC-South Gym.
Freshman Celina DiPietro led Point Park (7-0) with a career-high 19 points, and sophomore Alexa Xenakis added a career-high 18 points off the bench in 21 minutes. Junior point guard Kayla Kiriau added 11 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
Nia Nolan led four West Virginia Tech (2-6) players in double figures with a game-high 21 points.
The Pioneers have now swept the season series versus West Virginia Tech after forcing 25 turnovers on Saturday. The Pioneers’ bench got into the act as well scoring 39 points.
Both teams looked for a spark in the first half and as a result it was a slow start. Point Park led for the vast majority of the first half, although with 9:18, West Virginia Tech took its first lead of the game, a 19-18 advantage. The lead got to as big as 22-18 before Point Park recovered.
The two first-half standouts for the Pioneers were Haley Sauer and Xenakis. Sauer scored all nine of her points in the first half, going 4 of 5 from the field. Down one after a Xenakis layup, Sauer got a steal and a layup of her own to retake the lead, 27-26. A Sauer jumper and Xenakis 3-pointer then stretched the lead to six points, 32-26, the biggest advantage in the first half.
With four minutes remaining in the first half, West Virginia Tech’s shots started to fall, however four Pioneers free throws kept them in the lead, 41-38, at the half.
In the second half, West Virginia Tech wasted no time tying the game and took the lead two minutes in, 45-43.
This is when DiPietro got going. DiPietro scored 14 of her 19 points after halftime and forced the Golden Bears to match her and Xenakis, who continued to create problems for the opposition.
Katresa Savisky saw her first action since the Nov. 2 win against Madonna and made two free throws that started a 10-2 run in the next 3:25 of game action. She had missed the last four games with a head injury.
With Point Park up eight, Xenakis missed a 3, and Savisky quickly gathered the rebound and was able to lay the ball in to stretch the lead to 10, while forcing a timeout.
The momentum from that play would help put the Pioneers up 16 points with 10:22 to play in regulation.
West Virginia Tech would not go away however. Trailing by 12, the Golden Bears went on a 7-1 run to cut the deficit to 74-68 with 3:45 left.
Down the stretch, Savisky’s rebounding was a key to allowing the Pioneers to maintain the lead. With 1:03 remaining in regulation and Point Park up seven, Savisky had a key offensive rebound and found DiPietro, who put up a 3-point shot with two seconds left on the shot clock. When the shot went in, the Pioneers led by 10 and put the game out of reach, much to the delight of an excited Point Park bench.
“I knew the shot clock was at two and I’m finally getting back into it, so it felt good,” DiPietro said. “My confidence is back up and the team is very supportive.”
Point Park will travel to Wilberforce (Ohio) on Monday for a game that will tip-off at 7 p.m. before going on Thanksgiving break.
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