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ODU pulls away in second half

Panthers take control the second half in AMC win

Feb. 20, 2009

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. – Ohio Dominican erased a 21-point second-half deficit to defeat Point Park, 74-66, Friday in an American Mideast Conference women’s basketball at CCAC South Gymnasium.

Point Park (11-13 overall, 4-10 AMC) led by 18 points, 43-25, at halftime, and Heather Swedish (Sewickley/Avonworth) gave the Pioneers their biggest lead of 21 points, 46-25, with a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half.

But Ohio Dominican (16-11, 10-4 AMC) shot 59 percent the final 20 minutes and outscored Point Park, 49-23, the second half to complete the comeback and earn an eight-point victory.

Point Park’s Ashley Henderson (Greensburg/Greensburg Central Catholic) had 14 of her game-high 23 points in the first half to lead the Pioneers to the first-half lead. Point Park shot 48 percent (17-for-35) the first half, and the 43 points in the opening stanza marked the second-highest total for the Pioneers all year.

Ohio Dominican entered Friday’s game second in the AMC in scoring defense at 62.6 points per game, but gave up nearly that many the first 20 minutes. The Panthers committed nine of their 12 turnovers before halftime.

Ashley Bergman (Pittsburgh/West Mifflin) came off the Point Park bench to score a season-high 12 points, and the sophomore guard had nine points the first half. Bergman, who was 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, made three free throws for a 27-13 lead with 7:12 left in the half.

Henderson, who also added five assists and four rebounds, nailed a jumper for an 18-point lead, 32-14, with 4:34 to go.

Ohio Dominican turned things around the second half by holding Point Park to 30-percent shooting (7-for-23). The Pioneers shot 41 percent (24-for-58) on the night. On the offensive end, Melissa Hersey led the comeback charge with all of her team-high 17 points the second half.  Hersey made 9 of 10 free throws.

The Panthers lead the AMC in free-throw shooting at 76 percent, and were 24-for-31 (77 percent) from the line Friday. Ohio Dominican was 18 of 22 from the line the second half (82 percent).

Kirsten Ruen scored all 14 of her points the second half, and her 3-pointer cut the Point Park lead to 46-39 with 15:39 to play. The Panthers started the frame on a 16-3 run, and Summer Hale’s free throws made it 46-41 at the 14:58 mark. Hale finished with 11 points.

Point Park rebuilt a double-digit lead six minutes later as Henderson’s trey gave the Pioneers a 59-48 edge with 9:43 remaining. But from there, Ohio Dominican ended the game on a 26-7 run. The Panthers scored 15 of the next 17 points to lead 63-61 with under four minutes left. The lead represented the Panthers’ first lead since 8-7 in the early going.

Guarding a 64-63 lead, the Panthers got a 3-pointer from Ruen and a layup by Hale to go ahead 69-63 with 1:53 remaining. Ohio Dominican then iced the game by making 4 of 5 foul shots.

On the strength of the 59-percent shooting in the second half, Ohio Dominican shot 44 percent (21-for-48) from the field. The Panthers held a 36-31 edge in rebounds. 

Chelsea Rogers had 10 points and nine rebounds for Ohio Dominican, and teammate Amanda Ritzler added 10 points and four assists.

Brittney Wilson (Pittsburgh/West Mifflin) had nine points and five rebounds for Point Park.

Point Park finishes the season Saturday by playing host to Mt. Vernon Nazarene (2 p.m.) at CCAC South Gymnasium. The Pioneers will celebrate Senior Day as senior guard/forward Ashleigh Hays (Pleasant Hills/Thomas Jefferson) will be playing her final game at Point Park.

The lone senior on the team and the team captain, Hays has scored over 850 points and grabbed more than 500 rebounds in three seasons at Point Park. She spent her freshman season at CCAC Allegheny before transferring to Point Park, where she has earned All-AMC North honors each of the last two years.