No. 22 Point Park falls at Daemen, forced to share AMC Regular Season Title
Feb. 18, 2012
Point Park is 21-6, 12-2 AMC and shared the AMC Regular Season title with Daemen. Photo by Matt Desmond
AMHERST, N.Y. -- No. 22 Point Park University suffered a 67-51 loss at Daemen (NY) College in the regular-season finale Saturday afternoon. With the loss, the Pioneers (21-6, 12-2 AMC) will share the American Mideast Conference Women's Basketball Regular Season title with Daemen (22-6, 12-2 AMC).
Point Park had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming AMC Tournament earlier in the week. By splitting the season series with Point Park, Daemen secured the No. 2 playoff seed.
Point Park was ranked No. 22 in the NAIA Division II Top 25 Poll Feb. 13 while Daemen was in the 'others receiving votes' section. Point Park had broken into the national rankings for the first time in school history after it beat then-No. 19 Daemen, 51-43, at home Jan. 28. The next poll comes out Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. ET.
Top seed Point Park will host No. 4 seed Houghton in the AMC Tournament First Round Feb. 21. Game time is 7 p.m. at CCAC-South Gym.
Houghton (14-12, 4-8 AMC) beat Carlow, 74-56, on Saturday to claim the final spot in the four-team, postseason field. Point Park will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The AMC Finals would be at Point Park Feb. 25 (time TBA) with a win Tuesday over Houghton.
On Saturday at Daemen, Point Park found itself trailing, 17-5, at the 13:05 mark of the first half. The Pioneers had made only one field goal at the point. But the Pioneers battled all the way back to knot things up at 34-34 on a 3-pointer by April Austin 1:39 before the half.
Austin, a senior point guard from Penn Hills, Pa., had 10 of her 13 points before the half and hit a couple of treys to lead the comeback. Senior center Joncelyn Peterkin, from West Mifflin, Pa., finished with 14 points -- with eight coming the first half -- but no one from Point Park had much offensive success the final 20 minutes.
Down 36-34 at halftime, Point Park did not score a field goal the first 10:40 of the second half. In the meantime, a 16-4 Daemen run gave the Wildcats a 52-38 lead with 10:06 left.
Point Park was cold shooting early in the game, but recovered to shoot 42 percent the first half. The Pioneers, however, shot just 11 percent (4 of 35) the final 20 minutes. Daemen, which shot 54 percent (14 of 26) the first half, was able to maintain a double-digit lead even with 33-percent shooting after the half. Point Park was 4 of 23 from long range, including 1 of 12 the second half.
The game was a matchup of two of the top defenses in NAIA Division II, and Daemen got the best of the meeting. Daemen came in ranking first in the country in field-goal defense (.306) and first in total blocks (203). Daemen, which leads the nation in defensive rebounds per game, controlled the boards, 52-34.
Point Park entered the day second nationally in scoring defene (50.8 ppg) and third in field-goal defense (.326). Daemen's scoring defense of 51.7 ppg is third in the country. Point Park, which ranks second nationally in turnover margin (+8.2) won the turnover battle, 22-14.
Point Park made it a 10-point game, 57-47, on a jumper by Maura McCaslin with 5:22 left. The Pioneers moved to within 59-49 on Austin's free throws two minutes later, but Daemen's Ellie Allen followed with six quick points on a jumper and four free throws to put the game away, 65-49, iwth 1:58 left. Allen, the leading scorer at 14.3 ppg, had eight points on the day.
Daemen had four players in double figures with guard/forward Chelsea Andorka leading the way with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Monica Kosior, a 6-5 center, added 14 points. Kosior's 6-3 frontcourtmate Courtney Donovan had 11 points, aided by going 3 of 7 from long range.
In the other first-round AMC Tournament matchup, No. 2 seed Daemen (22-6, 12-2 AMC) will host No. 3 seed Roberts Wesleyan (20-9, 10-4 AMC). Point Park got the No. 1 seed over Daemen based on the tiebreaker that took into account its 2-0 record versus Roberts. Daemen was 1-1 versus Roberts.
Point Park won its first-ever AMC Regular Season Title. The Pioneers are in the postseason for the first time since 1998-99, their first year in the AMC. Point Park, which has a school record 21 wins this year, was 14-13 each of the last two years to miss the playoffs by a game each time. Point Park has three-straight seasons over .500, something that it hadn't done in 26 years (1983-86).
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