Point Park women earn No. 25 spot in NAIA Division II national poll
Jan. 30, 2012
NAIA DII TOP 25 POLL (Jan. 30)
PITTSBURGH -- With its 11 consecutive victories and its upset of then-No. 19 Daemen on Saturday, the Point Park University women's basketball team has broken into the national rankings.
The Pioneers (16-4, 7-0 AMC), who have not lost since Dec. 3, are ranked No. 25 in Monday's NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll. Point Park had been receiving votes last week, but it replaced Daemen (18-5, 8-1 AMC) as the only new team to this week's ratings.
It is the first time ever that the Point Park women's team has been nationally ranked. The Pioneers' program was established in 1978-79.
Point Park beat Daemen, 51-43, at home Saturday to take over first place in the AMC. Daemen dropped down to the 'others receiving votes' section and is just three spots out of the rankings.
Point Park's national ranking and its current win streak are due mostly to its stingy defense. The Pioneers rank second in the country in scoring defense at 51.8 ppg, and only NAIA Division II co-No. 1 team Indiana Wesleyan gives up less points at 49.1 ppg. Indiana Wesleyan (22-2) and Davenport (Mich.) (22-2) are tied for the top spot in this week's national rankings.
Point Park's defense ranks fourth in the country in opponent's field-goal percent (.332), third in turnover margin (+8.2), seventh in steals per game (13.4), 10th in blocks per game (4.5) and 11th in opponent's 3-point percentage (.263). Point Park forces 24.5 turnovers per game and gives up 16.3.
At 7-0 in the AMC, Point Park has completed its first lap around the conference. The Pioneers begin the second half of the home-and-home schedule with a visit to Wilberforce Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. That game begins a key, three-game road stretch that inlcudes dates at Houghton (Feb. 4) and at Walsh (Feb. 7).
Point Park has one double-digit scorer, junior point guard April Austin, who averages 10.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.7 apg and 3.0 spg. Joncelyn Peterkin, a 6-2 senior center, averages 9.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg and ranks fifth in the country at 2.5 blocks per game. Austin is seventh nationally in steals per game.
The Pioneers were 5-4 after their first nine games under new coach Tony Grenek. But after a period of adjustment with a new coach and a handful of newcomers entering the program, the Pioneers have found their chemistry with 11 straight wins.
The 11-game win streak includes six conference wins, a 28-point blowout of NAIA Division I Rio Grande (15-7) and victories over solid NCAA Division III programs La Roche and Carnegie Mellon.
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