Point Park U. signs New Zealand native Kiriau, a transfer from Sheridan College
May 24, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. ET
Kayla Kiriau pictured as a sophomore at Sheridan (Wyo.). Photo courtesy of Sheridan College.
PITTSBURGH -- Point Park University women's basketball coach Tony Grenek has signed transfer Kayla Kiriau (pronounced kerr-RAW-ooo), a 5-8 guard who will have two years of eligibility left after playing her first two years at Sheridan College, a junior college in Wyoming.
Kiriau is from Lyall Bay, Wellington in New Zealand, and she will join the Pioneers for the upcoming 2013-14 season. A two-year starter at Sheridan (Wyo.), she averaged 9.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 44 percent from the field this past year as a sophomore on the NJCAA Division I level.
Kiriau is also a strong and athletic defender, something that fits right in with coach Grenek's emphasis on pressure defense at Point Park. The Pioneers, coming off a 25-7 season in 2012-13, have made it to the NAIA Division II national tournament the last two years with one of the best defenses in the nation.
"Kayla is super athletic," said Grenek, who has been at Point Park the last two years. "She is a 5-8 guard who does a great job wreaking havoc on the defensive end. She also runs the floor very well in fast-break situations. Kayla will fit in perfectly with our team because she is a great kid who loves to play defense and make opponents miserable."
"I chose Point Park because coach seems like someone who could not only mentor you into becoming a better player, but to develop your character as well," said Kiriau. "Point Park looked like a family that was well taken care of, so what's not to like about that?"
Kiriau helped Sheridan (Wyo.) College to back-to-back Region IX championships the last two years. Sheridan was 22-9 overall last year with Kiriau playing in all 31 games and reaching double figures 14 times. Her season highs in points and rebounds were 20 and 12.
During her freshman year, Kiriau played in all 30 games with 8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. She shot 37 percent from the floor.
In New Zealand, Kiriau was a member of New Zealand's under-16 and under-18 national teams. She went to high school at Wellington East Girls College.
Point Park has won consecutive conference championship with a KIAC Tournament title last year and an American Mideast Conference Tournament championship in 2011-12 before the league disbanded. The Pioneers have three starters returning.
The Pioneers have made their mark on the defensive end as they ranked 11th in NAIA Division II last year in scoring defense at 56.1 points per game. The year before, they ranked second in the country. Point Park ranked ninth in the nation in turnover margin (+4.8) and allowed opponents to shoot just 35.5 percent, tops in the KIAC, in 2012-13.