Point Park falls to No. 5-ranked Morningside in NAIA DII national tournament
March 13, 2014 at 10:45 p.m. ET -- Updated March 14 at 7:00 a.m.
Carly Forse had 18 points, a team record for most in a national tourney game. File Photo by Michelle Montana.
By Zachary Weiss, Point Park Athletic Communications Student Assistant
Sioux City, Iowa — The Point Park University women’s basketball team saw its season come to an end following an 83-52 loss Thursday night to No. 5-ranked Morningside (Iowa) in the first round of the NAIA Division II National Championship at the Tyson Events Center.
Point Park (29-5), a No. 7 seed, was playing in the national tournament for the third year in a row and set a school record for most wins in a season with 29. No. 2 seed Morningside (28-6) improved to 11-1 all-time in the first round and has three national championships in its 11 previous national appearances.
Point Park freshman forward Carly Forse led all scorers with a school, tournament-record 18 points to go along with eight rebounds. Forse combined with freshman center Sam Weir [12 points] and senior guard/forward Katresa Savisky  to total 40 of the team’s 52 points.
Junior forward Ashlynn Muhl had 17 points and 10 rebounds in just under 19 minutes of play for Morningside. A total of 15 players played in the game for the Mustangs and 13 of them reached the scoring column. Morningside’s reserves outscored the Pioneers’ bench, 42-9.
“We knew coming in that to have any chance, we needed to make some shots,” Point Park head coach Tony Grenek said. “We missed a lot of foul shots and bunnies. We needed to get more balanced scoring and that wasn’t there tonight.”
Point Park got off to a quick start scoring the first five points of the game and used its defensive pressure to force Morningside into a 1-for-11 shooting slump to start the game.
Morningside recovered, however, and used its defense to force 29 turnovers, the second-most this year for the Pioneers.
The Mustangs trailed 10-9 with 11:19 left in the first half before going on a 6-0 run, and following a Savisky, score went on a 20-6 run to end the half. That put Morningside up, 35-18, at the break.
Point Park shot just 23 percent the first half and made only 6 of 26 field goals. The Pioneers also turned the ball 17 times the first 20 minutes, and the Mustangs turned that into a 15-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
“I thought in the first half we shot ourselves in the foot,” Grenek said. “We caused nine turnovers against them in the first half and didn’t do anything with them. We would just turn it over on the other end.”
The second half started with the teams trading baskets, mostly led by Forse and Weir, who were each held to three points the first half. But Forse scored 15 and Weir scored nine after halftime as 28 of Point Park’s 34 points the second half came in the paint.
With 15:14 left, Weir converted a shot to cut the Morningside lead 49-32, but the Pioneers’ next basket came following a 13-4 run for Morningside as the Mustangs had control.
The Mustangs regularly used 15 players and frustrated Point Park for the final 7:35 of the game, where a basket did not fall for the Pioneers.
Towards the end of the game, Grenek subbed in his five seniors, who played the last 2:04 of the game – a gesture showing his appreciation for what they did at Point Park.
Following the loss, Muhl thought the Pioneers showed a lot of promise.
“They have a lot of good girls, they stick together when things were getting rough,” Muhl said. “They were fighting to the very end and that shows the type of team they had. They had a great season and I wish them the best of luck next season.”
Morningside head coach Jamie Sale agreed.
“They didn’t win 29 games by not being a good team,” Sale said. “They’re a very good team and challenged us for quite a bit of the game.”
The Pioneers were supported by a few parents that made the drive from Pittsburgh. In addition, there was both on-campus and off-campus viewing parties to support the team.
“Thank you so much, everybody was wonderful,” Grenek said. “We’ve always had a great support since I’ve been at Point Park. We greatly appreciate it so much. I just wish we could have put out a better performance for everybody. This one’s going to sting for a while, I know that.”
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