Point Park women's basketball recruiting class announced with five WPIAL products: two transfers, three freshmen
July 30, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. ET
Kelly Johnson of Mt. Lebanon HS and Clarion University is one of two transfers in the recruiting class. Photo by CU athletics.
PITTSBURGH -- Head coach Tony Grenek's Point Park University women's basketball 2014-15 recruiting class has five WPIAL products who will be joining the Pioneers for the upcoming season. Two are NCAA Division II transfers and three are freshmen.
The NCAA Division II transfers are 5-8 point guard Kelly Johnson, a Mt. Lebanon High School product who transferred from Clarion University, and Leah Hurst, a 5-10 guard from East Allegheny High School who transferred from Alderson-Broaddus University.
The incoming freshmen are 6-0 center Baylee Buleca from Franklin Regional High School, 5-4 point guard Shaniya Rivers from Hopewell High School and 5-6 shooting guard Elizabeth Neal from Bethel Park High School.
"We are excited about our overall recruiting class," said Grenek, who has coached the Pioneers to three straight NAIA Division II national tournaments in his three years at Point Park.
"We brought in some experienced scorers who are capable of playing multiple positions. We brought in some size, some athleticism and some players who are experienced at winning. They should compliment are returning players quite nicely. Also, we may add a few more surprises before school begins in August."
Grenek and the Pioneers have four starters returning from last year's team that was 29-5 overall and won its third conference tournament title in a row for its third-consecutive NAIA Division II national tournament appearance. Point Park is 77-19 (.802) the last three years.
The new crop of WPIAL talent joins a returning roster that is already well-stocked with local talent from schools surrounding Point Park's Downtown Pittsburgh campus.
Last year's starting lineup featured freshman center Sam Weir (14.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg) from Riverside High School, freshman forward Carly Forse (10.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg) from Bishop Canevin and sophomore shooting guard Alexa Xenakis (9.9 ppg, 50 3pt FGs) from Keystone Oaks.
Freshman guard Celina DiPietro (6.7 ppg) was a top sub although the Bishop Canevin alum missed 11 games due to injury. Forward Ja'Nia McPhatter (15.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg in 2012-13), a New Castle product, missed last year due to a foot injury but will be back for her junior year in 2014-15.
The following is a breakdown of the Point Park University Women's Basketball 2014-15 Recruiting Class:
KELLY JOHNSON -- Point Guard, 5-8, Sophomore, Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon HS (Clarion University)
Kelly Johnson is a transfer from NCAA Division II Clarion where she led the Golden Eagles in total points with 355 last year as a freshman. Her scoring average of 13.7 ppg was second on the team, and she also led Clarion in field goals, free throws and steals. Johnson averaged 13.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.5 apg and 3.0 spg.
A 2012 graduate of Mt. Lebanon, she spent two years at Clarion, one of which was the 2012-13 season when she sat out. She played in all 26 games last year and started seven times. Her 25.3 minutes per game were fifth on the team.
Johnson had a decorated high school career as a three-time PIAA Class AAAA champion at Mt. Lebanon High School. A four-year starter, she was a part of state championship teams in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her teams won WPIAL titles in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Johnson was named to the prestigious Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fab 5 team as a senior when she averaged 13.2 ppg. She was a two-time all-state selection in 2011 and 2012, and she was the MVP of the state championship game in 2011 when she scored 13 points.
Coach Grenek on Kelly Johnson: "Kelly Johnson is highly-touted guard who averaged 14 points per game last year as a red-shirt freshman at Clarion University. Kelly is very versatile and will play several positions for us. A proven scorer and winner, Kelly was a four-year starter at Mt. Lebanon High School and won three WPIAL titles and three state titles in her career, which is amazing to me. Kelly is more than capable of being that go-to player for us to score the basketball and take over a game when our offense breaks down or when we are stuggling to shoot the ball."
LEAH HURST -- Guard, 5-10, Junior, East Allegheny High School (Alderson-Broaddus University)
Photo courtesy A-B athletics
Leah Hurst is a 5-10 guard who has transferred from Alderson-Broaddus University. She averaged 11.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore at A-B, where she played for two years from 2011-13. She had a standout career at East Allegheny High School in which she scored more than 1,000 career points.
Hurst ranked in the top 10 in the WPIAL in scoring when she averaged 19.1 ppg as a senior at East Allegheny. She was named the Daily News Player of the Year and to the PG East Fab 5 that year. A highlight was leading her team to the second round of the WPIAL playoffs as a junior.
Hurst's career at Alderson-Broaddus included 457 points and 222 rebounds over two years and 54 games. She was a 78-percent free-throw shooter. She will be a junior at Point Park in 2014-15 and have two years of eligibility left.
Coach Grenek on Leah Hurst: "Leah Hurst is a solid, all-around player who scored close to 500 points and grabbed almost 250 rebounds in her two years at Alderson-Broaddus. She is a 5-10, versatile player capable of playing any position on the floor. She can shoot the three, hit the mid-range jumper, slash to the hoop and post up smaller opponents. Her game is very well-rounded, fundamental and mature. She plays aggressively, and she has a business-type approach to the game. We are excited to have her as a player, and she will be looked upon to be a leader for us on and off the court."
BAYLEE BULECA -- Center, 6-0, Freshman, Export, Pa./Franklin Regional High School
Photo by Zachary Weiss
Baylee Buleca is a 6-0 center who will add some size to the Pioneers' roster as a freshman in 2014-15. She scored 930 points and exceeded 900 rebounds as a four-year starter at Franklin Region High School.
This past season, Buleca averaged 11.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. For her high school career, she averaged 10 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game.
Buleca was named All-WPIAL and WPIAL all-section on the Class AAAA level. She was also team MVP and MVP of the Hampton Tournament and the Franklin Regional Tournament. She was also a four-year letter winner.
Coach Grenek on Baylee Buleca: "Not only is she long and athletic, but she can run the floor very well and that's huge because we like to try and get the ball up and down the court while playing fast-break basketball. She's got great hands and is well-coached coming from a very solid program. We think she can come in right away and make a difference."
SHANIYA RIVERS -- Guard, 5-4, Freshman, Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell High School
Photo courtesy Hopewell HS.
Shaniya Rivers is a 5-4 point guard from Aliquippa, Pa., and Hopewell High School who will be a freshman for the Pioneers in 2014-15. She comes from a very successful Hopewell program, where she was a WPIAL all-section player averaging 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
Rivers helped Hopewell to a record of 18-4 overall and 10-2 section last year as a senior. She was the MVP of the Penn Hills Tournament and made the all-tournament team at the Mars Tournament.
She is the product of a winning program that posted a record of 65-12 overall and 29-7 section the last three years at Hopewell.
Coach Grenek on Shaniya Rivers: "Shaniya Rivers is an extremely athletic guard who works her tail off. She puts a ton of pressure on the ballhandler, she takes charges and she can penetrate and dish. She was a four-year starter at Hopewell High School, which is one of the most successful high school girls' basketball programs in our area, and she won a WPIAL title just two years ago. She's a blue-collar kid, so she will fit in perfectly with us at Point Park."
LIZ NEAL -- Guard, 5-6, Freshman, Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park High School
Photo by Zachary Weiss.
Liz Neal is a 5-6 shooting guard from Bethel Park, Pa., and Bethel Park High School who will be a freshman at Point Park in 2014-15. She was a two-year letter-winner for a successful program at Bethel Park and averaged 8.5 points per game.
Neal was a letter winner for Bethel Park's WPIAL championship team in 2012-13 that was 23-4 overall and 10-2 section. As a senior, she helped the Blackhawks to a record of 17-6 and 8-4 section. Bethel Park reached the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs last year.
Coach Grenek on Liz Neal: "Liz Neal has a strong upside to her game. She comes from a great program at Bethel Park, and she is another one of our players who won a WPIAL championship during her high school career. She will most likely play the 2 or 3 position. She has an excellent mid-range game, and she is a very smart player as well. She is going to compliment our team very nicely, and I am excited to see how she grows as a player.