RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Point Park University coughed up a first half lead before rallying from a second half deficit and pulling away late for a 74-65 win over the University of Rio Grande, Saturday afternoon, in Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Point Park, which was playing for the first time since Dec. 12, snapped a two-game losing streak, improving to 10-5 overall and 4-1 in the KIAC.
Rio Grande had a four-game winning streak snapped, slipping to 8-5 overall and 1-1 in league play.
The Pioneers led throughout much of the opening half, taking a 25-19 advantage following a three-pointer by Leah Hurst with 4:52 left before the intermission.
Rio Grande erased a four-point halftime deficit with a 6-0 run to the open the second half, taking a 33-31 lead on a baseline jumper by senior Sarah Bonar (Hartford, OH) with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter.
The RedStorm lead reached as many as eight points, 46-38, following a conventional three-point play by Bonar with 2:34 left in the period, but the Pioneers closed the gap to just three points entering the final stanza and took the lead, 50-49, on the second of consecutive buckets by Carly Forse with 8:43 remaining in the contest.
The lead changed hands six times and was tied twice over the next five minutes, but a basket by Point Park’s Kaitlyn Smith with 2:47 left gave the Pioneers the lead for good and kickstarted a game-ending 15-6 run.
Alexa Xenakis scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half to lead the Pioneers, while Smith had 15 points and Forse finished with 12 points, a team-best nine rebounds and a game-high four blocked shots.
Hurst added 11 points and five steals in the winning effort for Point Park.
Bonar led Rio Grande in the loss with 14 points, while junior Sharday Baines (East Cleveland, OH) had 11 points and a game-high six assists and junior Brooke Marcum (Vinton, OH) had 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The RedStorm enjoyed a whopping 56-32 edge in rebounding, but shot just 37.5 percent from the field (27-for-72), 50 percent from the free throw line (9-for-18) and committed 25 turnovers.
Rio Grande returns to action on Tuesday afternoon when Indiana University-Kokomo visits for another KIAC matchup. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.