NAIA D-II WBB National Tournament Preview – First Round vs. Indiana Wesleyan (March 7, 2013)
By Zachary Weiss -- Women's Basketball Beat Writer for The Globe, Pittsburgh Sports Report and The Pittsburgh Sporting News. Follow Zachary on Twitter @ZacharyMWeiss
#8 Point Park 25-6 [11-4 KIAC] vs. #1 Indiana Wesleyan 30-3 [16-2 Crossroads]
8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT -- Sioux City, Iowa (Tyson Events Center)
How to watch the game: Fans can pay $9.95 for a daily pass or $29.95 for a tournament pass on the NAIA website to watch live video of the game. Fans also can find live stats courtesy of Dakstats. WPPJ 670 AM will also be broadcasting the game with Chris Hoffman and Tim Hardy on the call. You can also listen online at www.msasports.net and looking on the right hand side for the broadcast under latest broadcasts.
The matchup: Indiana Wesleyan won the Crossroads regular season title however it was upset, 54-48, by Saint Francis (Ind.) in the finals of the Crossroads conference tournament. The loss dropped Indiana Wesleyan from No.1 to No. 4 in the NAIA DII Top 25 Poll (Feb. 27). Point Park won its conference tournament defeating the previous four time KIAC tournament champion Indiana University Southeast, 71-56, in the semifinal and Asbury in the final, 67-58, for the KIAC Tournament championship. Despite the conference title, the Pioneers went up just one spot in the polls to No. 28 overall and in the ‘others receiving votes’ category. The last team to get an at-large berth to the tournament was ranked No. 27 overall and as a result Point Park received a No. 8 seed.
#8 Point Park University (25-6, 11-4 KIAC):
#23 April Austin [Sr] 10.8 ppg 4.8 rpg
#3 Katresa Savisky [Jr] 8.6 ppg 6.0 rpg
#11 Emily Schartner [Sr] 12.3 ppg 5.6 rpg
#24 Teresa Davis [Jr] 10.0 ppg 5.1 rpg
#32 Ja’Nia McPhatter [Soph] 15.2 ppg 9 rpg
#1 Indiana Wesleyan University (30-3, 16-2 Crossroads):
#21 Emma Stahl [So] 6.4 ppg 2.5 rpg
#3 Claire Ray [Sr] 10.4 ppg 4.7 rpg
#2 Taylor Goshert [Jr] 9.0 ppg 6.2 rpg
#41 Paige Smith [Sr] 16.1 ppg 6.6 rpg
#33 Karina Blackmon [So] 9.4 ppg 4.1 rpg
Who will win and Why – Point Park vs. Indiana Wesleyan
As a matchup of two of the top defenses in the country – Indiana Wesleyan is No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense at 48 ppg, and Point Park is 10th at 55 ppg – the game will come down to a few key areas. Below is a breakdown of how each team will win and why:
If Indiana Wesleyan wins, it will be due to:
1. Controlling the tempo -- Indiana Wesleyan is a slower-tempo team. On offense, the Wildcats will utilize the shot clock as much as possible. This is done by using ball fakes and ball movement from right to left. This works well for IWC as evidenced by its field-goal percentage of 47.4 precent from the field, ranked sixth in NAIA D-II.
2. Experience -- The Wildcats will not be afraid of the moment. Indiana Wesleyan has made at least the round of 16 every year since the 2002-03. In 2006-07, they were national champions. They are very disciplined and have the top scoring defense in the country allowing just 48.2 points a game.
3. Paige Smith -- The senior -- plain and simple -- is a force inside. Point Park might not have one defender who can guard her and that may mean extra pressure. Smith’s hook shot can give her an advantage.
4. Make Point Park get to their bench -- The Pioneers’ bench is largely unproven. With the starters you know what you’re going to get; however, with the bench, you really don’t.
If Point Park wins, it will be due to:
1. Controlling the tempo – Yes, I realize this is the same first point used above, but these teams play at different speeds. If Point Park can play their tempo then the Wildcats would be very uncomfortable. The Wildcats are very smart with the basketball; however, in the Crossroads tournament finals against St. Francis, they were unable to play their game and turned the ball over 21 times. Make Indiana Wesleyan uncomfortable.
2. Making free throws -- Obtaining free points is harder than it seems, and the Pioneers shoot 67.6 percent from the free throw line. There are many inconsistencies from the line. Yes, Point Park makes the free ones down the stretch, but the misses add up.
3. Help from bench -- The bench players need to make an impact on offense. There have been too many games this season where only one person -- or other times no one – scores off the bench. The starting five cannot do it all themselves and they will need help.
4. Say cheese -- Following the last second win against Daemen on Feb. 1, Point Park got into an offensive slump that lasted through their KIAC Tournament quarterfinal matchup versus Carlow. Getting baskets became a struggle, and the Pioneers were carried by their 10th-ranked defense. In the second half against Indiana Southeast in the KIAC semifinals, the offense came back and so did the smiles.
Of note: Indiana Wesleyan and Point Park each played Mount Vernon Nazarene this season. The Pioneers beat MVNU both times, and those were the first wins ever for the Pioneers over the Cougars. On Dec. 1, the Indiana Wesleyan beat MVNU, 57-50. Indiana Wesleyan played MVNU total of three times, and the other two matchups were won in lopsided fashion.
Point of emphasis – Free Throws
Since free throws figure to play a big role in a defensive game, here’s a look at Who to Foul and Who not to Foul for both teams:
Who to Foul:
Indiana Wesleyan --
Emma Stahl 55.8%
Karina Blackmon 60.1%
Paige Smith 64.3%
Point Park --
Maeve Gallagher 33.0%
Anna Shaw 38.9%
Brittany Dunmire 44.4%
Who Not to Foul:
Indiana Wesleyan --
Claire Ray 80.4%
Taylor Goshert 79.1%
Carlee Cotrell 78.6%
Point Park --
Emily Schartner 82.6%
Alexa Xenakis 77.3%
Katresa Savisky 73.9%
Looking ahead: A glimpse at other games in the bracket
If Point Park gets by Indiana Wesleyan, it will play the winner of No. 4 Purdue Calumet (Ind.) and No. 5 Grand View (Iowa). The Pioneers would play Friday night, March 8 at 8:45 p.m. CT if they advance. Here’s a look at some of the other games in Point Park’s quadrant of the bracket:
#4 Purdue Calumet (Ind.) (21-9) v. #5 Grand View (Iowa) (21-6) – Thursday, 8:45 p.m.
This matchup will occur right after the Point Park game and features a classic offense-versus-defense battle. Purdue Calumet is third in the nation in scoring at 83.9 points per game, fourth in total rebounds with 45.2 per game and sixth in free throw percentage at 74.9 percent. Purdue Calumet is led in scoring by Kami Graber and Alex Starr who each have 16.6 points per game. Also of note is that they played Indiana University Southeast, who like the Pioneers, is a KIAC member. Purdue Calumet won that game, 83-73, after being tied at halftime. Grand View is fourth in blocks per game with nearly five a game, fifth defensive rebounds per game with 31.8 and fifth in field-goal percentage defense at 33 percent. Morgan Hamner averages 15.2 points a game and 7.1 rebounds. The winner of this game faces the winner of Point Park-Indiana Wesleyan.
#3 Briar Cliff (Iowa) (23-9) vs. #6 Siena Heights (Mich.) (23-9) – Thursday, 5:15 p.m.
Briar Cliff is fourth in NAIA D-II in steals per game with 15, total steals with 480 and seventh in total scoring offense with 2,584 points. Three scorers are in double figures led by Kelsey Evans with 14 points a game, Mattie Murren with 12 and Sara Reeves 11.8. Summer Gordon leads Briar Cliff with 5.4 rebounds a game. Siena Heights is second in the nation in field-goal defense at 33.3 percent and fifth in three-point shooting percentage at 36.3 percent. Morgan Warfield leads her team with 11.4 points a game while Sierra Calhoun [11.3] and Amanda Duke [11.2] also join her in double figures. Duke’s 6.31 boards a game lead her team.
#2 College of the Ozarks (Mo.) (29-4) vs. #7 Milligan (Tenn.) (23-9) – Thursday, 3:30 p.m.
College of the Ozarks always has a big support system making the trip to Sioux City, Iowa, and they were rewarded when the team made the finals against eventual champion Northwestern (Iowa), losing 75-62 last year. Ozarks is first in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.261, total rebounding margin at +11.727 and field goal defense at 33.2 percent. The team is led by Morgan Smith who is third in the NAIA DII in scoring at 24 points per game. This is behind only KIAC players Ariel Nickell of Alice Lloyd and Trenia Barbee of Asbury. Smith’s 8.2 rebounds a game also lead her team. Milligan is fifth in the country in 3-point field goal defense at 25.8% and have made 219 treys of their own, good for 16th nationally. Milligan has three double-digit scorers in Kayla Kelly [13.8], Johneshia Good [13.2] and Jaimee Hill [11.6]. Dorian Freeman’s 6.7 rebounds a game lead her team.
They said it – Quotes from Point Park players:
“We’re very excited to just get out there and experience the excitement of the tournament, but we’re not settling with just the experience. This year, we’re looking to make a run.” – Katresa Savisky on the team’s mindset for the tournament
“This is just another smack in the face to add to the list. Obviously it does not bring us down, if anything it’s putting a fire under us.” – Maeve Gallagher on being drawing a No. 8 seed.
“They’re beatable and honestly I think it will be a great matchup. The biggest thing is not beating ourselves. We’ve just got to do what we do no matter who we play.” – Katresa Savisky on what needs to be done to defeat Indiana Wesleyan.