So I was wrong on both of my predictions from Tuesday. Which means the Pioneers were swept by the Wildcats. You know that happens so what. Can’t win them all. But the good thing with basketball is that in most cases you have a short time in-between games which means a quick turnaround to rebound off bad losses. The women played by far their worst game of the season and possibly the worst game since I have been here at Point Park. Everyone struggled, Ashley Henderson 6-19 from the field, April Austin 3-12 from the field, and Joncelyn Peterkin 4-10… “The Big 3” going a combined 13-41 is not going to do it on almost any night.
As for the bench… 4 points… All by Brittany Dunmire late in the game… Also not going to do it. Someone on the bench for this team needs to step up to the plate and play well, they also need to be given the opportunity. Sarah Sandin 19 minutes, 0-2 from the field.. Anna-Marie Boshkova 12 minutes, 0-4 from the field. Those are your first two players of the bench, they both need to be more productive and they can be I have to stress that and they have to be given the opportunity, i must stress that as well.
The road does not get much easier for the ladies either, tomorrow they go up against the #9 ranked team in the nation the Cedarville Yellow Jackets. They are coming into the game on an 11 game win streak and are led by their star Aubrey Siemon who is averaging a double-double per game 15 points, 12 rebounds per contest. They also have three others in double-figures Rachel Hurley (13.8), Kayla Jenerette (13.1), and Lydia Miller (10). Cedarville is a very good basketball team. If you recall from last year when Cedarville was a top 5 club these two played a very tight game in West Mifflin. Both teams didn’t play well, but it was close and Cedarville won, in fact I can’t even remember then last time PPU beat the Yellow Jackets, I am working on that, so tune in tomorrow to find out. Now to the Keys
PPU: 1. Bench Play: The Pioneers bench needs to step up and get some production in no matter who it is. Losing Heather Swedish and Anna Shaw are seeming to big bigger than anyone would have thought. Whether its Sandin or Dunmire, someone on the bench has to show up.
2. You gotta rebound!: When the Pioneers get beat in the rebound column more times than not they get beat in the scoring column too. This just doesn’t fall on the big ones, the guards need to get inside with the trees and do some work too.
3. Emotion: I would love, love, LOVE, to see someone get emotional on this team and get the team fired up. I know not everyone is that type of player. But when someone hits a shot I would love for the bench to stand and clap, or a big defensive stand, block, rebound, free throw whatever. show it, want it more than the other team and that could be an x-factor.
CU: 1: Get off strong: Last year you didn’t, and it effected you all game long and the team struggled and you almost lost. You need to get out to a fast start or you might get bit in the butt.
2. Stop Peterkin: It seems like when Peterkin rolls, the Pioneers do the same, if you stop the inside threat in hurts the Pioneers open looks on the outside.
3. Get out in transition: If you can be conditioned to run a lot it might benefit in the later half of the game. Pioneers are thin on the bench so if you get that first five tired, you might be able to cruise late.
Prediction: The Pioneers beat #25 Notre Dame and ND by a couple this year. That is the only time I can recall the Pioneers getting a win over a ranked opponent since I have been here. Until they prove to me that they can do it, I can’t go with them. CU 73-PPU 67 in a close one.
On the other side of things, the men came off a tough loss at Daemen 92-80, the Pioneers trailed most of the game however they did claw their way back into the game at times and had opportunities. The officiating did not help Point Park much, but that is expected, your on the road, and you should fight through that. Point Park didn’t on Tuesday. Another double-double for the machine that is Kris Douse 16 and 13 plus double-figures by TJ Heatherington (20) Joel Cashatt (13) and Josh Trocchio (11). 13 turnovers for the Pioneers to only 8 assist, that figure needs to be better. Looking at the boxscore you would thing that the Pioneers were not outplayed that much in the game, but PPU was just not able to convert as well as Daemen did in the game as the Wildcats shot 47% from the field where the Pioneers only shot 40%.
Cedarville comes to town tomorrow afternoon but this isn’t your fathers Yellow Jackets ballclub. Only averaging 78 PPG and only 4 players in double-figures led by Matt Harner (18.2), Brian Hecker (13.8), Derrick Hannon (11.7) Austin Foote (10.3), who is you recall killed Point Park last season with 24 points and as a team CU knocked down 16 three’s. The Pioneers have not been able to get a win over Cedarville since 2007 when the Pioneers defeated CU in the AMC Championship game. This one should be a good one though, now to my keys.
PPU: 1. Get open looks from 3: The Pioneers shoot the ball very well from deep but they need to create the opportunities whether it is penetrating and kicking, establishing the inside, or in transition. But they need to get good looks.
2. Defend the 3: Can’t let CU get started from the outside again this time around. If you defend their deep ball and get them out of rhythm then you can make them one-dimensional, do that and you have a good shot.
3. Limit the TO: You have to take care of the basketball, can not be throwing it to the cheerleaders, and myself because we do not play, nor do we want the ball. Limit those and get that assist to turnover ratio good.
CU: 1. Win the battle on the glass: PPU has the top rebounder in NAIA DII, box him out and limit his touches because the Pioneers want to run. If you limit the chances they have to run, they get out of rhythm which will help you out in the long run. Do it by cleaning the glass.
2. Pressure: You have to slow down PPU somehow. Why not some full-court pressure? The Pioneers would rather run than set-up the offense, because they are good at that. You have to slow them down.
3. Shoot the trey: Get it going from downtown and you will be in control all game long period. Pioneers have a history of giving up a few points from downtown, take advantage of it.
Prediction: Cedarville has dominated the series over the past few years, but they are not as good as they have been. Plus they are on the road. Ill take the good guys in this one. Although a lot of points will be up there. First to 100 wins for me. PPU 102-CU 96
Well that is all folks, hope that you enjoy the games. Remember LIVE on the MSA Sports Network. Women tip at 1, Men at 3, pre-games start 15 minutes before each. You will be in for two very good games.