SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) The No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan, who spent seven-straight weeks this season atop the national coaches’ poll, began its national tournament quest to get back to No. 1 with a 61-31 first-round victory over Point Park (Pa.) on Thursday night.
The Wildcats improved to 10-1 in first round national tournament games with a defensive effort that suffocated the Pioneers.
Point Park did not record a second-half point until Emily Schartner’s free throw at the 10:29 mark of the period to make the score 46-20. Indiana Wesleyan held the Pioneers without a second-half field goal until the 7:35 mark – way too late to try for Point Park to erase a 30-plus point deficit.
The Wildcats’ trio of Paige Smith (17), Tayler Goshert (14) and Claire Ray (14) combined for 45 points to provide more than enough offense on a night when their defense was the story. The typically stingy Indiana Wesleyan squad held Point Park to 17.0 percent shooting and a grand total of 12 second-half points.
Sophomore guard Emma Stahl led the Wildcats in rebounds (nine) and assists (six). Stahl was one of 14 Indiana Wesleyan players to see action and one of eight to get on the scoreboard.
Point Park, which made its second-straight national tournament appearance and second in school history, was led in the scoring column by Teresa Davis’ eight points. The Pioneers, champions of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, complete their season with a record of 25-7.
Indiana Wesleyan will meet the winner between No. 13 Purdue Calumet (Ind.) and No. 20 Grand View (Iowa) at 8:45 p.m. on Friday in the second round at the Tyson Events Center.