The Youngstown State University women’s basketball team erased a slow second-half start and had Wednesday’s game in its hands.
Then, the Penguins ended the contest against Miami University just like they started. YSU led by six points with 2:09 remaining in the game after senior Karen Flagg’s free throw.
YSU would not score again, and the RedHawks won 70-67, ending on a 9-0 scoring run.
“I thought we panicked a little bit,” coach John Barnes said. “We weren’t real sure with the ball. They looked more calm out there.”
YSU (1-5) committed 15 turnovers versus Miami’s (2-5) 16. However, the Penguins tallied three in the final two minutes.
“Down the stretch, we’ve got to be tougher,” senior Liz Hornberger said. “You have the lead for a reason. You have to keep playing that way. You can’t all of a sudden lose your composure.”
Another factor was free throws — the Penguins made 47.6 percent of them (10 of 21). The RedHawks shot 66.7 percent from the charity stripe. Both teams attempted 21 free throws. Miami made four more in the three-point victory.
“They made a free throw down the stretch,” Barnes said. “You make free throws, and you win.”
The Penguins held a five-point lead (35-30) at halftime. Freshman Kelsea Newman led with 12 points at the time. She finished with 13 after averaging 1.2 points per game before Wednesday night.
The RedHawks took the lead at the 16:31 mark in the second half, 42-36. Miami sprang to a 12-1 scoring run to open the half.
YSU regained the lead with a 6-0 scoring run midway in the second half. The Penguins led by as many as eight points and kept the lead until 14 seconds remained on the clock.
“This is the first close game we’ve had all season,” Hornberger said. “We haven’t had a close game yet, and it showed. We lost our composure.”
Hornberger finished with a game-high 16 points (11 in the second half). Junior Heidi Schlegel scored 12 points and collected a team-high of six rebounds. For Miami, senior Hannah Robertson finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, both team highs.
“It’s just hard. We worked so hard to get a nice lead,” Barnes said. “We had some great sets to get some wide-open shots to put the game away.”
Next for YSU is another home game against the University of Cincinnati on Sunday beginning at 2:05 p.m.
“I know the final score doesn’t say it, but we’re a lot better team than them,” Hornberger said. “We beat ourselves yet again.”