Scratching, battling, clawing and fighting earned a moral victory for the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team on Tuesday night at Beeghly Center.
As far as the actual game against the University of Buffalo, turnovers and fouls hurt the Penguins, who fell 72-65.
“We had three players in foul trouble at the end of the first, so that’s when it went from [a 10-point lead] to three, two or whatever it was at half,” head coach John Barnes said. “With that said, to keep it that close was good, but I’m not into moral victories.”
The Penguins (0-2) held a 30-20 lead with 5:43 remaining in the first half when the fouls piled up. Sophomore Ashley Lawson had three fouls by half’s end. Junior Heidi Schlegel, senior Karen Flagg and junior Latisha Walker each committed two fouls.
By game’s end, Walker fouled out. Senior Liz Hornberger, Flagg, Lawson and freshman Kelsea Newman each had four.
The Penguins finished with 25 total fouls, which is the most in a game since a double-overtime loss to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Feb. 9, 2008.
The second aspect of the loss was turnovers. The Penguins committed 23 (12 in the second half), and the Bulls (2-0) collected 25 points off the turnovers.
Before turnovers became a problem, Hornberger nailed a 3-point field goal to begin the second half, giving YSU a 35-29. Three minutes and 34 seconds later, the Bulls had a 42-35 advantage.
“We didn’t put a full 40 minutes in,” Schlegel said. “We came out in the second half flat. We didn’t come out playing our hardest like we did in the first half. That’s what beat us.”
A positive note for YSU was Schlegel. She finished with 23 points and nine rebounds. It’s the second time this year Schlegel has scored 20 or more points. She had one in her career before this season began.
“I didn’t mean for it to happen. It just happened, I guess,” Schlegel said, regarding her 23-point effort.
Schlegel credits her work mentality to age, maturity and former forward Brandi Brown.
“Heidi is a workhorse; she’s going to give you everything she has,” Barnes said. “Down the stretch, she’s putting her team on her back and trying to get things done.”
Behind Schlegel was Flagg with 12 points although she committed 12 turnovers. Sophomore Mackenzie Loesing led the Bulls with 22 points and five rebounds.
The Penguins get a week off from competitive play. Their next game is on Wednesday against Northern Kentucky University at Beeghly Center.
“I talk about going into the post a lot more this season as to last season,” Barnes said. “Now we need our perimeters to step up and make some more shots. It hurts with Monica [Touvelle] being out. We can’t go 3 for 21 [in 3-point shooting] and expect to win, even if we do take care of the ball.
“I want to win games, and I want to get better. It’s going to be a process. We’re going to have to fight and scratch and battle every second this whole season to try to get wins.”