By Jeff Brown
The Youngstown State University Women’s Basketball team dominated Oakland University Wednesday night in a 76-54 beat down. The win moves YSU to 16-7 on the season and 5-5 in Horizon League play. Oakland drops to 10-13 and 4-6 in league play.
The win is payback for an 85-82 loss the Penguins suffered at the hands of the Golden Grizzlies earlier this season on Jan. 24.
“They really capitalized on some things that we tried to not let them do this time,” head coach John Barnes said. “It’s a whole different story when you’re on your home floor. I think that made a big difference too, but there were several little things we were able to do that just took them out of the rhythm that they got into.”
Oakland jumped out to 19-14 lead thanks in large part to eight turnovers by the Penguins in the first eight minutes of play. However, Nikki Arbanas would score eight points in the final six minutes, including two three-pointers, to spark a 14-3 run, giving the Penguins a 28-22 lead going into the half. Arbanas scored 11 points in the game and set a freshman record for three-pointers in a game with three.
“Yeah we knew what we had to do — we had to pick it up on the defensive end and on the offensive end,” Arbanas said. “I think really it started on the defensive end when we started to make steals and make good defensive plays that turned into offense.”
The Penguins interior presence would take over the game as YSU outscored Oakland 44-18 in the paint and won the rebounding battle 37-20.
“I thought we did a really nice job of keeping them off the offensive glass,” Barnes said. “I wish I had the stats from the last game, but it was probably the exact opposite. They scored a ton of points in the paint last game, and we didn’t and we really wanted to keep them out of there.”
The Penguins had a tremendous day shooting from the floor shooting 55.4 percent on the day and were on fire in the second half, shooting 76 percent.
“We shot 76 percent on offense — it just makes it a lot easier to defend,” Barnes said. “We did some good things offensively, getting the ball inside and taking it to the basket.”
Senior forward Heidi Schlegel scored a game high 20 points and eclipsed the 15-point mark for the eighth straight game.
“Heidi — she’s our hardest worker, she’s our best leader, she’s a great student, great teammate and I kind of said it to the staff before the game — we’re putting it on her shoulders,” Barnes said. “Whatever happens, we’re going to her and we’ll live with it.”
The Penguins begin a three-game road trip, starting against the University of Detroit, who the women lost to 59-58 earlier this season at home.