By Dan Hiner
In its last game against the University of Detroit Mercy, the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team jumped out to a double digit lead. The Penguins blew the lead against the titans, but learned from their setback.
YSU beat the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers on Saturday 87-64 at the Beeghly Center. The Penguins controlled the game from the opening tipoff. Toward the end of the game the Penguins let their foot off the gas—allowing the backups to play and tried to run the clock.
Just like last week, the Penguins jumped out to an impressive 51-29 lead by halftime. The last time the Penguins scored 50 points or more in one half was back on Dec. 6, 2014 against Oberlin.
“Coach [John Barnes] just put it in our heads not to let up, because that is what we did last game,” point guard Indiya Benjamin said. “We all thought we should come out with the same sense of urgency we did in the first half. We just tried to stay together and play our game and not let up like we did last game.”
Barnes thought the lack of scoring in the team’s second half of its previous game hindered the Penguins’ defense against UDM. He believes that the offensive success gave the Penguins confidence on defense.
“We made shots. Against Detroit we just didn’t make shots,” Barnes said. “We were 1-12 from three, and it’s really hard to continue to defend, defend, defend when you aren’t making shots. So shots went in and kept our confidence up and kept playing really solid defense.”
Benjamin stared in the first half. The freshman guard scored 16 points in the first half and shot 5-6 from the field, including a 4-4 from behind the three-point line. Benjamin finished the game with 18 points.
Senior forward Heidi Schlegel finished one rebound shy of her ninth double-double of the season. Schlegel finished with 24 points and nine rebounds, both game-highs. Schlegel shot 7-12 from the floor and was a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. Senior Latisha Walker shot 2-3 from the floor and finished with six points, five rebounds and one block.
“Heidi and Tish, they are our mainstay down low and we try to get the ball down there,” Barnes said. “So when the shots are going in from the outside, it definitely opens things up for them. We try to get it into them as much as we could. I thought they did a good job of catching and finishing when most teams are very focused, including Milwaukee had a lot of people in there trying to create havoc. So I thought both Heidi and Tish did a nice job.”
Forward Kelsea Newman finished with 15 points and shot 3-8 from behind the three-point line in her second start of the season. Jenna Hirsch, who was replaced by Newman in the starting lineup, contributed with 12 points and four rebounds off the bench. Newman and Hirsch combined to shoot 5-11 from behind the three-point line.
The Penguins needed to get a win against UWM. YSU has lost its last two games against Oakland University and UDM. YSU has a brief four-day hiatus before traveling to Wright State University, currently second in the Horizon League standings.
“We really wanted to get back into the win column and try to go on a streak here, and trying to make a little run. We feel like we let a couple get away and tried to get those back,” Barnes said.