By Brian Yauger
In a game described by Youngstown State University women’s basketball coach John Barnes as “strange,” the Penguins won their fourth in a row, defeating the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies 76-61.
“Melinda [Trimmer]’s free throw shooting was obviously huge and Sarah [Cash], 9-for-11,” Barnes said. “It was a strange game because different players were taking their turns at getting hot. McKenah [Peters] was hot for a while, Chelsea [Olson] was hot for a while, Mary Dunn was hot for a while. It was strange.”
Stops and free throws were crucial for the Penguins. YSU made it to the line 36 times, and made 32 of those shots.
“The biggest thing was when we started getting some stops, we started scoring on the other end,” Barnes said. “Free throw shooting obviously was huge, we did a great job from the line and ultimately that’s what won it for us.”
During the first half, it felt like there was a lid on the basket. Penguins shot 25.5 percent from the field and scored almost half of their points from the free throw line.
Olson led the Penguins, tying her season-high of 22 points, three of which coming from the free throw line. Olson also brought down three rebounds and had four assists. Olson echoed her coach’s sentiment about getting stops.
“We knew we had to get stops, that was the main thing,” she said. “That fueled our offense. We started out slow, but getting stops is what really got us going.”
Amara Chikwe had an impressive defensive showing, making key stops and grabbing nine boards, five of which were defensive rebounds.
YSU had an energized fourth quarter, outscoring the Grizzlies by 10. That came from some players getting some first half rest.
“A lot of our kids had rest in the first half because they were in foul trouble,” Barnes said. “These players play a lot of minutes usually so they’re pretty good when it comes to the fourth quarter.
Dunn continued her strong play as of late, scoring 15 points. She had a slow start, only scoring three points in the first half, but put up 12 in the second half once the offense started to flow through her. Being double-teamed early didn’t help, but after a quick talk with her coaches she turned it around.
“I just wasn’t finishing the way I knew how to finish and Coach Courtney [Davidson] came up to me and she just motivated me,” Dunn said.
Four Penguins finished in double-figures including Olson’s 22 points and Dunn’s 15 points. Trimmer scored 15 points and Cash scored 11 points.
The win gives the Penguins their fourth win of their five-game homestand. The Penguins go for the sweep of their homestand Saturday afternoon against the University of Detroit Mercy.
“I thought it was a team effort. We did a great job on the boards, still have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball, I thought that was a bit disappointing, but I’m glad we got the win.”