Penguins Come Up Short in 72-65 Setback to Buffalo

Heidi Schlegel | Photo by Ron Stevens
Heidi Schlegel | Photo by Ron Stevens

The Youngstown State women's basketball team led for the entire first half, then had a spirited rally after falling behind early in the second, but they could not catch Buffalo dropping a 72-65 decision to the Bulls on Wednesday night at the Beeghly Center.

The Penguins led by as many as 10 points in the first half and trailed by 12 with 4:41 left in the game. Despite falling down by 12, the Guins rallied to within four twice, but that was as close as they could come.

With the loss YSU falls to 0-2 on the season and Buffalo improves to 2-0. 

Heidi Schlegel led the way for the Penguins with 23 points and nine rebounds. Joining her in double figures were Karen Flagg with 12 and Ashley Lawson with 10.

After Liz Hornberger made a 3-pointer on YSU's first possession of the second half to put the Penguins up 35-29, Buffalo scored 13 straight points to go up 42-35. Mackenzie Loesing started the run with an old-fashioned three-point play, and Kristen Sharkey scored seven straight points to give the Bulls their first lead since the opening minute of the first half. Sloane Walton's 3-pointer capped the run with 16:08 left.

Schlegel made two free throws to stop the run, and she and Lawson hit two more from the line to keep the Penguins in it. Jenna Hirsch's steal and lay-up at the 11:56 mark stopped a field-goal drought of nearly eight minutes. YSU trailed just 46-43 at that point, but Buffalo went on a 10-5 run to extend its lead to 56-48 with 8:18 left.

With 4:41 left the Bulls grabbed their biggest lead of the contest on a Camera Miley pull-up jumper in the lane at 66-54. However the Penguins scored the next eight points in span of just under two minutes to tighten things up.

Schlegel and Flagg each knocked down a pair of free throws, and, with 3:27 left, Lawson's back-door layup on an assist from Latisha Walker cut the deficit to 66-60. After Walter missed a 3-pointer from the corner, Schlegel scored to make the contest 66-62.

Miley stopped the run with a basket at the 2:26 mark, but two Hirsch free throws once again made it a four-point game. An Alexus Malone free throw made it 69-64, but YSU could not connect on its final six field-goal attempts and scored one point the final 1:29.

Loesing scored 22 points to led the Bulls, who shot 37.7 percent. YSU made 35.8 percent from the field and was 3-of-21 from behind the 3-point arc. The Guins dominated the boards by a 47-35 margin.

Youngstown State had a hot shooting hand early to build a 10-point lead twice in the second half, but the Penguins cooled down over the final five minutes and held a 32-29 advantage at halftime.

After Buffalo hit a 3-pointer in the first 10 seconds, the Penguins scored six straight points and led for the remainder of the period. Lawson, making her first career start, hit a jumper at the 11:24 mark to put the Penguins up 21-11, and YSU still led by 10 at 30-20 with 5:43 remaining. Youngstown State was 12-for-17 from the field at that point, but they missed their final seven shots and committed three turnovers in the final stretch.

Buffalo went on a 9-1 run to get within 31-29 with 49 seconds left, and Schlegel hit a free-throw with eight seconds on the clock for the final points of the period.

The Penguins outshot the Bulls 50 percent to 28.1 percent in the first half, but Buffalo made three more 3-pointers and forced three more turnovers. Both teams struggled at the line with 7-for-13 efforts.

Schlegel led YSU with 10 points, and Walker had six points and eight rebounds at the break. Loesing had 11 for Buffalo.

YSU will look to bounce back a week from tonight when it plays host to Northern Kentucky. Tipoff for the contest is set for 5:15 p.m.