The Youngstown State women's basketball team used a strong team effort, and a career-high 20 points from freshman Jenna Hirsch, to defeat Green Bay for the first time in 14 tries at the Beeghly Center, 66-57, on Thursday night.
YSU took a 21-18 lead with 6:47 remaining in the first half and never trailed again to improve to 7-9 on the campaign and start Horizon League play with three consecutive wins. Green Bay drops to 8-7 and 1-2 having dropped consecutive conference tilts.
It marks the first time in school history that the Penguins open an HL campaign with three consecutive wins. It also snaps a 17-game losing streak to the Phoenix dating back to 2005.
The Penguins made hay from the free-throw line in the game making 24-of-33 attempts while the Phoenix converted 8-of-12 from the charity stripe. The Guins had 41 points second-half points, 21 of which came from the free-throw line.
YSU built a 25-18 lead at halftime taking advantage of some impressive defense. The Guins ended up scoring the final 10 points of the half as Green Bay went without a point for the final 11:01.
To open the second half, YSU jumped out to a 37-27 lead when Monica Touvelle drained 3-pointers on two straight possessions.
Green Bay chipped the lead down to 39-36 with 8:19 left but the Guins reeled off eight straight points to push the advantage up to 47-36 with 6:56 remaining.
The Phoenix trimmed the deficit back to 52-47 following an Ellen Edison 3-pointer with 4:16 remaining but YSU went on an 11-0 run in a span of 2:14 to put the game out of reach at 63-47.
Hirsch was 10-of-12 from the free-throw line and 4-of-11 from the field for her 20 points. Touvelle ended up with 15 points off the bench on 4-of-4 shooting and was 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. Liz Hornberger had 11.
The first half featured all five ties and all six lead changes. The last tie was at 18 with 7:42 left in the period. The Phoenix charged out of the game to take an 11-6 lead just over six minutes into the contest, but YSU withered the storm and scored five straight tying the game at 11.
Green Bay started the contest making four of its first 12 shots, but made one of its final 10 shots to end the half. The Phoenix attempted 22 field goals, 17 of which came from behind the 3-point arc. For the half, it shot 22.7 percent.
Both teams had difficultly holding onto the ball as they combined for 28 turnovers, 15 of which came by Green Bay.
In the stanza, YSU made 9-of-21 from the field (42.9 percent) and was 4-for-10 from behind the 3-point line. For the game, YSU was 17-of-38 (44.7 percent) and Green Bay was 20-of-64 (31.3 percent). Megan Lukan had a double-double for Green Bay with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
YSU returns to action on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. when they play host to Milwaukee. The game is the first of a men's-women's doubleheader at the Beeghly Center.