Big First-Half Run Lifts Penguins to 70-65 Win at Detroit

Heidi Schlegel (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Heidi Schlegel (Photo by Ron Stevens)

The Youngstown State women's basketball team went on a 21-2 run early in the first half and held off Detroit down the stretch in a 70-65 win at Calihan Hall on Saturday afternoon.

The Penguins led by as many as 17 in the first half, and they went 12-for-14 from the free-throw line in the second half to keep the Titans from catching them. YSU snapped a 10-game losing streak in the state of Michigan and avenged a 59-58 loss to Detroit in Youngstown when it squandered a 16-point halftime lead.

Heidi Schlegel posted 19 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, and she became Youngstown State's career leader in free throws made. The fifth-year senior from Wapakoneta, Ohio, went 11-of-13 from the free-throw line today, upping her career total to 453. Brandi Brown had the previous record with 443. Indiya Benjamin scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half, and Latisha Walker had 12 points in 12 minutes.

Ellisha Crosby scored a game-high 25 points to lead Detroit.

Youngstown State improves to 17-7 overall and is now in fourth place by two games in the Horizon League standings with a 6-5 conference mark. Detroit dropped to 9-14 overall and 4-6 in league play.

Detroit scored the first four points of the game, but YSU scored the next nine points to start its 21-2 run that made the score 21-6. Krista Pietropola and Kelsea Newman finished the spurt with back-to-back 3-pointers, and YSU's lead ballooned to 25-8 at the 7:41 mark when Schlegel made her record-breaking free throw.

The Titans shaved the lead down to 33-23 at halftime, and they scored 10 straight points to get within 49-45 with 8:28 remaining. Benjamin stopped the run and a scoring drought of almost six minutes with a 3-pointer at the 7:44 mark, and Nikki Arbanas made two free throws with 3:59 left to put the Penguins ahead 60-49.

Five straight points by Darianne Seward and back-to-back Crosby 3-pointers allowed Detroit to get within four, and Detroit got within three after a Rosanna Reynolds triple with 11 seconds remaining. Schlegel hit four free throws to push the lead to 70-63, and Seward made a bucket as time expired for the final tally.

Detroit shot 51.5 percent in the second half and 42.9 percent for the game, and Youngstown State shot 40 percent. The Penguins made three fewer field goals, but they outscored the Titans by 11 at the free-throw line.

Youngstown State will play two road games next week, starting with a contest on Thursday at Milwaukee. The game will begin at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN and ESPN3.