Penguins Solid All-Around In Big Win Over Oakland

Heidi Schlegel scored 20 points against Oakland.
Heidi Schlegel scored 20 points against Oakland.

Youngstown -- The Youngstown State women's basketball team scored 14 straight points near the end of the first half and shot 76 percent in the second half to beat Oakland 76-54 on Wednesday evening at Beeghly Center.

The Penguins outscored the Golden Grizzlies 48-32 in the second half to snap a two-game skid and improve to 16-7 overall and 5-5 in Horizon League play. Oakland drops to 10-13 overall and 4-6 in the conference.

Heidi Schlegel led all players with 20 points, and Nikki Arbanas set YSU's freshman record for 3-pointers made in a season with 42. Arbanas finished with 11 points, Kelsea Newman posted 13, and Latisha Walker had 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

YSU was just as strong on the defensive end, holding the high-powered Oakland offense to 54 points, its lowest output in conference play. Nola Anderson had 13 points, and Sinclair Russell added 11. The Penguins limited Oakland's top scorers, Olivia Nash and Elena Popkey, to just 10 points. They were averaging 27.2 points combined coming into the game.

The Penguins' offense took awhile to get into high gear as YSU started just 2-for-11 from the field and trailed 19-14 after 13 minutes. A pair of Arbanas 3-pointers got things rolling, and the Penguins went on to make 10 of their last 20 in the first half and 19-of-25 in the second half.

Arbanas had eight points during YSU's 14-0 run over a six-and-a-half minute stretch that put the Penguins up 28-19. Oakland's Korrin Taylor hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left before the intermission to cut the Penguins edge to six, 28-22, at halftime.

Oakland got within three points four times in the first 3:05 of the second half, and both teams were shooting 70 percent eight minutes into the period.

A Jenna Hirsch triple capped a 7-0 run that put the Penguins up 42-32, and a three-point play by Morgan Olson at the 12:16 mark put YSU up by double digits for good. It sparked an 8-0 run that gave the Penguins a 53-37 lead, and a Schlegel bucket with 4:28 left pushed the lead past 20 for the first time at 68-47.

YSU finished the game making 55.4 percent overall from the field and going 8-for-17 from 3-point range. The Penguins had a sizeable 37-20 edge in rebounding and limited the Golden Grizzlies to one offensive rebound. The Penguins outscored Oakland 44-18 in the paint.

The Penguins visit Detroit on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Calihan Hall.