American used an 11-point edge in the second period and shot 54.7 percent to defeat the Youngstown State women's basketball team 77-64 on Friday night at Beeghly Center. It was the season opener for both programs.
While American shot 54.7 percent, YSU's offense couldn't keep up in game one of the campaign. The Penguins shot 28.1 percent, including going 3-for-24 from 3-point range for the game. YSU was 1-for-13 from the field in the second period as American built a 39-26 halftime lead.
Sarah Cash, who came off the bench because of a knee injury that severely limited her practice time entering the game, scored 16 points in 13 minutes to tie for game-high honors. Kelley Wright added 13 points off the bench, and 47 of YSU's points came from non-starters.
Emily Kinneston scored 12 of her 16 points in the first half, and Lauren Crisler had 13 points and 10 rebounds for American.
Indiya Benjamin scored on YSU's first possession of the game to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead, and YSU led three other times in the first four minutes. American's first advantage came at 9-7 when Crisler scored off a steal, and the Eagles did not trail from that point forward.
Wright hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first period to get the Penguins with 20-18, and Cash split a pair of free throws at the 8:48 mark of the second period to cut the deficit to one. American's first double-digit lead came at 32-22 when Katie Marenyi hit a 3-pointer at the 4:27 mark.
A Dunn bucket on YSU's next possession got the deficit back within double digits for the last time. American scored the final four points of the period to go up 39-26 at halftime, and it opened the third period on a 13-4 run to extend the lead to a game-high 22 points at the 4:53 mark.
YSU worked the deficit down to 15 by the end of the period, and the Penguins got within 13 twice early in the fourth. Youngstown State scored the final six points of the game to make the final margin 13 as well.
Although YSU struggled from the field, it made 25-of-28 from the free-throw line for 89.3 percent. Wright was 10-for-10 on her own, and Cash was 8-for-9.
Youngstown State will play at Pittsburgh on Monday at 11 a.m.