Penguins Lead for 32 Minutes in 64-55 Win at Pitt

Alison Smolinski (Photo by David Dermer)
Alison Smolinski (Photo by David Dermer)

Alison Smolinski scored 14 points in the fourth period, and the Youngstown State women's basketball team led for almost 32 minutes in a 64-55 win at Pittsburgh on Tuesday evening at the Petersen Events Center.

The Penguins outscored the Panthers in each quarter en route to earning the program's first win over a Power Five conference team since also beating Pitt when it was in the Big East in 2012. YSU is 3-0 on the season while Pitt drops to 1-2.

Smolinski tied for game-high honors with 20 points, and 18 of those came on six 3-pointers. Chelsea Olson finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals, and McKenah Peters and Mary Dunn both had nine points. Melinda Trimmer added seven points and three assists in 31 minutes.

Aysia Bugg had 20 points to lead Pitt.

The Penguins controlled the pace of the game and played lockdown defense in the half court. Pitt shot just 35 percent, and 20 of their 55 points were scored on the fast break or from offensive rebounds. Youngstown State outrebounded Pitt 41-32.

The Penguins led 7-3 less than three minutes into the first period, and the defense held Pitt scoreless for more than three minutes as YSU built an 18-12 lead with 1:14 left. Pitt scored the final four points of the first period, hit 3s on its first two possessions of the second period and extended its lead to 24-18 at the 8:19 mark.

YSU called timeout to help weather the storm, and it scored the next eight points as part of a 15-4 run over the final eight minutes of the half. Dunn scored on the low block on an assist from Trimmer right after the timeout, and her second career 3-pointer put the Penguins ahead 26-24 at the 7:05 mark. Pitt scored the next four points to reclaim a 28-26 lead, but YSU scored the final seven points of the half to take a 33-28 lead at halftime.

YSU led by at least three the entire third period, and the lead grew to nine for the first time in the game on a Peters basket at the 1:15 mark. Smolinski hit her first of four 3s in the fourth period at the 8:03 mark to push the lead to 49-40, and Pitt got no closer than 51-46.

Smolinski immediately answered with a triple to get the lead back to eight, and her third 3-pointer of the period came right after Pitt got back within five. The senior's fourth triple occurred with 2:50 left and gave YSU a 60-51 lead. Trimmer hit a big bucket with 1:04 left to push the margin to 62-53, and Smolinski hit two free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.

Youngstown State will return home to face Carlow on Friday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 1390 WNIO and ESPN+.