Penguins Can’t Keep Pace in 91-75 Loss at Akron

Heidi Schlegel | Photo by Dustin Livesay
Heidi Schlegel | Photo by Dustin Livesay

Akron, Ohio – The Youngstown State women's basketball team trimmed a 15-point deficit down to four in the second half but couldn't keep up with Akron down the stretch in a 91-75 loss on Sunday afternoon at James A. Rhodes Arena.

Akron scored 13 straight points late in the first half and led by 15 at halftime. Behind Heidi Schlegel and Kelsea Newman, Youngstown State got back to within four with 10 minutes remaining. The Zips scored 36 points over the final 10 minutes, and a 7-0 run that started with seven minutes remaining allowed them to pull away from the Penguins.

Schlegel matched her career high with 27 points, and 19 of those came in the second half. Newman added a career-high 16 points off the bench, and Jenna Hirsch scored all 14 of her points in the second half after foul trouble limited her to eight minutes in the first half.

Hanna Luburgh scored 21 of her 25 points in the second half, including 19 in the final 10 minutes, for Akron. Kacie Cassell scored a career-high 20 points for the Zips, who shot 55.6 percent.

Schlegel made her first three field-goal attempts of the game, and YSU led 7-5 after four minutes. Akron forced the Penguins' leading scorer into some tougher looks, and she did not make a field goal the rest of the half. Karen Flagg's free throw put the Penguins up 8-5, and they led by three again after a Touvelle 3-pointer at the 14:58 mark made the score 11-8.

The lead changed hands four times over the next 4:21, and Latisha Walker's bucket put YSU up 16-15 at the 10:37 mark. Cassell's third 3-pointer of the half on Akron's next possession put the Zips up 18-16, and they did not trail again.

Touvelle hit a deep 3-pointer from the left wing to stop a scoring drought of nearly four minutes for YSU, and Newman followed with a triple to tie the score at 22 with 6:08 left. Akron scored the next five points to go up 27-22, and Flagg's three-point play made the score 27-25 at the 4:22 mark. That was YSU's last field goal of the half, and Akron went on its 13-0 run to go up 40-25.

Schlegel scored the first six points of the second half to get YSU within nine and force an Akron timeout. A Newman 3-pointer at the 13:42 mark cut the deficit to 51-45, and she hit another triple two minutes later to get the Penguins to within 55-51.

Akron scored nine of the next 11 points to go up 64-53, but two Schlegel free throws capped a 7-2 Penguins run that made the score 66-60 with 7:19 left. Akron scored the next seven points to go up by 13, and YSU got no closer than 10 the rest of the way.

Schlegel was 7-for-15 from the field and 13-of-14 from the free-throw line for her 27 points. Liz Hornberger had seven assists but was 0-for-7 from the field, and Flagg had a game-high nine rebounds. The Penguins held a 40-27 edge on the glass.

Youngstown State will play host to IUPUI on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. in the final non-conference game of the season.