Oakland Starts, Finishes Strong in 87-67 Win Over YSU

Heidi Schlegel | Photo by Ron Stevens
Heidi Schlegel | Photo by Ron Stevens

Rochester, Mich. - The Youngstown State women's basketball team trimmed a 16-point deficit down to four in the second half, but Oakland finished just as hot as it started and beat the Penguins 87-67 on Saturday at the Athletics Center O'Rena.

Oakland led 31-15 after 11 minutes, but YSU chipped away and cut the margin down to four with 11:21 remaining in the second half. The deficit was still just six at 64-58 with 7:11 left, but the Golden Grizzlies went on a 19-4 run over the next four-and-a-half minutes to stave off the comeback attempt.

Heidi Schlegel matched her career high with 28 points while adding a game-high 13 rebounds, but no other Penguin had more than 10 points. Schlegel was 10-for-20 from the field and 7-for-7 from the free throw line. She's now made 140 free throws for the year, which ties the school record for most free throws in a season.

Oakland had five players reach double figures, and three finished with at least 18. Victoria Lipscomb had 20 points and was 6-for-9 from 3-point range after going 2-for-30 from beyond the arc in Oakland's first nine league games. Elena Popkey had 18 points and 12 rebounds, including five timely offensive caroms.

Youngstown State lost for the third straight game and dropped to 10-12 overall and 6-3 in the Horizon League. Oakland improved to 10-13 overall and 5-5 in conference play.

After Oakland's blistering start put it ahead by 16, the Penguins limited the Golden Grizzlies to eight points the remainder of the half, and Schlegel's efforts helped them trim the deficit down to 39-32 at halftime.

The Penguins led 6-2 after Jenna Hirsch and Liz Hornberger made 3-pointers in the first 2:10, and it led 8-7 after a Karen Flagg bucket two minutes later. Oakland then scored 12 straight points as part of a 24-7 run that spanned six-and-a-half minutes to take its 16-point lead.

Schlegel scored 11 of her 15 first-half points in the final nine minutes as YSU started to chip away. The deficit was down to eight after a Monica Touvelle triple at the 4:52 mark, and Schlegel's bucket with 1:27 remaining made the score 38-32.

Oakland's lead fluctuated between eight and 12 in the first five minutes of the second half, and YSU went on a 12-4 run to get within 54-50 on Hornberger's trey at the 11:21 mark. The Penguins missed two shots on their next possession, and Oakland made its next three attempts to go on an 8-0 run.

The Penguins scored the next four points to keep the game from getting away, and the deficit was still just six at 64-58 with 7:11 remaining following Schlegel's three-point play. Oakland hit a three off an offensive rebound on its next trip down the floor, and the Golden Grizzlies turned that into another 8-0 run. Oakland went on to outscore the Penguins 23-9 over the final seven minutes.

Oakland made six straight shots when it went on its early burst and started 7-of-9 from the field. YSU made just two of its first nine attempts, and never totally got clicking offensively. The Penguins shot 35.3 percent for the game while the Golden Grizzlies shot 46.4 percent.

The Penguins will return home to face Valparaiso on Saturday at 4:35 p.m.