Defense Carries Penguins to 62-49 Win Over Valpo in League Opener

Defense Carries Penguins to 62-49 Win Over Valpo in League Opener

Valparaiso, Ind. – The Youngstown State women's basketball team had its best defensive performance of the season and had three players score in double figures in a 62-49 victory over Valparaiso on Thursday in the Horizon League opener for both schools.

The Penguins held Valparaiso scoreless for nearly nine minutes for a stretch from the first half into the second half and turned a tie score into a 15-point lead. Youngstown State led by double digits for the final 18:51 of the game.

Heidi Schlegel scored 19 points to go along with a career-high 19 rebounds, 11 of which were on the offensive end, to lead the Penguins. Karen Flagg had 17 points and seven rebounds, and Liz Hornberger had 11 for YSU. Schlegel's 19 rebounds are the most by a Horizon League player this season.

Sharon Karungi had a game-high 21 points for Valparaiso, but 15 of those came in the first half. YSU limited Valpo leading scorer Charae Richardson to two points, and Crusaders other than Karungi combined to go 10-for-39 from the field.

Youngstown State only trailed for 41 seconds in the game, and it ended the period by scoring the final six points to take a 34-28 lead at the break. The Penguins then scored the first nine points of the second half for a 15-0 run.

Valparaiso led 4-2 before Hornberger hit a 3-pointer, and the Penguins eventually took a 13-7 lead on a Kelsea Newman triple at the 13:57 mark.  Hornberger's trey at the 10:45 mark put YSU back up by six at 16-10, but Valparaiso went on an 11-5 run to go up 21-20 with 5:17 on the clock.

Monica Touvelle hit a trey on YSU's next possession to put the Penguins up 23-21, and Valpo tied the score four times over the next three minutes. The final time was on a Jessi Wiedemann layup with 1:32 remaining, and the Crusaders didn't score again until Karungi's jumper with 12:42 left in the second half.

After Valpo tied the score at 28-28, Schlegel scored on a putback with 1:12 remaining before halftime, and Flagg scored the final four points of the half. Flagg then scored the first four points of the second half to put YSU up 10, and Schlegel scored the next five to make the score 43-28 at the 14:41 mark. YSU's largest lead came when Schlegel hit two free throws with 40 seconds left to put the Penguins up 62-45.

Youngstown State will remain on the road to play UIC on Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern.