Turnovers Doom Penguins in Opening Loss to VCU

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

VCU used a 33-8 edge in points off turnovers to defeat the Youngstown State women's basketball team 85-66 at Beeghly Center on Saturday in the 2013-14 season opener for both teams.

The Rams used their length and athleticism to force the Penguins into 27 turnovers, which allowed the visitors to attempt 21 more field goals. Of the 27 turnovers, 23 of them were the results of steals. VCU also outscored Youngstown State 25-2 in fast-break points and 41-14 in bench points.

YSU's starting frontcourt of Heidi Schlegel and Latisha Walker combined for 45 points on 16-of-35 shooting, but the other eight players who appeared combined for 21 points on 7-for-25 shooting. Schlegel finished with a game-high and career-high 27 points, and Walker had 18 points and 10 rebounds in her Penguins debut.

Freshman Monnazjea Finney-Smith came off the bench to lead VCU with 18 points, and the Rams' touted freshman class combined for 44 points.

Both teams shot 38.3 percent, but VCU made eight more field goals. The Rams also hit seven more 3-pointers than the Penguins, who went 1-for-15 from beyond the arc.

Youngstown State led 10-2 early and 14-7 through the first eight-and-a-half minutes of the contest, but VCU ended the first half on a flurry and scored 39 points over the final 11:16. The Rams scored six straight points to get within one, and they took their first lead of the contest on a 3-pointer by Keira Robinson at the 9:25 mark. Buckets by Schlegel and Ashley Lawson put YSU back on top 20-18, but VCU scored the next 14 points to go up 32-20 with 4:39 left. VCU led by double digits the rest of the game.

VCU led 46-29 at halftime, and YSU trimmed the deficit to 13 four minutes into the second half. VCU then went on a 12-2 run to take its largest lead of the day at 63-40. The Penguins got the lead down to 15 at 74-59 on two free throws from Schlegel with 4:49 left, but that's as close as they could get.

Youngstown State will remain home to host Buffalo on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.