Youngstown -- Senior Heidi Schlegel scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting to cap an outstanding career, and Youngstown State saw its season end with a 72-54 loss to Duquesne on Thursday evening in the opening round of the Women's NIT at Beeghly Center.
The Penguins finish the season with an overall record of 21-11, marking their second 20-win season in the last three seasons. This was also the Penguins' second WNIT appearance in the last three years after a 13-year postseason drought.
Duquesne improves to 22-10 and advances to the second round to play either Richmond or Stetson.
Schlegel, a two-time All-Horizon League First-Team selection, finishes her career ranked fourth all-time in scoring with 1,729 career points and seventh all-time with 796 career rebounds.
The Dukes had four players score in double figures led by Amadea Szamosi and Jose-Ann Johnson each with 12. Olivia Bresnahan scored 11 points with six assists and Emilie Gronas came off the bench to add 10 points.
The Penguins shot just 38 percent from the floor, including 5-for-25 from 3-point range, while the Dukes connected on 50 percent. The Dukes also forced the Penguins into 14 turnovers and scored 12 points off those miscues.
Nikki Arbanas hit a 3-pointer to open the second half and got the Penguins within 14, 38-24, and Latisha Walker made a jumper at the 17:56 mark to cut the lead back to 14. Arbanas' trey was her 55th of the season, which set a freshman record. Classmate Indiya Benjamin ranked second on that list with 49.
After the Dukes pushed their advantage to 19, 47-28, Schlegel scored five straight points on a jumper and a three-point play to get Youngstown State back within 14, 47-33, with 13:32 to go. Duquesne scored the next five points, and YSU did not get closer than 16 the rest of the way.
Duquense led by as many as 22, 64-42, at the 5:03 mark, and back-to-back 3-pointers by Schlegel and Kelsea Newman cut the deficit to 16, 64-48.
In the first half, the Dukes led for nearly 19 minutes and shot 54.8 percent from the floor while the Penguins connected on just 33.3 percent. Youngstown State also missed its first 13 3-pointer attempts of the game.
The Penguins held the lead twice at 5-4 and 7-6 at the 14:56 mark, but the Dukes scored 11 straight points to take a 17-7 lead with 10:47 left. After a jumper by Walker, the Dukes used a 13-4 run to extend their lead to 17, 30-13 with 4:42 to go.
Ashley Lawson made the Penguins' first and only 3-pointer of the half with 1:58 left to cut the deficit to 13, 32-19. The Dukes scored six of the next eight points to take a 17-point lead, 38-21, into the locker room at halftime.
Walker finished with eight points and six rebounds, and she and Schlegel combined to go 13-for-18 from the field and score 31 of YSU's 54 points. Walker added two blocks to bring her season total to 49, which ties for the third most in school history.