Penguins Clinch First-Round Home Game with 80-57 Win Over Valparaiso

Senior Day festivities
Senior Day festivities

The Youngstown State women's basketball team celebrated senior day with an 80-57 victory over Valparaiso on Saturday afternoon at the Beeghly Center.

The win secured a first round home game in the Horizon League Tournament on Wednesday and the program's second 20-win season in the last three years.

The Penguins finished the regular season 20-9 overall and 9-7 in league play. They will enter the tournament as the fourth seed and will host fifth-seeded Detroit on Wednesday. Valparaiso falls to 6-23 overall and finished 2-14 in league play.

Senior Heidi Schlegel finished with a game high 26 points, and fellow senior Latisha Walker posted a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds while tying her career blocks high with six.

The YSU women put up a strong first half as they led 41-30.

The Penguins were tied 13-13 at the 12:34 mark in the first half. After being tied 16-16, YSU had a 14-3 run to then make it 27-19. After that, YSU always had at least an eight-point lead over Valpo.

In the first half, Schlegel went 10 for 11 at the line. Jenna Hirsch put up eight of her 13 points in the first half with two 3-pointer and a layup. With 2:02 to go till half, Kelley Wright had a jumper on an assist from Schlegel to make the Penguins led 40-28. That matched their largest lead of the half.

YSU pulled away midway through the second half with a 15-4 run that made the score 61-40. The lead increased to as many as 31 when Indiya Benjamin made a three at the 7:16 mark to the Penguins ahead 73-42.

Hirsch had 13 points, highlighted by three 3-pointers. Benjamin had a solid performance with 14 points, five assists and two steals. Fourteen of Schlegel's points came from the free-throw line as she had 16 attempts.

For the game, YSU shot 42.1 percent making 24-of-57 attempts and went 9-of-20 from beyond the 3-point arc. Valpo shot 32.8 percent converting 19-of-58 attempts. The Guins outscored the Crusaders from the free-throw line 23-14.

Dani Franklin and Jasmyn Walker had 15 points to lead Valparaiso.

Tickets for Wednesday's tournament game will be available at the YSU ticket office or by calling (330) 941-1YSU starting on Monday at 9 a.m. Tipoff for the contest against the Titans will be at 7 p.m. and will be carried on 570 WKBN and ESPN3.