Penguins Outlast UIC in Overtime, 65-59

Melinda Trimmer (Photo by Jay Metzger, Hawaii Media Source)
Melinda Trimmer (Photo by Jay Metzger, Hawaii Media Source)

Alison Smolinski scored 14 points in the final 11 minutes, and the Youngstown State women's basketball team won 65-59 in overtime at UIC on Saturday afternoon at the UIC Pavilion.

After the Flames scored the final five points of regulation and hit a 3 on the first possession of overtime, the Penguins went on a 12-1 run to go up 65-57 and take control.

Smolinski finished with 20 points and made five 3-pointers, including the 100th of her career, and Melinda Trimmer scored a career-high 11 points. The Penguins earned their first road win of the season and won at the UIC Pavilion for the fifth straight season.

Terri Bender led the Flames with 17 points and eight assists.

UIC built a 7-4 lead in the first period but went scoreless for more than four minutes. YSU scored eight of the next 10 points to claim a 15-9 advantage as Jenna Hirsch hit a triple with 40 seconds remaining. UIC scored the final two points of the first period and the first 10 of the second to go up 21-15 when Tyra Carlsten-Handberg hit a 3-pointer at the 6:27 mark.

Natalie Myers hit a 3-pointer on YSU's next possession for the Penguins' first points of the second period, and YSU came all the way back to take a 27-25 lead. Trimmer tied the score at 25 with a 3-pointer in the corner, and Morgan Olson scored the go-ahead basket on a drive with a minute left to cap a 12-4 run. Bender hit two free throws with 11.4 seconds left in the half to tie the score at 27.

The Flames scored the first four points of the third period to go up 31-27, and Trimmer tied the score at 31 with a 3 at the 6:11 mark. YSU took its first lead of the second half on two Indiya Benjamin free throws at the 2:26 mark, and Smolinski's triple extended the lead to 38-34 at the end of the third.

Another Smolinski 3-pointer put the Penguins up four again, 44-40, at the 5:25 mark of the fourth, but an 8-3 run by the Flames gave them a 48-47 lead with 3:53 left. Trimmer's three-point play allowed the Penguins to regain the lead, and Smolinski's 3-pionter with 1:38 remaining in regulation put YSU ahead 53-48. Bender made a three-point play to get the Flames with a pair, and UIC forced a shot clock violation on YSU's next possession. Bender scored on a putback with 24.5 seconds left to tie the score at 53. Benjamin's winning attempt in the final seconds was blocked.

Byrd hit a triple on the opening possession of overtime to put the Flames up 56-53, but UIC didn't make another field goal until its final possession of the game. Smolinski's layup and free throw tied the score at 56, and Olson gave the Penguins the lead with a bucket at the 2:50 mark. Bender missed two free throws and Gabryelle Johnson split two attempts as UIC got within one, but YSU scored the next seven points to pull away. Benjamin hit a 3 for her first field goal of the game, Trimmer made two free throws and Smolinski hit a pair of charity tosses during the run.

Youngstown State will play its final two Horizon League road games of the season next week. YSU will play at Milwaukee on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern, and it will play at Green Bay on Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern.