Smolinski Makes Nine 3s to Break School Record, Lead YSU to Win at Canisius

Alison Smolinski (Photo by David Dermer)
Alison Smolinski (Photo by David Dermer)

Senior guard Alison Smolinski made a school-record nine 3-pointers to lead the Youngstown State women's basketball team to a 62-36 victory at Canisius on Saturday at the Koessler Athletic Center.

The North Royalton, Ohio, native was 9-for-14 from beyond the arc in the contest, and she made six of her 3s in the second half as YSU outscored the Golden Griffins 34-15 in the final 20 minutes to pull away. Smolinski broke the previous record of eight, which she shared with Kelsea Newman and Kenya Middlebrooks.

YSU scored the first seven points of the game and led for 39:43 to improve to 6-2 on the season. Smolinski scored eight points in the first four minutes of the game, and her third 3-pointer of the game came at the 9:26 mark of the second period and put YSU up 20-15.

The Penguins held the Golden Griffins scoreless for a stretch of more than eight minutes in the second period, but Canisius hit a pair of late 3s to get within 28-21 at halftime.

Canisius opened the second half with another 3-pointer to close the gap to 28-24, but Smolinski hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions as part of a 12-0 run that put YSU up 40-24 with 5:33 on the clock. The Golden Griffins got no closer than 14 the rest of the game.

Smolinski didn't attempt another shot in the third quarter, and she made all three of her attempts in the fourth period. The senior made her seventh 3-pointer of the contest at the 8:23 mark, and she tied the previous record with 3:44 remaining to put the Penguins ahead 57-34. Her history-making ninth 3-pointer came with 1:17 remaining on a pass from Deleah Gibson on the right wing.

"It felt pretty good out there tonight," Smolinski said. "I was lacking some confidence lately, and my coaches and teammates have a lot of confidence in me. My teammates do a great job of finding the shooters, and they found me a lot tonight."

Smolinski finished with 29 points, one shy of her career high that she achieved twice as a sophomore. She became just the third player in the country this season to make at least nine 3-pointers in a game, and she became the first female to make nine 3-pointers at the Koessler Athletic Center, which opened in 1975. Smolinski also increased her career 3-pointers total to 184, which moved her past Monica Touvelle into fifth place on the school's career leaders list.

Sarah Cash scored 12 points, and McKenah Peters added 11 for Youngstown State. Mary Dunn contributed eight points and nine rebounds, which helped the Penguins hold a 39-24 edge on the glass. Chelsea Olson set a new career high with nine assists.

D'Jhai Patterson-Ricks scored eight points in the first period, but YSU limited her to three points the rest of the game. Canisius leading scorer Sara Hinriksdottir battled foul trouble in the first half and finished with just two points, 11 behind her average. Canisius shot just 25.5 percent from the field.

Youngstown State host Saint Francis U on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. as part of the only Beeghly Center doubleheader of the season. Fans who bring a new toy or children's book to donate to Akron Children's Hospital will receive a $5 general admission ticket. Plus, it'll be State Farm Night, the first Rulli Brother "Holiday Hoops" game and a Veterans Appreciation Game, and fans will receive a YSU keychain courtesy of Medical Mutual and 21 WFMJ.