Smolinski Becomes 3-Point Queen, Barnes Gets 250th Win as Penguins Top IUPUI 70-52

Alison Smolinski (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Alison Smolinski (Photo by Rob Hayes)

Alison Smolinski broke Youngstown State's career 3-pointers record, and the Penguins overcame early adversity to beat IUPUI 70-52 on Saturday afternoon at Beeghly Center.

YSU did not score for the first six minutes of the game and had its two starting posts whistled for two fouls in the first four minutes as IUPUI led 7-0. The Penguins scored the final six points of the first period and the first five of the second to take a 16-12 lead, and they did not trail again.

The win was the 250th in YSU Head Coach John Barnes' career, and he moved into second place on the Penguins' all-time wins list with 94.

Smolinski made three 3-pointers in the second period as YSU built a 33-27 halftime lead, and she made three more in the fourth period as the Penguins won for the fifth straight game. Her record-breaking 210th 3-pointer found the bottom of the net at the 4:58 mark in the fourth on a pass from fellow senior Melinda Trimmer, and it gave Youngstown State its largest lead at 65-45.

IUPUI scored the next seven points to get within 65-52 with 2:48 remaining, but YSU's defense did not allow another point. Smolinski made a layup at the 1:22 mark, and Mary Dunn's second 3-pointer in the final margin gave the Penguins the final margin of 70-52.

Youngstown State improved to 12-3 overall and 4-0 in Horizon League play. IUPUI, which was picked to finish second in the conference preseason poll, dropped to 8-7 and 2-2.

Smolinski finished with a game-high 22 points, going 8-of-15 overall from the field and 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. Mary Dunn scored 17 points and went 6-for-7 from the field, and Sarah Cash scored all 13 of her points in the second half. Trimmer finished with eight assists without committing a turnover.

Macee Williams and Holly Hoopingarner scored nine points apiece for IUPUI. The Penguins held Williams, the league's leading scorer, 10 points below her season average. IUPUI shot just 28.6 percent from the field two days after UIC shot 19 percent against the Penguins.

Sydney Roule's three-point play at the 4:58 mark of the first period gave IUPUI its 7-0 lead. Dunn scored on a putback for YSU's first points of the game with 3:59 remaining, and IUPUI led by seven two more times before the Penguins made their first charge of the game. Alexx Brown's layup put the Jaguars ahead 12-5 at the 1:30 mark, but YSU trimmed six points off that deficit over the final 1:02 as Dunn made a jumper and two free throws and Smolinski made a layup.

Trimmer scored on YSU's first possession of the second period to give the Penguins their first lead at 13-12, and Smolinski's first 3-pointer of the contest put YSU up 16-12. Trimmer's 3-pointer at the 5:34 mark pushed the margin to 25-18 and the run to 20-6, but IUPUI got within one twice at 25-24 and 27-26. Smolinski hit two more 3s in the final three minutes of the first half to help the Penguins hold a 33-27 cushion at halftime.

YSU opened the second half on a pair of Cash buckets, an Amara Chikwe jumper and a 3 by Chelsea Olson to go up 42-27 with 7:16 left in the third quarter. The margin was at least 11 for the final 18 minutes of the game.

Cash extended the margin to 47-28 on two free throws at the 5:07 mark, and McKenah Peters got a big putback with 27 seconds left after YSU had gone scoreless for four minutes. IUPUI chipped away and got to within 56-45 with 7:16 left, but the Penguins hit three 3s in a two-minute stretch to take their 20-point lead. Smolinski tied Nikki Arbanas' previous record of 209 to start the run, Dunn followed with a 3, and Smolinski's record breaker followed on the next possession.

Youngstown State shot 48.1 percent from the field and was 11-for-24 from beyond the arc for 45.8 percent. IUPUI was 16-of-56 from the floor and 4-of-24 from 3-point range.

YSU will make its annual Wisconsin trip next week to play at Milwaukee and Green Bay. The Penguins will play the Panthers on Thursday at noon Eastern in a kids day game, and they'll take on the Horizon League preseason favorites on Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern.