The Youngstown State women's basketball team led by double digits for more than 33 minutes, and Head Coach John Barnes earned his 100th victory as a Penguin in an 83-59 triumph over UIC on Sunday afternoon.
Alison Smolinski made four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes to help the Penguins build a 25-12 lead, and UIC got no closer than nine the rest of the game.
The Penguins bounced back impressively after Friday's loss at IUPUI to win for the sixth time in the last seven games. Youngstown State is 18-6 overall, and it sits a game out of first place in the Horizon League with a 10-3 conference record.
Smolinski finished with six 3-pointers to get to 18 points, and Mary Dunn scored a game-high 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Chelsea Olson posted 12 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks, and Melinda Trimmer contributed 12 points and six assists for YSU. McKenah Peters grabbed a career-best 12 rebounds, and the Penguins held a 44-24 edge on the glass.
Catera Etheridge led three UIC players in double figures with 18 points. The Flames dressed just seven players, and the Penguins had nine players in uniform.
Youngstown State had 12 of its first 14 points come from offensive rebounds, and Olson's 3-pointer with 4:35 left in the first period gave the Penguins their first double-digit lead at 17-5. UIC got within nine twice before the end of the period, but Trimmer's 3-pointer in the final seconds gave YSU a 29-17 edge at the break. The margin was double digits the rest of the game.
The Penguins upped the advantage to 20 for the first time when Dunn's basket at the 5:36 mark of the second period made the score 38-18. YSU's lead was 44-28 at halftime, and Deleah Gibson's 3-pointer with 2:19 left in the third period upped the difference to 62-38. The largest lead of the game was 81-55 when Chicagoland native Madison Mallory nailed YSU's final 3-pointer of the day with 2:35 left in the fourth.
Youngstown State shot 49.2 percent for the game and 32.4 percent from 3-point range. The Penguins had 27 assists on 31 field goals, and Olson, Peters and Trimmer had six apiece. UIC shot 66.7 percent in the first period but slowed down to 35.7 percent for the game.
Smolinski's sixth 3-pointer of the game gave her 80 for the season. She is the only Penguin in program history to make at least 80 3s in two different seasons, and the senior is nine away from the single-season record.
Youngstown State returns to Beeghly Center for its final home week of the regular season for two key contests. The Penguins will host Green Bay in a battle of second and third-place teams fighting for the Horizon League regular-season title on Friday at 7 p.m.