Smolinski Scores 1,000th Point as Penguins Fall 70-65 at Wright State

Alison Smolinski (Photo by Dr. Daryl Mincey)
Alison Smolinski (Photo by Dr. Daryl Mincey)

The Youngstown State women's basketball team pushed Wright State until the final minute but fell 70-65 on Sunday at the Nutter Center.

Mary Dunn scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half, and she was one of four Penguins in double figures. Alison Smolinski finished with eight and became the 21st YSU player to score 1,000 points in her career.

YSU trailed by 14 late in the second quarter, but it made a third-quarter surge to close the gap and trailed by a possession twice in the final 40 seconds. The Penguins trailed 66-63 when Dunn scored with 39.1 seconds left, setting up a scenario where one defensive stop could give them a chance to tie. Wright State senior Mackenzie Taylor banked in a driving jumper with 14.4 seconds left to extend the Raider lead to 68-63, and she hit two free throws with 11.9 seconds remaining to counter a Dunn basket for the final tally.

Taylor finished with 10 points, and she got plenty of help from her senior teammates in the Raiders' final home game of the regular season. Symone Simmons grabbed 21 rebounds – 11 on the offensive end - to go along with her 10 points, and Emily Vogelpohl scored a season-best 20 points. Simmons helped the Raiders hold a 25-15 edge in second-chance points.

Wright State improved to 22-6 overall and 14-2 in Horizon League play, and it remained in control of its own destiny to win the conference's outright regular-season title. Youngstown State dropped to 20-8 overall and 12-5 against the conference.

YSU led twice in the contest, and both times came in the opening quarter. Sarah Cash scored the first two of her dozen points to put the Penguins ahead 10-9, and Deleah Gibson's two free throws gave YSU a 12-11 advantage at the 2:04 mark. Wright State scored the final four points of the first period, and it went on to outscore the Penguins 22-14 in the second period.

Vogelpohl scored 10 straight points at one point for the Raiders, and her basket with 5:40 left gave them their first double-digit lead at 29-19. The lead grew to 37-23 on a Teneshia Dixon basket at the 2:20 mark, but YSU held the Raiders scoreless the rest of the half to stay within striking distance. Melinda Trimmer's 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining made the score 37-26, and that's what it stayed until halftime.

Wright State led by 14 two more times in the third period, but a deep 3-pointer by Chelsea Olson started a 7-0 run to close out the period that brought the Penguins to within 52-47.

Smolinski scored her 1,000th point on a back-door layup on a pass from Sarah Cash at the 8:17 mark of the fourth period, and she added a free throw to cut the margin to 53-50. The closest the Penguins got was when Trimmer hit a 3 to make the score 57-55 with 6:03 remaining, but they didn't score for almost the next three minutes. Taylor hit a 3-pointer two possessions later for the Raiders, and Vogelpohl's final points of the afternoon pushed the margin back to 62-55 with 4:05 remaining.

The difference grew to eight at 65-57 with 2:16 left, but the Penguins scored the next five points to get within 65-62 following the Dunn basket with 39.1 seconds left. Taylor's clutch driving basket followed.

Youngstown State shot 42.1 percent, better than Wright State's 39.7 percent, but the Raiders made three more field goals and three more free throws than the Penguins.

Youngstown State will conclude the regular season at Cleveland State on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN and ESPN+.