Hard Loss for YSU: Missed Shots Bury the Penguins.

Kelley Wright (35) dribbles to the basket past Nicole Dodd (32) in a tough loss to OU.

By Will Clark

Youngstown State women’s basketball team (9-19, 5-12 Horizon League) squared off with the Oakland University (17-11, 11-6 HL) in a hard-fought battle.

Oakland defeated YSU 80-58. YSU was outscored in every quarter in the loss.

From the start, YSU had a hard time getting into the game. These struggles continued through much of the first period. YSU had problems stopping OU’s Taylor Jones, who scored 7 of their 22 points. By the end of first period, the Golden Grizzlies were shooting 57% and ended the first period on a 14-0 run to lead YSU 22-8.

“It’s frustrating. Once Mary [Dunn] had that put-back, our team was very positive,” YSU forward Kelley Wright said. “Then, we came back out there and they kind of just went at us. We were entirely prepared for it.”

Kelley Wright (35) dribbles to the basket past Nicole Dodd (32) in a tough loss to OU.
Photo By Marc Weems/ The Jambar             Kelley Wright (35) dribbles to the basket past Nicole Dodd (32) in a tough loss to OU.

Throughout much of the second period, the Golden Grizzlies dominated YSU in the paint. OU rebounded YSU 27-15 and 10-5 on the offensive glass. Many of YSU’s woes progressively got worse. OU shot 53% from behind the arc. Jones led all scorers with 12 points with two 3-pointers off the bench. YSU guard Indiya Benjamin led YSU with seven points.

YSU had major struggles with shooting going 33 percent from the field and just six percent from behind the arc. OU led YSU 43-28 at halftime.

“We are as limited as it is. If we’re not shooting well it’s going to be hard for us to win,” YSU head coach John Barnes. “I think Oakland is a very talented team and they have tons of talent. When we shoot that poorly, it’s going to end up like this.”

Barnes also said defensively that they didn’t match up well in the first meeting and it didn’t get any better in this match-up.

YSU couldn’t come up with an answer for the Golden Grizzlies who remained relentless in the second half. OU finished up the game shooting 42% from the field and continued to out rebound the Penguins. YSU allowed a total of 21 second chance points to its’ six points in the same category.

“In previous years, even if we weren’t scoring, we were able to play pretty good defense,” Barnes said. “This year, our defense is just really, really struggling. When we miss shots, the other team is still scoring.”

Offensively, YSU couldn’t buy a shot. The Penguins finished up the game shooting at 31 percent and shot 4-27 from the 3-point line for 15 percent. Dunn finished the night with 14 points.

“It’s extremely frustrating when were known as a shooting team. We have really strong shooters on our team and they’re not going in,” Wright said. “Then we try to look to the inside. I think Oakland just did a really good job of clogging the inside. It just made our whole offense really difficult.”

Wright also said whatever they did, OU had an answer for almost everything. One of YSU’s biggest lapses was giving up 38 bench points fueled by Jones’ game-leading 26 points and four rebounds.

“I’m glad we shoot well from the free throw line,” Barnes said about the positives from the game. “I thought Kelley [Wright] played well and we got some girls the opportunity to play today. That’s about it.”

YSU will finish the regular season against the University of Detroit Mercy on February 25 at 12:00pm in the Beeghley Center.

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