Youngstown State University’s women’s basketball team came back from a 12-point deficit in the second half but couldn’t sustain momentum in overtime as it fell to the University of Illinois at Chicago, 77-68.
The Penguins (8-8, 2-3) were outscored 14-5 in overtime and went down six after junior guard Taylor Foulks hit two 3-pointers.
Foulks led the Flames (10-7, 3-3) with 23 points, hitting 7-8 from behind the arc. Senior guard Jasmine Bailey added 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Head coach Bob Boldon said Foulks hit some tough shots.
“You have to give the kid credit,” Boldon said. “Those are two big shots and she made both of them. I thought our kids did a great job keeping their composure, and fighting back and executing down the stretch to get it there.”
Junior forward Brandi Brown paced the Penguins with 25 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Monica Touvelle scored a career-high 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers off the bench.
The Penguins made 14 shots from behind the arc but were doomed after 25 turnovers that the Flames turned into 30 points.
“Our turnovers are what killed us, and they have been killing us all year,” Touvelle said. “We have been trying to cut them down, but we have really have been struggling with it. We just have to take care of the ball.”
Boldon said turnovers have been a problem all season.
“We have been talking about that for almost two months, so we have to do a better job taking care of the ball,” Boldon said. “We have to do a better job coaching that in practice so it doesn’t translate to turnovers in games.”
With 2:21 left in regulation, the Penguins were able to battle back from a 61-54 deficit. Freshman guard Kelsea Fickiesen split her free throws to tie the game at 63-63. The Penguins went 2-7 at the line overall.
The Penguins had one more chance when Bailey turned the ball over, but Fickiesen’s runner came up short.
Touvelle said going on those types of runs helped spark the team’s energy.
“When we hit shots and things go our way, the energy is there,” Touvelle said. “But when we don’t hit shots, we have to create the energy. Everyone gets kind of flat, and I think that’s what happened there when that girl hit those big threes.”
The Penguins were without their second leading scorer, freshman forward Heidi Schlegel, who was out with ankle tendinitis.
Boldon said he missed Schlegel’s shooting and defensive abilities.
“Heidi is a really good player, and any time you play without your second leading scorer, it takes something away,” Boldon said. “My big concern without Heidi was on the boards given the fact that we just got out butts kicked with her, so I thought collectively we responded pretty well to that.”
Although the team came up short, Boldon said he was pleased with the effort on the court.
“It is nice to see our kids play hard,” Boldon said. “I get to see them do that in practice. It’s nice to get to them do that on game day. I don’t think it was an effort issue tonight.”
Touvelle agreed and said the team needs to keep competing.
“We have competitions every day in practice,” Touvelle said. “We are always going at each other and that’s where we want to be in a game.”
The Penguins will be on the road for their next two games. They travel to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Thursday and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday.