Penguins fly too close to Phoenix

Paige Shy and Jen Wendler celebrate after Wendler's basket on Senior Day. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

By Madeline Hippeard / The Jambar

The Youngstown State University women’s basketball team broke its four-game win streak with a loss to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Feb. 17 for a Senior Day matchup.

Fifth-year senior Emily Saunders scored the first point of the game at the 9:26 mark of the first quarter. Green Bay responded with an 8-0 run, making the score 8-1.

The Penguins shut down the Phoenix defensively and regained the lead with two minutes left in the first quarter.

The Phoenix outscored Youngstown State, 16-9, in the second quarter to extend their lead to 33-19 by halftime. 

In the third quarter, fifth-year senior Dena Jarrells scored two 3-pointers within 25 seconds, bringing the score to 35-28. Fifth year seniors Shay-Lee Kirby and Mady Aulbach followed Jarrells’ lead with a 3-pointer each, bringing the ‘Guins within four points of Green Bay.

Dena Jarrells dribbles up the court, ready to set up the offense. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

Interim head coach John Nicolais said the ‘Guins struggled offensively in the beginning of the season but they’ve come together as a team, which he credits to their success. 

“We were struggling to shoot early on, but we’ve kind of gotten into a flow of things, and we’re moving the basketball around a lot better, sharing the basketball, taking quality shots. Things are just starting to click now for us where it wasn’t necessarily clicking early on,” Nicolais said. 

Despite a made free throw from Saunders bringing the Penguins one point behind the Phoenix at 35-34, Youngstown State was unable to regain the lead. 

At the end of the third quarter, Green Bay held the lead at 50-41. 

Throughout the fourth, the Phoenix continued to widen their lead, defeating the ‘Guins, 71-59. 

The loss against Green Bay was a stark contrast to the Penguins’ victory at Wright State University on Feb. 14. 

The ‘Guins scored the first eight points of the game in Dayton and continued to outscore the Raiders throughout the night. 

By halftime, Youngstown State led by 22 points with a score of 45-23. 

Wright State was unable to match the ‘Guins efforts after an 11-1 run in the third quarter. 

The Penguins’ offense continued to heat up, keeping their lead up by at least 18 points throughout the fourth quarter, resulting in the team’s fourth consecutive road win.

Junior forward Haley Thierry credits the Penguins’ defense to their recent success. 

 “I’m really proud of our defense. I feel like our defense has had a huge impact in the last four games and I feel like that’s what’s helped us win. Whether it’s zone or man, building off of that offensively or in transition, it’s really helped us,” Thierry said.

Hailey Thierry attempts a 3-pointer against Green Bay. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

With three games left in the regular season, Youngstown State will look to bounce back on the road against Northern Kentucky University. 

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 inside Truist Arena in Highland Heights, Kentucky. To view the game live, visit  ESPN+ or listen live on 570 WKBN.

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