By Cameron Niemi
The Youngstown State women’s basketball team continued its four-game homestand versus the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Feb. 19. The Penguins were defeated by a final score of 75-54.
Sixth-year senior Megan Callahan led the Penguins in scoring with 18 points and four assists. Fifth-year senior Lilly Ritz recorded her 15th double-double of the season, with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Milwaukee’s sophomore Angie Cera was the top scorer, as she led the way with 20 points and was 6-of-7 from 3-point range. The Panthers shot 58.3% from beyond the arc, the bench scored 26 points and the team had nine steals. The Panthers are at the bottom of the Horizon League only averaging 58.7 points per game.
The team started off hot going on a 13-2 run early in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Penguins biggest lead was 10 points. Milwaukee fought back and tied the game at 39 heading into halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, the Panthers outscored the Penguins 16-4. Milwaukee also played well defensively coming out of halftime and took a 12 point lead heading into the fourth.
By the fourth quarter, the Penguins attempted to make a comeback, but they only got the game within 10. The Panthers went on to secure the 21 point victory. Youngstown fell to 12-5 in the Horizon League.
Head coach John Barnes spoke about the loss and what the team needs to do to stay locked in.
“It’s fast and furious right now. There’s no feeling sorry for ourselves, we gotta figure it out and gotta play better. Play better defense, take care of it better, [got to] rebound better. We just got to get it done,” Barnes said.
On Feb. 19, top-ranked University of Wisconsin-Green Bay came to Youngstown on Senior day. The Penguins lost their second game in a row, 67-54.
Despite shooting 6-of-23 from 3-point range, the Phoenix played well defensively against the Penguins. Youngstown was held to 5-of-29 from beyond the arc. Green Bay’s bench outscored the women by 11 points.
Ritz recorded her third-straight double-double, she scored 20 points and 14 rebounds. Senior Dena Jarrells scored 11 points, and Callahan scored nine with four rebounds.
In the first quarter, the Penguins were held to just six points. The Phoenix went on a 12-0 run at the end of the quarter. At the beginning of the second quarter, the ‘Guins cut Green Bay’s lead to just seven. Going into halftime, Green Bay led 36-21.
The Phoenix jumped out to a 25 point lead in the third. Youngstown climbed back within 17 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth the Phoenix maintained the lead, allowing the Penguins to cut the lead down to just 10 points. However, Green Bay went on to secure the 13-point victory.
The Penguins lost their second straight game at home. Despite dropping to 12-6 in the Horizon
League, the team still sits in third place with just two games remaining.
Ritz spoke about the importance of the last two games of the season before the start of the Horizon League tournament.
“We just can’t afford to lose another one, we just have to go out there, play hard and get a win,” Ritz said.
The last two games are crucial for the Penguins, as they first go to take on the Jaguars who currently sit 11-7 in fourth place in the Horizon League. Youngstown State is already locked in for a bye week and will host the quarterfinals matchup at 5:30 p.m on March 2nd .
The Penguins will go on the road to end the season at 7 p.m. Feb. 21, as they travel to Indianapolis, Indiana to take on Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Then at 3 p.m. Feb. 25, they head to Pittsburgh to play Robert Morris University. Both games can be listened to on 570 WKBN or watched on ESPN+.