By Marc Weems
With the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team (7-12, 3-5 Horizon League) coming off two tough losses, the Penguins would look to rebound. That rebound would not be easy since it involved No. 24 University of Wisconsin- Green Bay (17-2, 8-0 HL). Green Bay hasn’t loss since December 15.
Green Bay defeated YSU 84-51.
In the first quarter of action, YSU was able to keep up with the Phoenix. Although starting center Mary Dunn left the game after just two minutes in the quarter, the Penguins held up.
“I know that her foot swelled up and she’s going to get it checked tomorrow,” YSU head coach John Barnes said about Dunn’s injury.
Green Bay and YSU went back and forth. The first quarter ended with guard Indiya Benjamin’s buzzer-beating 30-foot 3-pointer to put YSU up 19-18.
Dunn’s injury became more of an issue throughout the second quarter as the Penguins were dominated in the paint.
“That’s what they do,” Barnes said about Green Bay beating them in the second quarter. “That’s why they are the best in the league. They can really turn it on when they decide to and that’s what they did in that quarter.”
Barnes also said everything they do is why they are the premier program in the conference and also why that are the No. 24 team in the country.
YSU was outscored 22-5 in the second period in route to a 40-24 Green Bay lead. Green Bay made their money in the paint outscoring YSU 28-2 including outrebounding the Penguins by a margin of 22-10.
Dunn’s absence made for even bigger issues for YSU’s defense. To make matters worse, Green Bay forward Sam Terry grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it up as time expired in the second quarter.
One of YSU’s bright spots was guard Melinda Trimmer who came off the bench to give YSU 10 while shooting three of four from the field.
“I thought that she did an outstanding job coming off the bench,” Barnes said. “She was being aggressive and hitting open shots. She also finished at the rim. She was the main bright spot today, no question.”
Everything only got worse to start the quarter as Green Bay just kept coming at YSU. With 4:54 left in the third quarter, Green Bay led 53-29 while still outhustling YSU in the paint.
After a few threes from YSU, Green Bay’s Jessica Lindstrom hit the last shot of the third quarter giving the Phoenix the 66-40 lead. Green Bay had the rebound advantage 35-13 and a 34-4 advantage for points in the paint.
“They are just a very good team,” Benjamin said. “They know how to get open shots and how to get their teammates open looks. We knew that coming in and we just tried to do our best.”
Benjamin also said that it puts a lot of pressure of the shooters to really perform with someone like Dunn in the middle to help rebound.
“We will have to work harder to get open,” Benjamin said. “She takes a lot of attention and now that attention will be on the shooters to get better looks.”
Lindstrom led the Phoenix with 19 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Alison Smolinksi led the Penguins with 10 points and four rebounds. Green Bay forward Mehryn Kraker also had 17 points with six rebounds.
In the fourth quarter, YSU was outmatched yet again as Green Bay came at them for 10 more minutes and the Penguins lost. Green Bay won 84-51.
“I think Green Bay’s size and the way they, play helps keep the ball outside,” Barnes said. “We’ll go from there and just do what we can.”
YSU plays Milwaukee on January 28 at 4:30pm as part of a doubleheader at home with the men’s team.