YSU defeated Butler 62-52 to share third place with Detroit.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Youngstown State women's basketball team moved into a tie for third place in the Horizon League after posting a 62-52 victory against Butler University on Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Penguins (11-12) put together back-to-back league victories for only the second time this season and are now only one win away from reaching the .500 percent mark.
More importantly, the Penguins are 7-5 in the Horizon League. Thanks to some help from Cleveland State, which upended Detroit Mercy 78-63 Saturday, YSU and Detroit are now deadlocked for third place.
At Detroit Monday: The Penguins and Detroit square off Monday night in a battle for third place in Detroit at 4:30 p.m.
Butler, which is having a nightmarish campaign, lost for the 13th straight time in league play and is 1-23 on the season.
Sophomore Heather Harris and freshman Jen Perugini led the way for the Penguins. Harris shot 6-of-10 from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range, to lead all scorers with 18 points, while Perugini recorded her ninth double-double of the year with 16 points and 17 rebounds. She also had three blocked shots and three assists in 39 minutes.
Senior Jen Horner was the third Penguin in double figures with 11 points, and she also added eight rebounds.
Sophomore Cathy Hanek, who has earned the role of defensive standout for the Penguins, did it again Saturday by holding the Bulldogs' top scorer, Nancy Bowden, to just two points on 0-for-7 shooting from the field.
"We played great defensively today," said YSU coach Ed DiGregorio. "But we weren't patient on offense. We need to take care of the ball better and take quality shots."
Lots of turnovers: The Penguins committed 23 turnovers, while Butler made 19. Still, DiGregorio was pleased.
"Jen Perugini really got back on track today, and Cathy Hanek played another great defensive game, holding their top scorer, Nancy Bowden, to just two points," he said.
The Penguins shot 42.6 percent from the field, hitting on 23-of-54 shots, and were 7-of-22 from 3-point range.
YSU outrebounded the Bulldogs 42-33. Perugini had seven offensive rebounds to go with 10 defensive as she had her second highest rebounding total of the season.
The Penguins trailed early in the contest as Butler jumped out to a 7-2 advantage. The Bulldogs last led with 13 minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the half, 12-10, but Hanek hit a jump shot to tie the score and then Horner made a free throw to give YSU a 13-12 lead it would never relinquish.
Freshman Jessica Olmstead hit a 3-point goal with 7:38 remaining as YSU increased its lead to 21-16. The Penguins led 34-22 at halftime.
The Penguins quickly spurted out to a 43-26 lead over the first five minutes of the second half and led 49-33 with 11:37 remaining.
Bulldogs rally: Butler then made a brief comeback, scoring the next eight points and closing the gap to 49-41 with 8:44 left.
Perugini stopped the bleeding for the Penguins with a basket and they quickly pulled back to a 10-point lead. Butler got to within seven points, 57-50, with 2:11 left in the contest, but the Penguins allowed it only one more bucket the rest of the way.
Following the Detroit contest on Monday, the Penguins return home on Thursday to take part in a Valentine's Day doubleheader at Beeghly Center. The women will meet UW-Green Bay in the opener at 5:15 p.m. and the men will play Cleveland State in the second game at 7:35.