The Penguins couldn't stop Maria Viall and Wisconsin-Milwaukee's three scoring runs, as the Panthers pulled away to their 20th win.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- It was Senior Night for the Youngstown State women's basketball team at Beeghly Center, but a sophomore from Wisconsin-Milwaukee stole the show.
Maria Viall, a 6-foot-3 center, had a double-double -- 23 points and 15 rebounds -- to lead the Panthers to a 67-46 victory.
Milwaukee (20-6, 14-1 Horizon) made three scoring runs, 13-0 and 12-2 in the first half and 24-6 to end the contest.
YSU (11-15, 7-8) finishes the regular season Sunday at Wright State. The Penguins still are teetering between fifth and sixth place in the Horizon standings.
Turnovers: YSU committed 25 turnovers, including 14 in the first half, and the Panthers had a 19-4 scoring edge in points off turnovers.
The Penguins also didn't shoot well, making just 21-of-57 shots (36.8 percent).
Sophomore Heather Harris led YSU with 12 points, while senior Jen Horner added 10.
Horner, Monica Vicarel and Allison Metro were recognized before the game as part of Senior Night. Metro, who had off-season back surgery, hasn't played all season.
Ruled inside: Viall dominated the inside all night long. Freshman Malika Willoughy added 14 points for the Panthers.
"We didn't play smart," said YSU coach Ed DiGregorio, "and you have to be able to shoot the ball.
"Viall really hurt us inside," he added. "I think she got the first six rebounds in the second half. Their guards are so much quicker than we are.
"We got it down to five points and then we couldn't make another shot," DiGregorio added.
DiGregorio said that turnovers were a big factor again.
"We had 24 turnovers and you can't do that against the good teams in this league," he said.
Stayed close: The Penguins stayed close over the first eight minutes of the game. They led 8-7 with 12 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the first half on a basket by freshman Jen Perugini, who had a team-high eight rebounds.
Milwaukee went on its 13-0 run to build a 20-8 lead. YSU cut it to 20-13 on baskets by Harris and freshman Tara Fleming, but then the Panthers reeled off a 12-2 run and pulled ahead 31-15. The Penguins trailed 35-21 at halftime.
YSU battled back in the second half, and two straight baskets by junior Maggie Johnston cut the Panthers' lead to five points, 43-38, with 10:12 remaining.
But, the Penguins scored just eight points over the final 10 minutes.
Second time: It was the second time this year Milwaukee handled the Penguins easily, although the first meeting ended 100-46, the worst loss in YSU history.
Monday's regular season finale at Wright State will be played at 1:05 p.m. The Penguins will then go to Chicago to open the Horizon League Tournament play on Feb. 28 at the Gentile Center at Loyola of Chicago.