Youngstown State defeated Illinois-Chicago, 64-56.
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CHICAGO -- Youngstown State took a big step in getting back into the Horizon League women's basketball race Thursday with a 64-56 victory over Illinois-Chicago.
Freshman Barbora Fabianova, who battled injuries early in the season, had 17 points to spark the Penguins (6-9, 3-2 Horizon), while sophomore Heather Harris added 15 and sophomore Cathy Hanek came off the bench to score 14.
YSU coach Ed DiGregorio had praise for his team.
"I'm very proud of our young ladies the way they played. We may have come of age by winning against a very talented team on the road. Our bench really produced for us when we really needed them to step up."
Used zone: The Penguins employed a zone defense against UIC (10-8, 2-4), a team which depends on its inside game.
"We collapsed on their post players and made them shoot from the outside," DiGregorio said.
The Flames shot just 24.1 percent in the first half (7-for-29) as YSU jumped out to a 31-19 lead. UIC was just 29.1 percent for the game (16-for-55).
The Penguins were 22-of-53 (41.5 percent), including 12-of-30 (40 percent) in the first half.
And they did it without the help of two of their top scorers, freshman Jen Perugini and senior Jen Horner, who combined for just two points. Horner, who had the lone bucket, had a team-high nine rebounds and Perugini added seven, but the Penguins were out-rebounded 43-33.
UIC held the lead for most of the first 15 minutes of the game. The Penguins took the lead, 17-16, on a shot by Harris with 8:24 remaining, then added two more points when Hanek stole the ball and fed Monica Vicarel for a lay-up.
With 5:26 remaining, the Flames tied the score on a 3-point shot by Sia Drebos. But YSU scored the final 12 points of the half to take a 31-19 lead at the intermission.
Hanek scored the first five points of the rally on two free throws and a 3-pointer, and Harris scored the next five, including a 3-pointer.
Strong half: Fabianova, who scored 10 of her 17 points in the second half, scored the first five points as the Penguins took a 36-19 advantage, but UIC would battle back to get into the game.
Twice the Flames got the margin to seven points, and with 49 seconds remaining they were within six points (59-53) after a 3-pointer by Zsuzsa Tarnai.
YSU made 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch, three by Johnston and two by Hanek, to secure the win.
The Penguins travel to UW-Green Bay Monday night for a Horizon League game at 8.