The Penguins' offense in the first half was bad
The Penguins' offense in the first half was bad -- Detroit's was worse.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- After playing one of the worst halves in Youngstown State women's basketball history, the Penguins bounced back to win their second straight contest, 55-39, over Detroit Saturday at Beeghly Center.
The Penguins (4-11, 2-3 Horizon League) suffered through a first half which saw them shoot just 15 percent from the field and score only 15 points, but still managed to hold a 15-8 lead against the Titans (4-13, 1-3).
The main reason they led at the half was because the Titans shot 13 percent from the field and committed 13 turnovers.
"Offensively that first half was more like a volleyball score than basketball," said YSU coach Tisha Hill. "I thought we did a great job defensively in the first half and for the entire game.
"I was thoroughly pleased with our effort tonight; it is a huge boost for our confidence going into next week with two big games in Wisconsin," she added.
Sophomore guard Monique Godfrey led the Penguins with 17 points, while Heather Karner added 10 points.
Junior point guard Lauren Branson added nine points, six assists and six rebounds.
"I can't say enough about the way Lauren led our offense out there tonight," Hill said.
Branson said the difference in the second half was that the Penguins were able to get their transition offense moving.
"When we get out in transition we're going to be tough to beat by anybody," Branson said.
The Penguins first-half effort was the third-worst point total for a first half in the school's history and they still led by seven points.
The worst first-half effort by a YSU women's team was in 2000 when the Penguins scored just 12 points at Western Illinois.
The Penguins hit on just 4-of-26 shots from the field in that 20 minutes and committed 10 turnovers, while the Titans were just 3-of-23.
The big difference in the second half was obviously the shooting, as the Penguins hit for 41 percent and the Titans 40 percent. YSU also only committed six turnovers in the half and outrebounded the Titans 46-41 with Karner leading the way with nine.
"I was proud of the way that we held our composure when Detroit made a run at us in the second half," added Hill.
After the first half the Titans came out and regained the lead on the Penguins over the first five minutes of the second half.
A 3-point shot by Kandace Evans gave the Titans a 20-19 advantage, but Karner, who was scoreless in the first half, hit on four straight second-half baskets and pulled the Penguins back in front 31-23 with 11 minutes remaining.
The Penguins just took control of the game after that as Godfrey hit three straight baskets and the Penguins made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to wrap up the victory.
The Penguins visit UW-Milwaukee Thursday at 6:30 p.m., then play at UW-Green Bay next Saturday at 4 p.m.