By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN — If basketball games were won by desire, hustle and a lot of heart, the Youngstown State women’s team would probably be 4-0 this season.
But unfortunately for the Penguins the game requires good shooting, rebounding and a lot fewer turnovers and that’s why the Penguins are 0-4 after Sunday’s 74-52 loss to Canisius at Beeghly Center.
Once again playing with just seven healthy bodies, the Penguins shot just 35.4 percent from the field (17 of 48), were outrebounded 35-26 and committed 24 turnovers against the Golden Griffins (1-2) who won for the first time this season.
“Our execution was very poor today,” said YSU coach Cindy Martin. “Other than the first scoring play of the game we really never executed the offense at all.
“That and the fact that we have to shoot the ball better, take better shots and make a lot less turnovers than we did today,” she added.
The Penguins were led by freshman Maryum Jenkins, who scored 15 points and was the only player who shot well from the field making 6 of 9 shots, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. She also shared team-high honors in rebounds with six.
Sophomore Kenya Middlebrooks added 10 points for the Penguins, but on 4 of 11 shooting.
Defensively the Penguins had no answer for Canisius senior Ellie Radke who led all scorers with 19 points and didn’t play the last 10 minutes as coach Terry Zeh played most of his reserves after taking a 66-39 lead.
The Penguins battled the Griffins throughout most of the first half as the game was tied three times and there were five lead changes over the first 15 minutes.
The Penguins actually led three times, counting their 1-0 lead on Brandi Brown’s opening free throw, but never led for any length of time.
YSU led 6-4, for about 50 seconds and then 21-19 for about two minutes before Canisius took the lead for good, 25-23, with 5:36 remaining in the first half.
The Penguins had a cold spell where they scored one field goal over a seven-minute span as the Griffins pulled to 32-23 advantage. Canisius led 40-28 at intermission.
The Penguins got the lead down to nine points, 42-33, on a 3-pointer by junior Bojana Dimitrov and a basket by Jenkins early in the second half, but hit another cold spell at the 15-minute mark, were outscored 16-2 and completely fell out of contention 66-39.
Even when the Griffins played their the reserves, the Penguins made just three field goals over the final seven minutes of the contest and also missed their first three free throws in that span, although they did make their last six in a row.
Now the Penguins must go on the road for five of their next six contests, beginning Friday in the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic where they will take on Louisiana-Monroe in a 10 p.m. contest. YSU will follow that game against either Weber State or UTEP on Saturday.
The Penguins’ next home game will be Dec. 2 when they play host to Pittsburgh at the Beeghly Center at 7:05 p.m.