Middle quarters costly to YSU

Staff report

LATROBE, PA.

Saint Francis University outscored the Youngstown State women’s basketball team by 18 in the middle two quarters and beat the Penguins 79-65 on Saturday at DeGol Arena.

Alison Smolinski led the Penguins with 19 points, 15 of which came from beyond the 3-point arc.

She went toe-to-toe with SFU’s Jessica Kovatch, who also had 19 points on 19 field-goal attempts.

Kovatch had two teammates score in double figures as Ace Harrison had 13 and Maya Wynn had 12.

Nikki Arbanas was second in scoring for the Penguins with nine points.

Neither team had a great shooting performance as SFU shot 38.2 percent to YSU’s 33.8 percent.

The Red Flash, though, turned their 16 offensive rebounds into 16 points. SFU converted five offensive caroms into 10 points in the third period as it outscore the Penguins 22-11. Saint Francis made 11 3s, and Youngstown State made 10.

Saint Francis led 11-4 on a Harrison basket at the 6:46 mark of the first period, but the Penguins outscored the Red Flash 14-7 the rest of the period to tie the score at 18.

Smolinski scored eight of YSU’s first nine points, and her long two-pointer at the 4:08 mark got Youngstown State within 13-9.

The Penguins battled foul trouble in the first half as Sarah Cash, Indiya Benjamin, Arbanas and Cash each had two fouls. Benjamin and Cash were both held scoreless in the half.

SFU’s first double-digit lead of the day came when Kovatch hit a triple at the 7:03 mark of the third. Karson Swogger followed with a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 48-35, and the Red Flash led by at least 10 until for the next 14 minutes.

Youngstown State will have six days without competition for finals week.

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