Scoreless third quarter dooms Penguins


By Brian Dzenis

bdzenis@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Youngstown State women’s basketball team thought it was in a good place.

The Penguins were within seven points of a tie with No. 19 Green Bay at halftime. Senior guard Indiya Benjamin was heating up and the Penguins were riding a stretch of winning seven of their last eight games.

“We had a good speech. We had the morale. Everybody was ready to go,” Benjamin said. “But we then we started having back-to-back turnovers and our shot wasn’t falling.”

The Penguins failed to score in the third quarter and the Phoenix cruised to a 67-42 victory.

YSU (13-14, 9-7 in the Horzion League) was 0 for 14 and 0 for 8 from 3-point range while Green Bay went on a 21-0 run.

“They turned up the heat in the third quarter and we couldn’t withstand it,” YSU coach John Barnes said. “They built up a lead and that was it.”

Quarter shutouts can happen in women’s basketball. In November, No. 11 Tennessee shut out Central Akansas in the fourth quarter of a 77-34 win. In December, Eastern Kentucky pitched a first-quarter shutout against Ohio Christian while collecting a 69-45 win.

They even happen in the Horizon League. Green Bay previously shut out Detroit Mercy (1-17, 1-6) in the second quarter of an 85-27 win on Jan. 18.

“I’m sure they had shots, they just missed them,” Green Bay coach Kevin Borseth said. “It’s luck to do that. That’s all it is.”

Green Bay took its anger out on YSU after Cleveland State snapped its 11-game winning streak last Thursday in a 71-61 defeat.

“I felt Thursday night was a very poor night for us,” Borseth said. “I think we were a little frustrated and there was a lot of energy [today].”

Jessica Lindstrom put up a double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Phoenix.

Green Bay (23-3, 13-2) quickly established a double-digit lead minutes into the contest with a 15-5 run, but Benjamin salvaged the quarter with a buzzer-beating 3 from the opposing side’s 3-point line. Her 17 first-half points made her the team’s leading scorer despite not making a shot in the second half.

Mary Dunn — who hit a layup in the first minute of the fourth quarter — tied with McKenah Peters with eight points.

Saturday’s game marked the return of junior guard Alison Smolinski, who had been out with a broken foot since Dec. 20. Smolinski was the team’s leading scorer last year when the team dealt with the season-long absences of forward Sarah Cash and guard Nikki Arbanas.

Through the first 11 games this season, she averaged 9.6 points a game while shooting 36 percent from 3-point range. In three minutes of action, she scored no points, attempted one 3-pointer and picked up two fouls.

“I don’t think her foot responded to well to getting out there,” Barnes said. “I haven’t talked to the trainers, but we’ll see how she’s doing tomorrow.”

YSU returns to action Monday at Northern Kentucky.

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