Smolinski helps YSU shoot down Detroit

Smolinski helps YSU

shoot down Detroit

By Tom Williams


The Youngstown State women’s basketball team wasted no time extending the Penguins’ best Horizon League start.

The Penguins (17-5, 9-2) scored the first 19 points of the game in Saturday’s 91-45 romp over Detroit Mercy (3-19, 1-1) at Beeghly Center.

Alison Smolinski hit five 3-pointers on five consecutive shots in that run. She finished with 20 points, including a sixth long-range basket.

“It was huge — Al was just absolutely ridiculous,” teammate McKenah Peters said. “It was just one after another. After she made the first, I knew she was going to have a great [game]. It was just insane.”

Smolinski wasn’t alone. The Penguins made 34 of 56 shots. Their 60.7 shooting percentage was the third highest in the program’s history and best in more than 20 years.

Six other Penguins joined Smolinski in scoring in double figures: Mary Dunn, 14; Chelsea Olson, 13; Sarah Cash, 12; Melinda Trimmer, 12; Peters, 10; and Amara Chikwe, 10. It was the first time seven Penguins scored in double figures since Dec. 19, 1991, a game also against Detroit Mercy.

“It felt pretty good seeing that first one go down,” Smolinski said of her start. “It gives you confidence. You kind of want the ball in your hands.

“My teammates do a good job of calling plays to get me open.”

Coach John Barnes admitted he probably could not have scripted a better start. The Titans didn’t score their first points until 4:28 had elapsed in the first quarter.

In their first eight possessions, the Titans committed three turnovers and missed five shots before Brittney Jackson made a basket.

“When [Smolinski] is hot like that, it’s pretty tough [for opponents] defensively,” Barnes said. “The other players found her, most [made] good screenings to get her open — unselfishness by the team.”

The Penguins began the second half almost as well, scoring the first 14 points for a 64-24 lead.

The Penguins connected for 13 of 23 on 3-point tries. Trimmer made four while Olson hit three as the Penguins capped a 5-0 homestand and improved to 13-1 on their home court.

The game also was the team’s Pink Out game, promoting breast cancer awareness and research. Support was raised for the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center and Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

“Breast cancer awareness is really important,” Barnes said. “Every family, every person has dealt with it so for us to be able to raise some awareness and some money toward research is important.”

The Penguins wore pink jerseys for the first time and some don’t want it to be the last.

“Hopefully, our coach lets us wear them for a couple of games,” Smolinski said.

The Penguins dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Titans 40-15.

“We took advantage of crashing the boards on offense,” said Peters, who finished with nine rebounds.

She said she wasn’t aware of how close she came to a double-double.

“I had no idea,” Peters said. “I heard people screaming, ‘Try going for a rebound’ but ...”

Chikwe pulled down eight rebounds.

Sophia Dimilia led the Titans with eight points.

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