Women’s team struggles to take care of ball
YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State’s women’s basketball team is three games into its season and an issue already has become evident — turnovers.
Last weekend the Penguins opened their season following two COVID-19-related shutdowns with A 57-53 loss against Wright State when the Penguins coughed up the ball 21 times. They improved in game two of the back-to-back series, cutting down the turnovers to 16, but lost again to the Raiders, 54-39.
The turnover bug made its presence known early Friday evening at a fanless Beeghly Center as Oakland took advantage of three YSU turnovers within the first two minutes to take a 9-0 advantage. That set the tone early with Kahlaijah Dean scoring seven of her game-high 14 points during the first quarter, and the Golden Grizzlies went on to a 71-61 win over the Penguins, who finished with 22 turnovers.
“We work on ball-handling all the time, the players have grown up with a basketball,” YSU coach John Barnes said. “I mean, they’ve just got to make good decisions.
“I thought Oakland did a good job of pressuring us and getting us sped up and forcing us into some bad decisions, and it is what it is.”
Trailing 26-17 early in the second quarter, YSU picked up some momentum after senior Chelsea Olson nailed a pair of free throws and converted an and-1 to cut the deficit to four points. Moments later, sophomore Maddie Schires and freshman Malia Magestro made 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 28.
The Penguins then took their only lead when freshman Nneka Obiazor made a layup in the paint to give her team a 32-30 advantage.
Oakland then went on a quick 6-0 run and took a 41-36 lead into halftime. It was all Golden Grizzlies following the intermission. They outscored the Penguins 14-9 in the third, with YSU going 3-of-17 from the field for 17.6 percent.
Barnes saw a few minor improvements over last weekend.
“I think we rebounded a little better, I feel like our offense was a little more fluid,” he said. “Our post players need to score the basketball, they’re shooting less than 30 percent from the field, and we can’t win like that.”
Senior Mary Dunn and Obizaor combined for 8-26 shooting from the field in the losing effort.
Oakland (4-6, 4-3) took advantage of the YSU miscues with 22 of its 71 points off turnovers, and 14 from fast-break situations. Oakland shot 24-of-64 at 37.5 percent, compared to YSU’s 21-of-58 for 36.2 percent.
YSU (0-3, 0-3) senior McKenah Peters scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Obiazor added 12 points and nine rebounds. Dunn and Magestro scored nine and eight points, respectively.
The Penguins and Golden Grizzlies face off in the second game of the series tonight at 7 at the Beeghly Center.