Penguins fall after rallying from 18 down

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Nikki Arbanas (4) of Youngstown State pulls up for a jumpshot during the Penguins’ loss to Wright State on Saturday.

YOUNGSTOWN — After deleting an 18-point deficit, the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team fell short to Wright State University, 69-59.

Youngstown State (8-13, 4-6 Horizon League) held an early lead before Wright State (16-6, 7-3 HL) took control of the game. The Raiders showed their presence in the paint quickly as they scored 12 points inside and led, 24-15, after the first quarter.

A big part of the Penguins’ problem all game was the turnover bug as YSU had 10 first-half miscues to Wright State’s two.

“They forced 19 turnovers on us,” YSU guard Melinda Trimmer said. “They are really long and athletic. It’s disappointing how many turnovers we had because we knew that was a key to this game.”

YSU got as close as 26-21 early in the second quarter before WSU ended the quarter on a 13-2 run, including six from WSU guard Chelsea Welch in that span. Welch finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with four rebounds and five assists.

The Raiders led 39-23 at halftime.

“We just picked up our pressure and intensity. We started to get them to turn over the ball and take quick shots,” YSU forward Sarah Cash said of the Penguins’ third quarter run. “We were able to grab the rebounds and get out and push the ball.”

YSU made its push in the third quarter as the Penguins got down, 48-30, before making its run. YSU finished the quarter on a 15-3 spurt to get to 51-45 at the end of three quarters.

“I thought that our problem was that we dug ourselves into a hole. We showed some toughness and some grit to get ourselves out of it,” YSU coach John Barnes said. “Why did we wait until midway through the third quarter to start playing with a lot of passion and aggressiveness?”

The Penguins continued to march back to start the fourth quarter. A better defensive half helped them tie the game on a pair of free throws from Indiya Benjamin with 4:19 and then take the lead at 56-54 on a McKenah Peters layup.

YSU then ran out of gas as Wright State finished the game on a 15-3 run of its own to seal the deal.

The Penguins start a four-game road trip at Oakland University on Feb. 1.