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Penguin women win 3rd straight

LORETTO, Pa. — Four Penguins scored in double figures, and the Youngstown State women’s basketball team used a strong defensive effort to beat Saint Francis (Pa.) 56-46 on Saturday at DeGol Arena.

Youngstown State earned its third straight victory while winning in central Pennsylvania for the first time since 2007. The Penguins also won for the fourth time in the last five games to improve to 5-3 this season. Saint Francis (Pa.) dropped to 2-6.

Four of YSU’s starters reached double figures, and freshman Jen Wendler scored a team-high and career-best 12 points in 20 minutes. Fellow freshman Maddie Schires scored 11 points, and juniors Chelsea Olson and McKenah Peters also had 11 points apiece.

Haley Thomas and Sam Miller scored eight points apiece to pace the Red Flash.

Youngstown State shot just 32.1 percent in the game and was 5-for-24 from 3-point range, but it outscored Saint Francis U 15-3 at the free-throw line and trailed for just nine seconds. SFU shot 35.8 percent, making one more field goal on three fewer attempts than YSU. The Penguins held the Red Flash scoreless for the first 7 minutes of the fourth period.

The Red Flash’s only lead was 6-5 on a Phee Allen basket at the 5:41 mark of the opening period, and Ny’Dajah Jackson scored in transition on YSU’s next possession immediately after. Wendler’s first basket of the game pushed the lead back to three, and YSU did not trail again. The only tie of the contest was at 11-11, and YSU scored the next five points on two Quience Hatcher free throws and an Olson 3.

The Penguins led 19-16 at the end of the first period, and YSU made nine free throws in the second period to increase its lead to as many as 10. Wendler made six charity tosses in the first five-and-a-half minutes, and two Gabby Lupardus free throws put the Penguins up 33-23 at the 1:12 mark. YSU held a 34-27 advantage at halftime.

The lead grew back to 10 twice in the third period, the second time coming when Schires hit a 3 at the 6:28 mark to make the score 41-31. Wendler picked up her fourth foul early in the period, and YSU struggled to score with her on the bench as it scored just four points in the period after the Schires triple. SFU was able to get the margin down to four in the final minute of the third period, and Taylor Petit’s layup gave the Penguins a 45-39 lead heading into the fourth.

Neither team scored for nearly the first four minutes of the fourth period, and a Jackson layup with 6:01 on the clock got the Penguins going. Olson hit a jumper, and Schires nailed a 3 pointer on the next two possessions to push the lead to 52-39, and a Peters layup with 3:10 remaining capped a 13-0 run going back to Petit’s basket at the end of the third period. YSU was content to take shots late in the shot clock over the final three minutes to help preserve the win.

YSU will focus on finals this week before heading to nationally-ranked Indiana on Sunday, Dec. 15. Tipoff against the Hoosiers will be at 2 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on 570 WKBN and BTN+.

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